Out of Time: Shannon Bound

As part of my Tin Jubilee Celebration (ten years as an expat) I am re-running web journal posts (remember those?) from August 2001—the year I visited Ireland, met my wife and began this adventure.
Wednesday, 15 August 2001, 10:25 PM
I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated, but I’ve been kinda busy.  It will also be a long time before I update again, because I be kinda gone.
All this week I’ve been preparing for my trip to Ireland.  I went out to my favorite Irish pub and did some pub dancing.  I attended an Irish Festival with bands, and pipers, and our own Boland dancers.  I’ve been busy practicing my own piping and dancing.  I\’ve been playing Irish ballads on my guitar.  I\’m even working with my penny whistle.  And I’ve been drinking lots of Guinness.
Now all I have to do is pack.
In addition to all of this, I\’ve been rehearsing my \”Why yes, I AM a little bit Irish on my mother\’s side\” speech.  I want it to sound natural, as if I\’ve been saying it all my life.  Actually, her grandparents came from Germany but that isn\’t going to do me a lot of good in an Irish pub, surrounded by Irish Catholics, once they realize there is a Limey, Protestant in the midst.
When I used to sing in Irish pubs.  I sang under the name Merv Galway and never told anyone any different.  On St. Patrick\’s Day, when they all had a few pints of bitter under their belts and were ready to join up with the IRA, things could get fairly nasty at the mere mention of an Orangeman.  No way am I going to rub elbows with the locals in Ennis, Galway, Limerick or Ballina without some Irish in me.
I’ll be landing in Shannon on Friday morning, and from there I’ll be going on a week-long hiking tour of the western coast, through counties Mayo and Galway and Clare.  After that, I’m heading off on my own.  I’m traveling light and alone so I hope to cover a lot of ground.
And don’t worry; I’m bringing my digital camera and enough memory for about 350 photos. I won’t post all of them, but I’m sure I’ll be tempted to try.
Tomorrow at 2:00 PM I leave.  At this time I\’ll be hopefully sleeping in a plane somewhere over the Atlantic.  At midnight our time I land in Heathrow, then hop to Ireland\’s Shannon Airport, disembarking at 8:00 AM their time, 3:00 AM my time.  The jet lag is going to be a drag!
I hope to get through it before the hikes begin but I’m afraid it may be a problem.  Right now I\’m very sleepy.  I hope I get my second wind before then.