Thursday, April 9, 2009

Where the streets are lined with palm.

People never believe you when you when tell them that in Ireland wherever you look you see palm trees. How, they wonder, could palm trees grow in a climate with such a dismal disposition as this?
They assume it's just another example of the national characteristic of exaggeration. Next it will be camels in Connemara.
The word drizzle is used a lot here to describe the weather, along with dull, dreary, dismal and desperate. It's very different in Italy for example where you'd think of drizzle in terms of a nice fruity olive oil. A normal greeting here is, "Good Morning!" followed by a glance to the window, and— "isn't it just horrible?" Or, "Hello. God, it's very bleak outside." An adequate response to both of these would be— "Desperate, just desperate."
I wouldn't say that the Irish are particularly proud of their palm trees. You never see them in the tourist brochures. I think they just make people mad. Especially in the winter. Just when you're getting used to the darkness and the damp cold of a February morning, you'll always see one whipping wildly in the wind in front of you; trying in desperation to uproot itself back to Cairo where it came from. And you know your chances of getting to Cairo are pretty slim indeed—unless of course you have a camel.

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