Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Belfast demonstration

Whatever street we were on in Belfast must have been a designated "protest street" because when we went by later in the day, there was another demonstration going on. This one was more like a parade, as there were a lot of children marchers and banners. The chants were not in English. Our tour guide said they were advocating for traditional Irish (Gaelic) to be taught in schools.

Since we were in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, I don't think spoken Irish was required in the schools. However, down in Cork (and maybe the rest of the Republic of Ireland) I think that every school kid learns Irish and actually has to take an Irish proficiency test on the college entrance exams. Just as a casual observer, it seems to me that the language issue is deeply rooted in the politics and history of the island, rather than in education or language. Even in Cork where everyone had studied Irish, very few people actually spoke it. Preserving the native language seems to be more of a point of national pride or national heritage...which I think is a good thing in a place with such a fascinating and complex history. As to whether school kids should be made to learn Irish, who knows?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Belfast protest

When we were in Belfast, we happened upon a protest in front of Subway (the sandwich shop, not the Metro) on one of the main streets downtown. They were protesting workers' rights...something about pregnant women and immigrant workers not getting equal pay or equal treatment. Like most of Belfast, there was a heavy police presence. So of course, I took alot of pictures of the goings on.

Mmmmmm....Burger King...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tom's Cheer

Goooooooooooooooooooooo....pit stains!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Norway: Royal Palace, etc.

Here's a video clip I shot of a motorcade we saw in Oslo, Norway. The cars were headed towards the Royal Palace. So maybe the crown-prince was in the limo. It's mildly interesting.

The Royal Palace, Oslo


A guard locked himself out of the house

Oslo po-po

Monday, April 20, 2009


Here's a 2 for 1....a police car and metro stop in Barcelona, Spain.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Mud puddles are more fun than finding easter eggs...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

London Metro (Underground)

Here is the famous logo of the London Underground.
Some of the Underground stations in London, like the one here, look just like storefronts or shops from the outside. But only you'd get on an escalator, go down below, and pay like $6 for a ride.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wedding Season

This year's wedding season has officially started and it looks like it will be a record-breaker for yours truly. I recently received 2 invitations to weddings in the mail...one in May and one in June. I will attend at least 2 others later in the year...including a starring role as a groomsman in my cousin's wedding in October. Here's a picture from the last wedding I was a part of...
This is the "crazy shot" picture from my friends Chris and Amanda's wedding in Hawaii last summer. I think the picture turned out really well. We're all crazy and have having fun in the sun and whatnot. I actually didn't think the picture was going to turn out at all. Worse, I thought I might have ruined it. I am the one leaping there in the middle. On the first try I misjudged my leap, didn't go up high enough, was off center, and accidentally landed on the gown a little bit (oops, sorry Amanda). However, we did a retake, I nailed the jump like Tonya Harding sticking a triple axel, and photographic history was made.

(ps-I didn't take the picture myself...I stole it from Facebook...)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Vatican City, Rome, etc.

In honor of Easter Sunday, I thought I'd put up some pics of Vatican City from our visit to Rome. When I was hunting for them in my Italy folder, I came across some other Italy pics I don't think I ever posted...so consider this a sort of Rome grab-bag.

St. Peter's Basilica...it was rainy and at night, so my pictures of Vatican City didn't turn out all that great. And by the time we made it up to the door, visiting hours were over.

I think that the pope's apartment is the lighted couple of windows on the top floor on the far right.

Caught in the rain.

Caught in the rain again. You can see 2 street vendors trying to sell us roses behind the guy in blue.

In our hostel's tiny euro elevator.

Rome Metro (subway) sign.

In the Termini metro station, waiting for the train. It's Halloween, hence the ladies are wearing masks.

The Colosseo metro stop.

Random street protest. I think they were protesting something about higher university tuition costs or school fees. We also saw protests in Istanbul and I think a few in Ireland. Maybe I'll have to start another category...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Paris Metro

Along with lifeguard shacks and police cars, I also find myself taking alot of pictures of big city transport-related things whenever I travel: subway signs, buses, trains, etc. Here are a few pictures of Metro entrances around Paris.
This stop is near the Champs-Élysées.

This stop is near Hotel de Ville and Claire's Accessories. Coincidentally, Claire's Accessories loses more merchandise to shoplifting than any other store (in Cork, Ireland) according to a probabtion officer who spoke in our Criminal Justice clinic. I guess pre-teen girls just can't keep their hands off that awesome costume jewelry from China.

The sign/Metro stop (pictured above and below) is famous. It's on several of the stops near Pigalle (the red light district) and Montmartre. I think this particular stop is Anvers.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Van Gogh, Venice Beach style

"Hommage to a Starry Night" by Rip Cronk/Venice Beach Boardwalk

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Canal Saint-Martin

The Canal Saint-Martin in a 4.5 km canal in Paris dating back to the days of Napoleon I. It opened in 1825, shortcutting a long loop in the River Siene. The canal is located on the eastern side of Paris in the 10th arrondissement, right next to Thomas' apartment for the semester. Nowadays, as far as I can tell, it is primarily used as a hangout spot and tour boat route. The most impressive part of the whole operation was the old-style pivoting road bridges and locks that allowed the boats to pass thru.

Here, the van is stopped on the stationary part of the road, while the rest of the road deck has swings out across the canal to the other side of the road.

How does a boat float uphill? Here's how... In this shot, I'm standing on a pedestrian bridge over the canal, right in front of one of the locks (or is it a dam?). You can see the doors holding in the water from the section above. There are a bunch of spectators on the next pedestrian bridge waiting to watch the tour boat pass thru.

This is a view of the road bridge, canal, and steps to the pedestrian bridge from the window of Thomas' apartment. Whenever a tour boat would pass, the booming French voice of the boat tour guide would fill the apartment.

Here comes the tour boat off in the distance. The car barriers are coming down.

Here, the road has swung off to the left and out of the way.

The tour boat passes thru the open road and under the pedestrian bridge.

Now I'm looking off the other side of the bridge. The boat is in the lock in the picture above. The doors open slowly, the water level rises, and the boat floats to the top.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Paris Police

Police picture #2: Here's a cop in Paris busting a businessman on a Vespa. Apparently his tie didn't match his socks. They'll pull you over for that kind of thing in Paris.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Off With Your Head

This unfortunate bishop lost his head and is now immortalized on the front facade of the Notre Dame de Paris. According to someone's Fickr comment board, it is St. Denis, bishop of Paris in the 3rd century, who was beheaded for being too good at converting people to Christianity.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Turkish Nights

Seeing the news about the President's visit to Turkey today and tomorrow has caused me to reflect on our weekend trip to Istanbul last November. In past posts I've talked about how amazing Turkey was...how it might have been my favorite trip of the whole semester. One of the best things we did that weekend was go out and sample the nightlife near Taksim Square. Like most great nights out, I didn't even really want to go at first. I was tired or whiny or something.

The main street was packed with a flowing mass of pedestrians. Tons of people were out and about. There was a very relaxed feeling of it all...like everyone was just chilling or hanging out, enjoying the beautiful night. It didn't seem very clubby or pretentious. And yes, they served beer. I thought that maybe because Turkey is predominately Muslim, beer wouldn't be available and/or frowned upon (a scary prospect considering that we had been living in Ireland for two months at that point). That was not the case. Our hostel even had a bar on the rooftop terrace. Instead of trying to describe the scene, I'll put up a bunch of photos and a few video clips that Andrew took.

Oh yeah, another great part about the Turkey trip: Tom was acting up, so I kicked him squarely in the face. It shut him up right away.