I would still work my way around like I always did but this time, I was at the pick up point and no bus was there. Called my boss and she said she would handle it. Met three of my tourists, two from Dublin and one from France (but living in Ireland) and after waiting for a few minutes, we decided to walk to Busaras and meet the rest of the group.
Everyone was already there and must say that it was one of the most fun groups I've had. A group of three girls who went to college together, four lads that had their days of footy glory, a couple from Dublin and how could I forget, my dear Trudy who was sixty-something and really got me impressed.
Four-hour delay behind thanks to what it was stated before, and met my driver and now friend Rob and off we drove non-stop to Bundoran to make it in time for the surfing lesson.
We even set a new record and we got there in about two hours and forty five minutes!.
The sea was beautiful this time, very clear and clean, consistent and smooth waves and I was handed out a practically brand new board.
There is something about surfing that makes you completely addicted to it and even when your muscles are tired, you refuse to leave the water. Maybe the fact that you struggle against the current for long minutes just for a few seconds of glory when riding a wave. I don't know really.
Then it was time to relax and I was completely tired so went to bed quite early.
The next day we went for the hike and it was pouring rain, so for the first time we had to turnaround in the middle, going all the way up at this point was completely pointless as you couldn't see a single thing on the valley.
I decided it was better to postpone the high ropes for the day after as everything was gonna be wet and tricky and everyone had time off.
Some stayed at the hostel watching movies...I went surfing again! Probably the best surfing session I've had. Beautiful solid three hours of catching waves.
Back in the hostel and I cooked the barbeque which we all enjoyed. The group really bonded at this point and the day was closed with a visit to the local pub to have absurd amounts of cider and beer while watching sports and dancing (well, they did).
The next morning we had to wake up early and do the high ropes circuit. Now, most people did everything and I was used to it, but who really impressed me was our sixty-something Trudy who had said before the trip that she was just going to watch. No she didn't! She did every single exercise, jumped off the trapezes, crossed the balance beam, everything! I want to be like that when I am that age!
After that, it took us three hours to cross the island and Belfast welcomed us with that gray and sordid air. The city was still bubbling with Sunday shoppers and we had a lovely accommodation booked at Queens University.
I just went for a walk with the french/tunisian guy and we had coffee in Starbucks while trying to figure out the free wi-fi that never really worked on our iPhones.
We couldn't leave Belfast without having a last round of drinks, so we headed straight to The Crown Pub and fitted twelve people on a lounge for six. Perfect way of warming up before heading to the Botanical Gardens area for some clubbing and to see what Belfast had to offer at night time (wasn't that bad really) and I even think some new couples were created within my group.
The next morning, just had a light breakfast with sausages (still don't know who cooked it) and we left Queens behind and went to see the Titanic Quarter again and the murals on both sides.
It was rather sunny and my last memory of Belfast was actually a good one , thanks to the people I was traveling with.
Some three hours later and we were stopping at College Green in Dublin. The end of yet another successful trip.
Now, the nasty part:
The company hadn't paid my salary yet and they wouldn't even lodge 100 euro so I could survive during the trip. That was probably the last thing I wanted to know about them and two days later I found out, not because they told me but because I had access to our clients e-mails and got surprised when saw people replying to a message titled "Cancellation", that indeed the tours had been cancelled.
My boss, responsible for Experience Media/Lost in Ireland sent me a text (yes, a text) saying that the company had gone bust and someone would contact us about payments.
Some minutes later and got a waterfall of e-mails from providers that never got paid asking me if I could tell them something about the vague texts and e-mails they had received.
Ok, I was in trouble now and the first thing was damage control. So sent tons of CV's online and got called for interviews within hours.
I am still dealing with the big Experience Media/Lost in Ireland scam, and so are the providers, but I am also glad to see that my skills and what I like to call "professionalism" is still intact and my name is completely clear.
I am now working as a night porter on a hostel in Central Dublin and loving it. Night shifts remind me of long overnight flights a la Doha-Osaka and give me enough time to think and organize my next move as I am due to leave the Emerald Isle in November.
New stories will come up from this experience I am sure, and will keep you all posted about them.
The next months are also transition months and many things could happen. I still haven't a clue of where I'm going or what I am going to do.
Next week I am flying to Kerry for a short break and then off to London in September. November New York, Costa Rica and Brazil will see me (you gotta love frequent flyer miles) before I get to see my family for the first time in two years.
So, any ideas of what to do next? Even volunteering is crossing my mind.
Later my readers! That's my update from cold Dublin, where we had the shittiest summer in years now.