what a weird day, kristen repeats, over square plates of mediocre chow mien noodles with various kinds of chicken/beef/pork and a few mushy vegetables on the side. i mean, look at this. we’re at an unlimited chinese buffet because it’s the only place we could find open, listening to a justin beiber remix on repeat, in northern ireland. — and i’m confused. apparently i should have stayed in canada.
k: ohh wow, okay, i’m full.
j: off of terrible irish chinese food. if there was a prime spot to get food poisoning, this would be the place.
k: sounds accurate.
k: that chinese food is not sitting well.
j: i feel that was a poor decision. i wish i could throw this food up right here.
k: i want it out. out, out out. get it out of my stomach.
j: what a weird day.
k: can we have a do-over for this day? i want to start again.
kristen, i googled a starbucks. we’ve been in bed since six-thirty, digesting our chinese food. we can’t stay here all night, it’s only eight! there is one three blocks away. unmotivated, we leave our hostel, trudging along the same street that is home to china, china. — okay, now, google says to turn right here, onto botanic avenue. there it is, i see the logo up ahead.
as our luck would have it, botanic avenue is absolutely full of coffee shops, restaurants and cafes: all unique, all reasonably priced, all funky. woahhh! look at that place! kristen points. and that place! and that one right here! — ugh, we completely missed this street. how did we miss this street? i complain. this is amazing. ten minutes later, over fruit cups and fruit smoothies, i let out a loud, OKAY BELFAST, WE TAKE IT BACK. we take it back. you are trendy and cool and fun! kristen is bent over in laughter. jamie… we ate at stinkin’ CHINA CHINA restaurant. we wasted an ENTIRE meal on china, china.
falling asleep that evening, kristen and i dreamed aloud about all the places we would eat. we were in belfast another day and a half. kristen determined: that’s a breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch. we each pick one, to cover every spot we’d like to hit. i consider this for a few minutes. oh man… breakfast is so boring. the only think i can really eat in restaurants is oatmeal. i wish we could have lunch, dinner, lunch, dinner, lunch instead. kristen: i wish we could have our china, china meal back to spend on something else.
our first [and only] full day in belfast began with yes, breakfast on botanic avenue, but also a maternity shoot with a friend of a friend, roslynn. she is eight months pregnant with her first child, not to mention completely gorgeous. i cannot wait to blog those images. friday morning, roslynn picks kristen and i up from our hostel and we jump into her car. we are so glad you found the hostel address and that everything worked out for you to pick us up! roslynn smiled, no problem. i was glad to see the hostel was near this end of the street… a few blocks down from here is really sketchy and becomes quite… weird.
kristen and i quietly laugh, exchanging short glances across the back seat, both remembering the twenty-minute walk through that exact area the dark afternoon before. ohhh, we believe it...
a few other note-worthy conversations with belfast residents include one of our three waiters [long story] last night at an italian restaurant. we had a heavy accent [not an irish one!] and kristen and i both strained to comprehend. he asked the standard question, why are you here: study? we responded with travel. EFF! why the hell would you come to belfast? this is terrible place. we politely laugh. when he found out we were leaving the next day, he approved, good. nothing here.
on saturday, in st. george’s market, a local place for artisans, bakers, crafters, seamstresses, etc to sell their goods, we were chatting with a linen/lace vendor. very friendly, pleasant man and as kristen purchased a few items, he asked us about our travels, where we had been, where we were headed, when we were leaving. on the four o’ clock train, we’re off to dublin. kristen’s answer was met with, good. get out of this hell-hole as fast as you can.
in summary, our opinion of belfast: we loved the food. i enjoyed a few good coffees. we enjoyed the slightly warmer weather. the maternity session we photographed in lagan valley park is out of this world beautiful. the city has a very nice mall: victoria square. the belfast people are very friendly but not the least bit proud of where they live. one exception. a t-shirt vendor at the market who remarked, you’re heading to dublin tonight? ohh, lovely! enjoy it. you’ve been to beautiful belfast now and been bit by the bug, so we know you’ll be back!!