As my readers know, I am moving to my new home, London, today.
How did this happen?
I do not know, for three weeks ago I didn’t have a clue of this turn of events.
Now a few boxes full of books and clothes are on their way to London, and I am following by the ferry.
I spent a few hours today walking the streets of Dublin. There are a few peculiar sounds distinctive to Dublin, and I’m quite certain I won’t find them anywhere else. First of all, let me point out that it seems that my non-high-heel-shoes make a weird and hollow sound as I walk, especially on the Temple Bar cobblestones. So as a background soundtrack you have to imagine a continuous clop, clop, clop, clop….
Another constant background sound is the traffic: according to the statistics, Dublin is as congested as Rio de Janeiro. The streets are narrow, and not made for the public transport. The buses get stuck in the corners, and the cyclists have to make do without separate lines to use. The foot passengers fiddle with their phones and go through near-death experiences on a daily base as they get almost struck by the Luas lines. At times, the police car strikes out the sirens and speed away leaving the jammed traffic behind in two neat lines on the sides of the road. And then an ambulance, frustrated being stuck with all the common cars, flashes its lights and puts on the sirens just for a few rounds to clear the way. And then, at that rare moment when the traffic sleeps in its quiet state of motionlessness, you hear a seagull screaming, reminding you of the closeness of the sea.
At the traffic lights, you can hear warm breezes of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, and Polish and Russian piercing through your skin, a few sentences of a sing-song Scandinavian. Then a screech of Northern Dublin accent to which my ear just never gets used to. Drunk or drugged (or both) women screaming at their babies or men, men shouting to other men – the women are left unanswered. A sudden high-pitched burst of laughter from the girls at the street corner, gossipping over nothing. An agitated conversation over the phone, boys shouting rudely behind you. Cacophony to all.
One of the most memorable sounds in Dublin are the trains bursting out of Connelly Station to the remote corners of Ireland, exiting the city through the railroads elevated over the streets. First you hear the clang-clang-clanning as a distant but approaching thunder. Then it strikes right on top of you, the railwaybridge shudders and shrieks, and as a climax of this symphony of iron, steel and technology the rusty wheels screeching against the rails as the train approaches a bend.
And then, to balance things out, the silence of the libraries. Trinity Library and Marsh’s Library, where sounds are replaced by the smell of books, and the ghosts from the past, Joyce, Swift, Narcissus Marsh himself, glide amidst the shelves without disturbing anyone.
Clop, clop, clop…my journey takes me towards the Liffey. Seagulls screaming above me, and the river sliding through the city which sounds are only softened by an occasional rain.