And so it was that the morning after the seated tastings, and three bars later, I was awoken at 6:30am by my two traveling companions who could not remain asleep nor quiet at that ungodly hour. Yes, my good readers, Seamus was woken from a deep and alcohol induced sleep by two grown men who just couldn’t contain their excitement for the day ahead.
Begrudgingly, I arose and showered, still unsure if I would join Raz and Fergus for breakfast or go back to bed. I am now glad I made the choice I did….
We made our way out of the hotel, still remaining in the hours before civilized people awaken, and headed down to the trolley stop to head into Fisherman’s Wharf for breakfast. Of course, the trolley was not running at this hour and so we decided to find something close by to satiate our appetites. What we found was Lori’s Diner. This was a nice 50’s style diner which served some amazingly BIG breakfast plates. While I was not yet in the mood for food, I knew I -should- eat and went ahead and ordered a classic breakfast, imagining I’d just pick at it while Raz and Fergus gorged themselves. I was mistaken. With each bite of breakfast I found myself becoming more alive and energetic, where by the time we left, I almost felt human again.
After breakfast the trolley was running and so we hopped it down to the Wharf to find a musical instrument shop Raz and Fergus had both been interested in seeing. Of course, once in the wharf, none of the shops were yet open. (James, you should be happy I hadn’t yet called you! Yes it was that early!) Rather than run around the wharf to see if anything was open, we happened upon the Blue Mermaid Chowder House & Bar and decided to just wait it out and have a drink until the shops opened. Fergus and I each had two Irish Coffees while Raz had his one Irish and then just a regular if memory serves. Either way, it was a great way to finish off our earlier breakfast.
Soon after, the stores began to open and we found ourselves inside Lark in the Morning. We must have spent two hours in this store perusing and ogling and fondling when allowed all the instruments we could imagine, and some I couldn’t have imagined in a thousand years. The shop is an amazing house to all sorts of instruments from around the world, be it string, percussion, or wind. My fingers got itchy and I was allowed to pluck a few of the guitars that were on display. It felt good to play again. I think I will need to buy myself a six-string soon just to have in the house and play when the muse strikes.
Of course, I also zeroed in on one of my favourite instruments which I have no idea how to play, but love to listen to. As I was ogling the displays, I began noting prices and found that some sets were actually within my meager budget. I filed that information in the back of my mind and continued about the shop. As we left, both Raz and I grabbed their paper catalogue and began turning the pages just outside the door. It was this precise point, I decided to make a call to Jean, who could either talk me out of or into a set of Parlor style bagpipes. Suffice to say, I came home with them. I have wanted a set for ages, but could never justify the exorbitant price of the Highland style pipes which begin at around $500 and just go up from there to over a few thousand for a really nice set. But the quieter parlor pipes were easily affordable, so I had to pick them up. In turn Raz also got himself a concertina, an instrument which like me, he has been longing for.
By this point we had taken enough time that we needed to head back to our hotel so we could nap for a while in order to be fresh and alive for the grand tasting that night. So we made our way on the trolley back to the main stop in downtown. When we exited, we noted a few slight sprinkles of rain were starting, but thought little of it. It seemed, however, that after the first block, with each passing step the rain would increase in force. 3 blocks into our treck (of a 5 or 6 block total walk) we began getting pounded with some of the hardest rain I have felt in recent storms. Big thick drops of rain soaked all three of us to the core. But we were on a mission. People looked and laughed at us as we passed the shops and doorways the were taking refuge in. It got so bad that a homeless woman sitting on a wall in the middle of the storm offered us HER umbrella as we passed by. I guess we must have been a sight to see…
We made it back to the hotel just as the rain subsided, and never saw another drop the rest of the day. Figures. The one time we are walking for any distance without shelter or coverings is when we get rained on. Back in the room we crashed for an hour and a half to rest up for the evening. Raz wasn’t able to sleep, but Fergus was out the second his head hit the pillow. I slept on and off for the first half hour and was pretty far gone for the next hour, which allowed me to wake up somewhat refreshed.
I showered, then got dressed for the evening as did the other two. And man were we ever ready to go! We hopped a cab to the wharf again to each an early dinner/late lunch at Kennedy’s Irish Pub Curry House. An interesting mix to be sure, but an incredible meal was had by us all. I had the tikka, Raz the vindaloo (of course), and Fergus had something none of us can remember or pronounce, though it was an awesome dish. Unfortunately the service was very slow and took away any leniency for errors during our travel to the pier for the tasting.
Luckily there is a liquor store next to Kennedy’s, so we were able to stock up on Redbull and Tums to prep us all for the night ahead. Even better, we were able to hail a cab within seconds and get on our way to Pier 3 for the grand tasting. As I am sure you all can imagine, the three of us were as giddy as school girls in that cab. You could feel the excitement in the air and hear it in our voices as we spoke.
Next up… The Grand Tasting, and a glimpse to the future.