9 December 2007

Commuting


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I arrived in Northern Ireland last Sunday. I'm to stay here until the end of December - just after Xmas and just before New Year's.

I'm working in an area called Ballyclare, which is about 20 minutes from Belfast. Before arriving my employer had told me that he would organise accommodation for me in the centre of town - because Ballyclare is more or less a small Irish town with nothing much to offer. But upon my arrival I discovered that lodgings not yet been found. So in the meantime I was to stay with my employer - a great guy, who I've met several times before - who unfortunately happens to live in a place called Newcastle... some 44 miles away (or about 70 kilometres).

And, also unfortunately, Newcastle happens to be on the other side of Belfast city - meaning that every morning I have to drive through the city centre to get to work. All in all, this amounts to about 1 hour and 45 minutes of driving - one way!

Thankfully I have a satellite navigation device to help me from getting lost. But the bloody thing is not without it's quirks and inaccuracies. When two roads branch from a common juncture then it is often impossible to tell which road to take; the final destination is ALWAYS wrong; and the bossy female voice of the device often commands me to "Turn Right" when there is nowhere to turn.

But tomorrow I'm moving into a new apartment in the centre of Belfast - where all the action is. At long last! I couldn't handle all that driving any longer. Between the perpetual morning or evening darkness during which I commute, the never-ending rain, and the constant stress with accompanies driving through traffic, it was all becoming a little bit overwhelming.

Good times begin now. Well... at least better.


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