Saturday November 24, 2018 – Dublin, Ireland

Crazy morning. Started okay. I work up a 5:30, turned on the news, had a shower and a coffee. My train was leaving from Limerick at 8:45 and was a 20 minute drive. So I had plenty of time. I finally got packed and checked out of the hotel by 7:00 and headed out for the train station.

As expected, the young woman from Thursday had screwed up my reservation. I know this because the male desk clerk printed my bill and they had changed me straight through until December 2. I pointed out that I was checking out today, the 24th and would be paying only for the nights I stayed there.

The guy at the counter this morning was only slightly more capable and was also perplexed. I explained my situation to him, in detail and he fumbled around for a bit. I finally left with a promise that he would sort it out and make sure I had a room when I return tomorrow and that I would not be charged for Saturday.

There is a lovely and smart lady that works the desk in the evenings who helped me the other night when the guys delivering my rental car got lost. I will work with her to make sure my bill gets sorted out properly.

I made the drive to Limerick easy enough and was at the train station at 7:30. But just as I pulled in to the parking area, I realized I had left my ticket for the rugby match in the hotel on top of the desk. I quickly checked my overnight bag to make sure and indeed—no ticket. So, I make the drive back to the hotel, got a new key, up to the room and there is my ticket. As mom might have said ‘right where I had left it’.

Off I go, back to the station, crisis averted. I arrived back at the station right around 8:00; still plenty of time to retrieve my ticket, get a coffee and make the train. But then I faced the parking situation. There was an automated pay station, but no instructions. So I go to another station, and there are instructions. Useless instructions. Apparently you can pay by app or by texting them with a description of your car and how long you are going to be. I looked online for the app, but there is no app in the app store by the name given. Nothing even close. I call the phone number and am told the number is no good. I texted the sms number and no response. Now it’s 8:25.

I decide to go in and get my ticket from the machine and ask about parking. But on the way into the station I notice another parking area, but this one with a gate and what looks like a more traditional parking arrangement. I get inside and retrieve my ticket from the machine—feeling a little smug because I have done this before and know which machine precisely is for pre-paid tickets versus the suckers in line to purchase same day tickets. Now I hustle back outside and take the car to the other lot and as I pull up I see a sign that reads €5 coins only, no change given. I have only a 10 pence piece after paying the toll roads. So I back up (thankfully no cars had pulled in behind me), park again in the illegal spots, run in to the station to Starbucks to ask for change for a €5 note. “Sorry, I can’t open the register unless you buy something”, is the response. “Really” I say. “We’re still playing that game are we? What is it, 1985?” So I order a small coffee, get my change and don’t wait for the coffee. Now it’s 8:35. I run back across the lobby and out the doors and back to the car and drive to the lot and feed my coins into the slot and the gate opens. There is nothing on the sign to indicate if this is a one time charge with any sort of maximum. I don’t know if I can stay 10 minutes or 10 days and there is no time to investigate and no one to ask. So in I go and then notice a sign, which I park directly under, which reads ‘this lot not recommended for overnight parking’.

I run back inside, fly through Starbucks and grab by coffee, jog down the platform and on to my train just as the doors close.

I am back tomorrow and hopefully the car will be there too.

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