I talk with my new friends in our new home about Atlanta. Their eyes light up. What a place to go! What a place to be! Oh, the food you will eat and the drinks you will drink. They laugh about the choking traffic because for folks who never lived there, it’s a punchline. For those of us who did or still do, it is a special tax all its own. We spent one more hour to drive back from from Atlanta than to cross Atlanta from our old house to a friend’s apartment. It’s just not funny.
I think about Ireland a lot. On the northern shore of the island's portion that chose to join the United Kingdom, about four hours’ drive from Dublin, is a beach town named Portrush. We arrived in late summer, excited to visit the Giant’s Causeway where armies of fractured hexagonal volcanic stone thrust up from the ocean to cliffs we did not expect. The world there is windswept and green. Cliffs is the best word because there is no slope. Farms dot the world above. Then that world drops several hundred feet to the beach below. The world ends.
We rode bicycles through the clear early morning air to Dun Ducathair. Our innkeeper warned us that the day trippers would rush to the more famous Dun Aonghasa as they hurried to visit “the most magnificent barbaric monument in Europe” before the ferry departed for Doolin or Galway Bay. Having visited both Duns in the space of a day, I submit that if faced with a choice, you should abandon your ferry, your friends, and your guidebook and walk the many miles over rough karst boundary markers to Dun Ducathair, the Black Fort.
Ciudad Acuña and Del Rio straddle the Rio Grande. Del Rio, a city in Texas, is a sleepy, dusty town plucked from any number of films set in sleepy, dusty Texas towns. A 200-foot bridge spans the wandering Rio Grande into Ciudad Acuña. Were it not for the border guards and stepwise transition of signs from English to Spanish, you couldn’t tell the cities apart.