Something about our latitude + the time of the year + the Irish sea made the sky an unearthly blue at dusk, so I went out to grab a few pictures. The local Manx people scowled at me as I set up my tripod on the side of the street in the rain, but they pretty much scowl at everything, whether it is rain or shine, and it is usually the former.
The second picture is of the outside Theatre and Opera House that was showing a play about the American south called Night Mother. I’ll save that picture for the next post, because I think it is an interesting composition by itself.
Between some meetings today, we took a walk around downtown Douglas and I got some pictures. It’s a nice little town, although the townspeople are generally dour, downcast, and dispirited. This is why Will felt right at home.
Will is actually quite convinced that his “Kelly” heritage comes from the Isle of Man because he was looking at a WWII memorial and there were lots of Kellys on the list. I told him the only thing this proved is that his kin is likely to be on the front lines of a battle and Kellys, by way of this simple embossed illustration, have a greater propensity for death in conflict. After I made this point, he immediately backed off.
This hotel is greatness. It’s several orders of magnitude better than the last place we stayed. Having free wireless internet is such a simple thing and I don’t think most hotels know how attractive that is to tech travelers.
There was a closed inner atrium area where all the rooms had balconies hanging out over various plants and fauna. Each of us had a room and we would sit out on our balconies between meetings on our laptops and talk to one another across the atrium. I don’t know why, but we all found this very cool. From this picture below, Will was above me and to the left and Monty was across the way to the right. After we got bored we would do rather immature things like throw candy to each other and see if we could catch it. This is something that would not have happened if our significant others were with us. They don’t allow that sort of activity.
The rooms themselves were very nice, but the TVs only got about 9 very strange British channels. You could either watch the local news, which spent all its time talking about how horrible private companies are, or you could watch strange British soap operas where everyone looked rather old and drained by the goings-on around them.
Here is the exterior of the hotel close to dusk. It is next door to the opera house and one of the best-preserved buildings in Douglas.
Manx Pounds were interesting. Since the Isle of Man is independent, they are not under the rule of the British Crown, so their money features an Elizabeth that is not wearing a crown. It’s the quick way to see whether or not you are holding a British Pound or a Manx Pound. All stores seem to accept both, so I don’t really understand the bother, unless they just want to be quaint.
I’ve contacted my old GeoPhysics professor (I used to double-major in GeoPhysics and Comp Sci until I dropped GeoPhysics because I had a different hopelessly liberal professor who was a nincompoop) to find out this exact formation but it is some sort of folded limestone that has been eaten away by the river and lichen. I thought this was one of the more interesting rock formations I have seen on the island.
The three of us visited the Castle Rushen in Castletown and took a nice tour of the insides. It’s a very well preserved castle and it is my second time there.
The castle was founded by Norse Kings to guard the Silverburn River and saw most of its growth between the 13th and 16th centuries. It was partially destroyed by Robert the Bruce in 1313 and subsequently rebuilt by other rulers that did not have broadband access and must have been quite bored.
Here are a few pictures from before and after the tour: