Thursday, January 22, 2009

First Impressions

We're in Dublin! We are across the pond trying desperately to find a place to live. So what's it like? Well, we both have some observations. Some good, some bad. Most typical for Americans, I'm sure. So here's some of first impressions of Dublin in no particular order:

Restaurants are so expensive in Dublin. We are already starting to be grateful when we find a place for dinner under 20 Euros a person. That translates to about $27/person. That's about as inexpensive as we could find for a sit-down lunch. Even a McDonald's combo meal is over $10. We had several good meals though despite the cost. Our new favorite Italian place is a great little restaurant called Steps of Rome just off Grafton Street. I have a feeling we'll be regulars.

Despite the high price of dining out, grocery prices are more or less in line with ours at home. There are some things that are much higher like you'd expect. Coke Zero is about 50% more. And fresh vegetables and fruit are noticeably higher and less varied that our selection at home. But at a first scan of a grocery store, it doesn't seem that bad. I'm sure I'll discover more once I am shopping regularly. I'm also excited that Tesco, the local grocery chain, offers grocery delivery for under $10 flat fees since we won't have a car and I wasn't looking forward to hauling large sacks of dog food home on the train!

The Irish love Obama. And they are just as excited as many Americans at the prospect for change in the world with the new American leadership. Richard & I sat in a pub for dinner watching President Obama's inauguration. We were both a little shocked at the response. People piled into the pub at the end of the work day and were absolutely glued to the television. Nearly everyone we met in Ireland wanted to know how excited we were about Obama. Not if we were excited, but how much. The Irish we met assume all Americans share their enthusiam for the new leader. I stayed politely silent on the subject. No reason to irritate my new neighbors yet!

The Irish economy, much like the rest of the world, has stalled. This has forced their retail rents to drastically drop and the stores are still discounting everything as much as 80%. There are plenty of bargains if not for the weak Dollar. Some things are on such a deep discount that it's cheap even with the poor exchange rate. The department stores definitely have some good deals, if only we had more time for shopping while we are here! I did get a pair of boots at 60% off the original price and a great evening purse for 75% off.

Well I'll write more of our observations later. Off to house hunting...and Richard promises a bar/pub scene post soon.