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The Pub

It's Sunday afternoon and the pub is packed.   A couple harmonize to the lilt of the pipe and guitar.  The ceiling is covered in bright flags, copper pots dangle from hooks from the ceiling.  The floor is pitted by a hundred years of feet.  Everybody knows everybody. I'm drinking a Guinness and trying to write to the buzz of pub life.  I have found that in order to write on this trip, I'm staying up late and writing after the pub when I'm tired and need sleep. But the concept of combining these two activities is clearly ridiculous.  The pub is for socializing and, by golly, visitor or not, you will be social. So I've turned off the gadgets after being allowed a few paragraphs and am listening to the woman seated across from me.  The conversation is conducted at moderate yell to be heard over the music and the social hum all around us.  And ... hands down talking with her is the better choice, sleep be damned.  I love talking to people at the pubs ... and meeting these people is absolutely the best part of traveling here. The woman I'm speaking with introduces me to her brother and husband.  She tells me she is planning a trip to LA in a couple of weeks, but her husband can't join her.  She says he was arrested during the troubles and imprisoned for 7 years, and is not allowed into the USA as a visitor.  The Troubles have a long reach. She tells me her brother is back visiting because her sister-in-law has just been diagnosed with cancer.  Her eyes well up as she confides this.  I listen to her talk for a bit ... and then I tell her that I had cancer, intending just to let her know that I

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