Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hat Trick (or What I did on my Summer Vacation)

It's been a while since I last posted, but I have a good excuse.
I spent most of the last two weeks on my honeymoon, in Ireland. (With the Leprechauns) There's so much to tell about my trip. We left Israel on a Sunday morning at 5:30am, which meant that we had to get to the airport at 2:30am. So we got there at 2:30, and then we waited in line, checked in, and did all that airport stuff. I checked out the airport, because this was my first time flying out of the country in 6 years, and this airport hadn't been built yet.

When we landed in Zurich (yes, Zurich, Switzerland!), we discovered two other people on our flight who we knew (sort of). They were a kid named Yaron and his father. Yaron and his father, like us, were on their way to Ireland, to the itty bitty town of Millstreet in County Cork.

Now you may wonder what would bring a whole bunch of Israelis to the scenic town of Millstreet at the same time. Probably the last time any Israelis got to Millstreet was the 1993 Eurovision.

But this time, there was no simple song contest bringing us to Millstreet. Fully 2000 people from around the world came to the tiny town of Millstreet (population 1500). And I still haven't told you why! EJC 2006 was held at the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet Town.

What is EJC? EJC is the European Juggling Convention. Each year, the EJA (European Juggling Association) holds the EJC in a different country in Europe. For example, in 2005, the convention was held in Slovenia.

So... back to Zurich... We got on the plane and headed for Ireland, landing in Dublin around 11am. We took a bus to Dublin's Heuston Station. At the station, we saw people juggling right away. We soon joined them, taking clubs out of Yaakov's bag. The security guard was unimpressed and told us that "for health and safety reasons" we could not juggle in the terminal.
Since the next train was at 3pm, and it was just after 12:30, we found ourselves terribly bored. I took a club from Yaakov, and rested on one of the suitcases, holding the club. We quickly found our group increasing in size. At 2:30pm, our group was close to a dozen strong, and we boarded the train, discovering that we would need to get off in Mallow. (I was looking for the marshes).

It was hard trying to find space for our luggage, because the train was filled with camping gear, unicycles, hula hoops, juggling clubs, and cigar boxes, as well as several hundred jugglers.

We finally got off the train at Mallow, quickly crossed a bridge, and moved on toward Millstreet. We walked from Millstreet Station to the Green Glens Arena, where the Convention was. We set up our tent with all the other tents.

The nice thing about the EJC, as opposed to the American IJA, is that it's a fairly inexpensive convention. While entrance fees were over 100 Euro per person this year, the vast majority of attendees opted to camp out at the venue, keeping accommodations inexpensive. There were B&Bs available in town for those inclined to sleep indoors, but Yaakov and I camped out. We borrowed Scott's tent, and he borrowed ours, because Scott's tent is quite a bit larger than Yaakov's, and it would have been impractical for us to camp in such a small tent together. As it was, the quarters were close, but, hey, this was our honeymoon!

So after we set up camp, we went to see the first show of the convention. The first evening, we saw the incredible Kris Kremo, as well as the amazing Jay Gilligan with his new partner Matias Salmenaho, with whom he performs these crazy tricks where they're each juggling three balls, but they do insane patterns with their hands so that their balls cross each other's. The two are an excellent team, very dynamic. Scott went to Jay Gilligan's workshop and started to learn the basics of these tricks. He seemed to indicate that they were overall mind-boggling. Kris Kremo, by comparison, does very few difficult tricks, but he does ever trick so neatly, and with such high performance quality that he makes every move look like gold. He does an impressive routine with hats, a few ball tricks, and incredible cigar box tricks, including the nearly impossible double-pirouette (Scott says it was a triple.), with three boxes in the air.

That was Sunday night. I'll be writing about the rest of the week later.

t.c. Goodman