View from the top of Old Man of Coniston hike in Lake District National Park, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Preston, Lancashire, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Wyke, West Yorkshire, England on May 29th!

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Good news, and bad news

First order of business was to get my eye fixed! I had an appointment for 9:20am in central Belfast. We had parked in an industrial area near the docks. Not very scenic, that's for sure, but it was free, and only a 3 km (1.8 mile) walk into the center of the city.

Arrived a few minutes early, and they took me right on time.

First, a consultation and tests to confirm the problem. Once that was done, a consultation with the ophthalmologist. Yes, that was indeed the problem, as expected. He led me up to the laser machine, and five minutes later it was done.

On the way back down, I was chatting with the ophthalmologist about why it's so expensive to get a five minute procedure done. He said that the equipment cost is ridiculous because there's not much competition, but he also laughed and said that it's a bit of a mafia setup with the manufacturer tracking the number of times the devices are used and charging maintenance and insurance fees based on that. 

I paid the £450 ($768 CAD, $579 USD) and Ruth and I walked outside.

Holy crap! I could see! Everything was so clear and bright and colorful!

So, that's the good news. The procedure seems to have worked!

However, the bad news is that my other eye (the one that I thought was still good) has the early stages of the same problem. He had mentioned this during the examination, but said that it may not bother me enough to warrant doing anything about it, and it may not get worse.

The problem is, now that the one eye has been fixed, I realize that the other eye isn't quite as clear. I mean, it wasn't noticeable when the other eye was bad. But now I do realize that it is affected, although it's pretty minor.

Anyhow, something to keep an eye on (lol) and maybe when we're in a cheaper country I can get that eye done as well.

We headed out to explore some of Belfast.

First stop was the cathedral.
It has this odd modern spire sticking out of it.

The front of the cathedral.

Not many people out and about yet.

Scenery along the way.

We went into the old Linen Library.

City Hall.

Free to see the inside. 
You can sign up for a 45 minutes guided tour, but we chose to do it on our own.

Fancy staircase.

Looking up.

The Titanic was built in Belfast, so there are quite a few reminders of that fact. One monument is located right beside city hall, and it lists the names of all who perished in that disaster...

All who died.

Perhaps I had a distant relative on board.

The Titanic Memorial statue... with a seagull on her head!

The Europa Hotel.

It is known as the "most bombed hotel in the world" after having suffered 36 bomb attacks during the Troubles. There was an hour long documentary made in 2011 called The Europa Hotel – Bombs, Bullets and Business as Usual.

We stopped into the market and had a wander around.

We shared a single order of fish and chips for lunch.
£9 ($15.30 CAD, $11.50 USD).

The leaning clock tower.
You can't tell from this photo, but the tower leans. 

Salmon statue.

Game of Thrones stained glass.

The docks area, and the new Titanic Experience museum on the right.
General admission ticket is £24.95 ($43 CAD, $32 USD) for the self guided tour.
No thanks.

Scenery along the way.

Not sure Belfast itself is a city worth visiting. I suppose if you're a hardcore Titanic fan, then there is certainly a lot to keep your interest. But, quite a lot of graffiti and trash lying around. Obviously Belfast doesn't participate in the Irish "tidy towns" program that exists in the south!

Today we are meeting up with one of the participants from our Mauritania Iron Ore Train experience who happens to live in the area. Should be fun!

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