WE were in America for St Patrick's Day when everyone becomes Irish.
The bar that brother-in-law Ian uses is the Hy-Iu-Hee-Hee (it's an Indian name) and we drove through Gig Harbour to get there. Every restaurant and bar we passed – Greek, Italian, Mexican, Thai – was decorated with green flags and papier mache leprechauns.
The Indian restaurant we stopped at to order a take-away curry was playing strange music. The waitress said, “It's called New Delhi Dublin.”
Inside the bar, everyone was wearing green. Big daft green hats, funny costumes, joke shamrocks and shillelaghs, green wigs. America is the land of immigrants and this bar had one section known as the Swedish quarter. The Swedes were also sporting the green.
This was Disneyland's version of Ireland gone mad.
“I like Americans,” said Maria. “They're so naive. So unselfconscious.”
She's right. As a people, they are the friendliest on earth. It's just their government I'm wary about.
“We've got Guinness on draft,” said the barman, proudly. They had never had it before. “Or you can have green Budweiser.”
We tried the Guinness just to be Irish which produced one of those great conundrums that will haunt me forever. How can you pour a flat pint of Guinness? How can it taste like the dregs of a brown ale barrel from London? It was absolutely horrendous.
I couldn't drink it and asked instead for a pint of Bud. Not green, just normal.
“This is totally bizarre,” I said to Ian.
“It's getting more bizarre,” he said.
A piper in a kilt was tuning up. Then he began to march and blasted out a version of … Scotland the Brave. No one seemed to notice the difference.
Only in America.