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These islands

Why I travel with earplugs

By Aarathi Prasad   December 2003

Outside, above the entrance, dusty tricolours were hanging limply from flagpoles. In the lobby, an enormous chandelier loomed overhead, trembling on account of the Dublin traffic outside. I reached the front desk and caught the attention of a woman in an alice band.

“Could you help me?”

“No,” she said firmly. Then turning to a woman who was buffing her nails, she said with infinite weariness, “Can you do this one?”

A few minutes later I was in the lift. I pressed a grimy button. The metal box clanked upwards. It stopped. I alighted.

I found the door of…

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