From the airport it was a bus into town. Edinburgh is a beautiful city. Much more so then Dublin and exponentially better then Belfast. There’s a massive fair set up too so despite the rain I decided to walk the long way to my hostel. Lucky for this too. At the fair I stopped and grabbed out my phone, there was a message from a guy about the emergency request saying I could crash at his.
I replied saying where I was and that’d be great. He said to wait there and in exactly 15 minutes to jump around waving my arms in the air. For the next 11 minutes I stood at the top of a big staircase watching people skate around an outdoor ice rink in the rain, while I waited for a guy who I‘d never met, whose profile I‘d never viewed to arrive and to take me to his place….
Luckily Neil arrived before the 15 minute mark. I’d decided that at exactly 15 minutes I was going to jump around waving my arms looking like a nob simply because had neil arrived at that exact moment chance that the humour it would have evoked although highly unlikely would have made it worth it.
We walked through town back to his place. It was only ten minutes away. He was a cool normal guy. The walk upto his appartment was pretty intimidating though. The stairwell was an absolute state of filth. Bits of crap littered a bare concrete stairway. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing his appartment which he lived in by himself.
I was however pleasantly surprised. It was an awesome place. Really good furniture, clean, spacious and neat. And he offered to cook some pasta. Although I will admit I was a little disappointed to find that he was Vegetarian thus the pasta would be missing the vital ingredient, meat.
Before eating I decided rather then just not showing up to the hostel I’d send them an email through saying that I wasn’t coming. The pasta to was great. I know it’s sacrelidge for a meat eater to say that they enjoy Tofu, but I do. It soaks up all the flavour. It’s like an edible sponge. We ate and then decided to go for a beer around the corner.
My foot was feeling ok too. It had been fine all arvo since I’d taken the painkillers but I was expecting them by about 1800 to start wearing off. But it was ok and the walk to the pub was only 5 minutes. At one point a gorgeous girl walked across the street and past us into a shop. I was trying to pretend I was just walking and didn’t realise untill the last minute that Neil had walked towards the very same door as the blonde. This was the bar we were going to. Apparently the smile on my face was far to visible for neil to not notice my pleasant surprise.
This bar was pretty cool. We sat around the corner at the bar and had a couple of Scottish ales. They were ok. We just chatted for a while, having a bit of a laugh not really talking about anything in particular. We left there at about 10 and headed home. I needed a decent sleep and Neil had to work the next day so it was straight to bed.
I did however check my emails before I went to bed. There was one from the hostel, explaining that it was a 24 hour cancelation policy. I just wrote back “ohhhh, common….?” to which they replied that they could have sold my bed to someone else had I cancelled earlier. I‘d only booked at 1300 and cancelled at 1800 so I don’t know how I could have done that. I wrote back that if they were honestly sold out that’s fine, however I suspect that they weren’t (as it wasn’t 5 hours previously when I’d booked) and that they were just exploiting a rule (legitimate I’ll expect) to get some more money. The thing is if they do invoke it I’ll be able to leave a reference on the hostel world web site. I’ll teach em.
I’m sitting in the Elephant house. The tea shop that used to let a young female author buy one cup of tea a day and to sit inside as she was too poor to afford heating. That Author is none other then J K Rowling. She used to sit in the room I’m sitting in to write her first two harry potter novels.
I’m looking at the Castle and the School that inspired Hogwarts over the graveyard where she borrowed some names for some of her characters, including none other then Tom riddle. Although the view is fantastic and it’s nice and warm I in no way feel inspired to write about dragons and fairies. I still reckon She’s a crack addict, but one of those good ones that society likes and accepts, much like Matt Damon.
Or maybe it’s the thick, thick accents emulating (probably not the best verb (adverb?)) from the throats of the woman all around me. They are incredible. Possitive the least sexy accent I’ve heard in my life. If I ever had to create a character that was an retarded abuse wife it would surely have the accent of a Scot.
Yesterday I got up at 0800. Neil proceeded to cook some awesome eggs on toast. Fantastic. Next we had a mite off, Neil had both Vegimite and Marmite, I didn’t accually mind the marmite (maybe that comment is sacrelige) but still preferred the Vegemite, I guess I have to. Neil took me to the star bucks where the free tour started, he went to work and I ordered a coffee.
I sat up the top of Starbucks half writing in my diary half singing Christmas charols for an hour before joining the tour. The guides name was Owen a fat Canadian accent with a beard. Dispite these 3 despisable traits he was ok. Pretty funny, but borderline sleeze bag. He held it back though to be politically correct. I could tell he’d be a funny guy out on the town.
Although he did make one minor error. When asking where I was from, I said Australia, he goes, “Oh Chicago nice” dunno how he drew that out. When later correcting him I said I was from Melbourne, he looked a little puzzled, he knew accents, “Yeah but are you from Melbourne or the country side?”. he’d got me.
We went up past St Giles Cathedral (which isn’t a Cathedral) past a paved in Heart (which is the only place in the UK that you can legally spit on), past the castle and around the old town, finishing in the Gardens below the castle, where he went on to tell us the story of the Scots most prized piece of crown Jewels, a giant rock, a cubic lump of sandstone and of how for 500 years it was under the coronation chair in West minster Abbey.
From here I was planning on going up to Carlton hill. But it was getting dark so I opted for doing a bit of shopping. I got myself a UK sim, but more importantly I went looking to rent a Kilt. I could either Rent one for 30 Quid or buy one for 20. So for the first time on this trip I bought a souvenier. I figured I’d throw it out the next day, or give it to someone in Glasgow. But I had so much fun last night I think I might keep it.
Neil arrived home at about 6 and we went to grab some stuff for dinner. He’s only been a vegetarian of late so he wasn’t a really proficient vegetarian chef. We grabbed some stuff for some risotto and a bottle of wine. By the time we got home, his frind Max was there. A Spanish guy.
Cooking the risotto was a bit of a laugh, neil had only done it once and didn’t really know what he was doing so we just made it up. With the help of a glass of Hendricks, Scottish Gin (fantastic) and a few of some red that Max had bought over. It was a bottle from home, friggin wolf blass.
730 came really quickly, neil is a big darwin and dawkins fan, his shelf containing many books and the dinner discussion was quite intelligent. And we sat there discussing the topic of religion for a good half hour, not Max’s topic of choice he was pretty much silent the whole dinner.
Next it was time to get into the Kilt. I never felt so ridiculous in my life. I would have felt more comfortable walking around in a pair of speedos rather then being in a t shirt socks pulled up and nothing but a tartan skirt around my nether regions.
We were going to a Caleigh. It’s just a big Scottish dancing thing, not too dissimilar to the north american barn dances. Admittedly there wasn’t many scots there. And probably a bit under half of us were in Kilts.
We were meeting Max’s work mates. A motley crew of nations from all over Europe, from Latvia to Spain. A fun crew. The night was awesome, probably about 60 of us in a hall all dancing these traditional Scottish dances. A lot of fun. I wasn’t complaining about those attending either. There being far more woman then men.
I woke up this morning at 0830 in my kilt with the empty place. Absolutely busting to use the toilet. With fantastic timing neil was in the bathroom. So I put the kettle on crossed my legs and sat down with my computer, momentarily stunned by the black smeers all over it. Vegemite at 3 in the morning probably wasn’t a good idea. Although now it does smell like the air around the Kraft factory at the eastern exit to the Bolte bridge.
1130 (13 Dec)
I’m further behind now on my diary then I was when I got back from Rome. My plan was to settle in Glasgow for 4 nights and to get all my administrative stuff sorted in ‘all my spare time’ 3 big nights out in Glasgow firmly negated any possibility of that.
First on the agenda on Wednesday morngin was to go up Carlton hill. It’s this big hill in the centre of town. On top its bare but for a heap of different buildings. The most notable of which beingi half built version of the Acropolis. A bit smaller too. But as I said it’s only half built, apparently after they’d put up on of the main walls they ran out of money so they just left it there as it was.
Next I walked through town looking for old mate J K Rowlings old hang out. And parked myself in there for an hour writing in this. That place was so funny. I decided that as J K rowling used to do it I’d order a tea and sit out the back. The place was full, the accents were positively hilarious.
It was while I was sitting at the Elephant Café that the previous night caught up with me. And it caught up hard. By the end of the hour I was on struggle street. Leaving the café was no easier it was starting to rain, but it was so windy. Too windy for my pathetic umbrella anyway.
The day was kinda dull. Apart form meeting neil for lunch at his place I didn’t do much except pack.