Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Scotland!

Currently I am in Perth, about an hour north of Edinburgh. I made it here Sunday night after arriving in Edinburgh Sat. night. Had a bit of manic re-packing at the airport in Bristol, as Easy Jet's weight limit is much less than United's. I don't think they expect people to bring enough luggage for six months. So, after shuffling things between checked bags and carry-ons and leaving some things with my friends in Bath (to take to Janie's in Perth when they visit in May), I made it on. Lordy!

In Edinburgh, Janie met me at the airport and we took the bus to her friend Zee's flat. Zee was one of Janie's flatmates from a time long ago before she lived in San Francisco and was my flatmate. Zee is very fun and nice and he was a great host. As it turned out, two peeps we know from San Francisco, Amy and Andy, were in Edinburgh that weekend. Janie had met them for dinner and we were hoping to join up with them for a drink. So we set off to the Grassmarket, a square filled with shops and eating/drinking establishments that is not far from the castle. Amy and Andy had to get back to the hotel before we made it, so we walked around and then ended up in another place a few blocks away called the Left Bank. The Grassmarket, by the way, is no longer covered by grass, but it may well have been ages ago. It used to be the site of public hangings and the gallows. There is a pub called The Last Drop and the sign has a noose on it. Nice.

The smoking ban goes into effect on March 26 (yippee!), but for now places are still smoky as can be. I am so not used to this, so when we went to the Left Bank, I opted for going to a room that was a bit more spacious and not as smoky. In this room was the stage and a band playing. Janie, Zee, and I stayed for at least 30 minutes. It is hard to describe the music this group played, sometimes like funk, other times calypso, a bit of hip-hop. Some of the lyrics were sung in Spanish. At first I didn't realize this and I said to Janie, "I never realized the Scottish accent could sound so much like Spanish!" She laughed and then told me it was Spanish. The other singer/guitarist resembled what we imagine Jesus to look like: longish brown hair, a beard. He was shirtless and shoeless and if only he'd been wearing some sort of robe...But what may have been far more entertaining was some of the audience members dancing about and their strange hair-dos! One man was wearing a hairband with antennaes and had what was like a mullet with frizzy hair that was pulled into a bun in the back. Another man had an almost mullety thing going on. I call it nouveau mullet. Very, very odd.

Today I am at Janie's office (the Green Tourism Business Scheme). Her boss was kind enough to let me bring in my laptop and hook up to the ethernet cable so I can use the internet for free. Free wi-fi spots in cafes and such are not to be found so far here in the UK. Granted, I've only tried to find them in Bath and Perth, so maybe London has some...Cafes and bars do have internet service, but you have to sign up for T-mobile, or another service and pay up.

More to come after our weekend adventures up North. I'll let you know if we spot Nessie.

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