Monday, April 16, 2007

The Lowland Diary, Day 2 (interlude)

12:47 AM local, and my body is completely confused. I don't know if I should be tired, or awake, or both, or neither.

So I uploaded my photos, and they now can be found on the first two parts of this diary! Not many yet, maybe some more later.

Meanwhile, some random thoughts I overlooked in my haste/tiredness earlier.

First of all, my parents really keep going. They've been married eight years longer than I've been alive, and they're running circles around me and my bad knees. So the updates may be a little rushed during the day.

Let's see, other assorted entertainment worthy of mention, in no particular order:

• I completely forgot our first two stops this morning: St. Giles' Cathedral (above), which was very cool, but charged to take pictures inside, so I didn't (I'm wondering if Stewie's gnashing his teeth over that one, too, but I think we both probably get the value of historic preservation and all that). Lots of stained glass, including a window honoring the poet Robert Burns, and a cool "Thistle Chapel" that is the chapel of Scotland's oldest order. Then it was on to the old parliament building, which turned out to be closed for a bank holiday, but according to my folks, it's a place where lawyers still gather to yell at each other for no apparent reason.

• The new parliament building, by the way, is hideous. The architecture along the Royal Mile is stone, old-style stuff. This building looks like the Sydney Opera House. If somebody barfed bamboo sticks all over it. My dad said the builder died before it was completed. He must have died of shame. I didn't even take a picture, it was that ugly. And I took a picture of a dog cemetery.

• Seeing Tartan and thistles and hearing bagpipes everywhere reminds me that I went to a college founded by a Scot, Carnegie Mellon University. Nothing says "good morning" to a hungover college student like bagpipe practice.

• My Dad spotted a store selling kilts at a discount. They were former rentals... I guess you can rent kilts like you can rent a tux. But if, as they say, a true Scotsman wears nothing under his kilt, would you want to wear a used one? And which particular plaid does a Vietnamese Jew wear, anyway? The MacChauberg Clan? The MacMinhsteins? Eh, I don't have the legs - or the cash - for one anyway. I'd like one of those nice big Scottish claymores (the swords, not the football players), but good luck getting it on the plane.

• I also completely forgot to mention the place we went for dinner on Day 1, which was Creelers, a seafood place where both my parents and I managed to order the exact same thing (I don't mean fish, I mean the exact same fish item). But we all have good taste, because it was good. Whatever it was. I forgot that, too.

• Speaking of the local, I have a lingering fear that before this diary is done, I'm going to get hit by a Scottish car. I can't for the life of me get the hang of the whole drive-on-the-left bit, as far as which way to look before crossing (I know, look both ways, but I mean, which way the traffic's coming from). This has severely curtailed my jaywalking. And, frankly, my street crossing.

• Tonight's dinner was at Iggs, the Spanish food I mentioned early. Also quite good (munkee had a little lamb). I'm pretty sure, though, we're getting absolutely killed on the exchange rate.

• Looking back at the airplane trip, I forgot to mention the oddest thing: I found myself crying like a baby while reading that Gary A. Braunbeck book. Sure, it was good. But I really do think part of it was because the section I was reading was full of stories about people in love who somehow went wrong or lost their love. And I'm just so totally in love right now, and of course, I'm scared to death something will go wrong or I'll lose her or something, and that stuff just really hit a chord. I'm glad the guy next to me was asleep. Otherwise, embarassing as hell, eh?

• Speaking of weird things on the airline, I forgot to mention, British Airways gave me the gift of socks. Y'all know I'm a sucker for weird freebies, but this took the cake: the packet of stuff on the seat, in addition to the usual blanket and pillow, plus a headset (no charge, but they took it back at the end), contained a little travel kit with a toothbrush and paste, a thing to cover your eyes when you sleep and... a pair of socks. Well, I guess you can never have too many.

• Yes, I realize tomorrow (Tuesday) is school election time back in the hometown. I voted absentee ballot. Still haven't missed an election yet!

Think that's about it. Time to face the sleep dilemma. Wake-up call's for 8 AM local. Which is normally about when I go to bed back home (that's 3 AM Hillsborough time).

Oh, and I've decided I may go back through and look up more links when I get home and tie all the files together with "next chapter" links. I'm sure many of the places I'm going have Web sites, and I may miss a few in the running.

(Finally, I hope none of you, dear readers, were affected by the horrible Virginia Tech shootings. So horrible. God be with the families of those who were. I almost feel guilty telling jokes and funny stories with these posts.)

On to the next part!

1 Comment:

Stewie said...

I love these.

Did they charge you to get in the joint, then charge you to take pictures. If so, they suck.

I'm all for the value of historic preservation, but it would seem shady for them to say, "Don't take pictures because we want to preserve this stuff. However, for a nominal fee, you can take 2." lol.

Keep updating!