Thursday, June 25, 2009

E09: Arrival

With the sun pouring through my little port window, I was roused back to the land of the living, just in time for the breakfast call. Breakfast was a small croissant with butter, and a tiny container of fruit.

The fruit proved my beliefs about cost and corner cutting to be correct. Each piece had become rotten: still I was hungry, and no other options presented themselves. As I ate each rancid cube of one time glory, I comforted myself with the fact that I might, at least, be getting some form of free alcohol due to the fermentation process that was occurring within minuscule fruit salad.

After finding The Police: Greatest Hits on the in chair multimedia centre, and listening to it, the plane touched down. There was a calm about the Edinburgh airport. Lacking was the hustle, bustle, and rush-rush-rush attitude of other ports I'd become familiar with over the years. Even more surprising, as I looked out the window to watch the baggage handlers pull our luggage, I noticed them unload, carefully, piece by piece, rather than just throwing from one pile to the next.

Customs was a breeze, and then I was out. Out and on a double decker bus (a novelty I had skipped during my trip to London) which would take me from the airport to downtown on a winding, and out of the way journey through small communities, and past movie theatres, and grocery stores. To be honest, at one pound twenty, it was very reasonably priced.

Sitting on the top level, I watched the traffic play out before me. It took me some time to realize we were driving on the left hand side. And this had nothing to do with lack of awareness. In Edinburgh, it seems from my initial observations, people don't drive on just one side of the road. They drive on whatever side they like, and often this is simply driving full tilt down the centre line, itself (the roads being far too narrow, with cars parked on either side, for anyone to pass.)

The bus stopped outside of, what will be my apartment for the next two weeks, and I climbed the stairs six storeys up. Here's the kitchen, here's the sitting room, here's the bathroom (if you want a bath you need to turn this heater on an hour and a half early so there will be hot water – shower's are ok. They'll probably burn you, actually), and here's the bed. Enjoy.

It was with a daunting solemn sigh that I discovered everyone locked their wifi networks here. Often they were locked, and given such colourful names as AFI(f*ck off!!!) Charming. The more computer literate people get, the less easy it is to – well, be me. And I don't feel like password cracking across international borders. As I said previously, international jail is the last place I'd like to end up, thank you very much.

So it is with regret that I realize that these updates will either be sporadic, at best, or all together posted later, when I return (everything two weeks out of order.)

The world went black.

The world returned to light.

Apparently my body needed four more hours of sleep, and it did not take my personal preference into consideration. You really must commend it for being so forthright. It needs to do something, and boy howdy it gets done.

Out the window bagpipe music is playing loudly, fulfilling a great stereotype. I can not see where it is coming from, however.

I have two missions now: 1. shower, 2. Learn how to wash clothing in a sink.

Both missions, I decided, could wait. First, most important, was dinner – a most delightful home cooked treat. Next, I was off wandering the city gathering my bearing, and on a mission to find some Canadian alcohol to consume on Canada Day. Canada makes some of the best beers, how hard could it be to find a pub that serves them?

Three bars – no luck. Oh sure they had beers from all over Europe, and sure they carried Mexican beer. Ohh look, it's MGD, and Bud light, and Coors light in every bar (who even drinks that stuff?) but not a Molson, Blue, or anything else for that matter, to be found.

I popped into the liquor store. Again, the same selection, with terrible American beers, but no Canadian. There were many American wines too, but none from Canada. Our Ice Wine impressed judges on the world stage, but can you buy it here? No. Four types of American Whiskey (including some already mixed with cola, in a can – gross) but no Rye. My spirits were low.

My spirits were low, that is, until I found a delightful bartender who told me about a pub down at the end of Tool Booth road called the Brew House (spelled something pompous like breuhause) about twenty minutes away. I was off, hopefully to fulfill my mission. This pub, it was said, specialized in beers from all over the world. All I had to do was head down the street, and take a left past the castle. Of course there was a castle! My goodness, what self respecting town or city doesn't have a castle these days, I ask you!

When I finally reached it I would not be disappointed. Well, not entirely. They had beer from so many countries it required a twenty page menu to keep track of them all, but when I looked at Canada, there was only one selection. Moosehead.

Look, don't get me wrong, Moosehead isn't a terrible beer – but I'd never drink it back home. I would most definitely not pay 5.50 (converted from two pound ninety) for a bottle. That's for sure. But, Canada Day is fast approaching, and it's a matter of national pride, so on Wednesday, I will return. And I will drink. As I stood there, downing my beer, all I could think was – one less beer for Canada Day. I doubt they restock all that often.

Having just paid such a seemingly silly price for a beer I don't even really like, especially when Calidonian 80 Shilling (my favorite of all beverages, adult in nature) is available everywhere as a local brew, I was pleasantly surprised to wander into a convenience store and find the most ridiculously priced cider I'd ever encountered. Sold in 2 liter bottles – the most shameful of all alcoholic containers, carrying terrible stigma and style – the sparkling liquid was a mere one pound, twenty nine p. To really wrap your head around this, you must realize that this is about two dollars, for five standard drinks. Rum in Jamaica isn't even that cheap! Naturally I bought a bottle. Let me tell you how surprised I was to discover it didn't even taste that bad.

So all in all I felt I had satisfied a number of missions, and with oversized bottle in hand, I headed home to end my night.

Clothes were washed.

Kind of.

I put detergent in a sink, and scuffed my shirt around a bit, then rinsed it. That's washing right?

1 comment:

  1. I was surprised at how little there is to hand washing clothes, myself. After a couple of minutes I'm like " this done now?"


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