Wednesday, July 1, 2009

E09: Straight from the Notebook

TFC jersey, Canadian flag bandanna. On the train to North Queensferry to see the Forth Bridge.

“What's your name? How old are you?” In front of me are three Scots that work for one of the annoying money collecting fund raising things that harass you all around Edinburgh. Who gives bank information for monthly withdrawals to random people on the street?! I've learned their secret though. Say you're under 25, and they must leave you alone... after directing you to their website.

At North Queensferry. I can see the bridge, but I can't get to it! A deaf woman mimes directions to me. There is a foot path beyond the bushes across the field.

From the bridge I see the town. This is an RPG town – no doubt about it. There's a sea port, quaint cottages around it, a central town built in a circle, and one lone house surrounded by forest! Final Fantasy VII come to life! The huge train bridge also helps the allure.

There is a urinal, fenced off, on the bridge. I get inside. There's nowhere else for the next 1.5 miles. It's cramped, dark, and rumbles with the passing cars and the shaking bridge. This is like being in a shuttle before launch! Terrifying, exhilarating. This is peeing in style!

Construction vehicles keep driving on the pedestrian walkway. I'm only slightly terrified.

Just as I cross the end of the bridge, the cold comes.

Follow the red pedestrian path, painted on the ground, to the left and p the stairs. Plaque and benches are set upon a platform perfect for viewing both bridges.

It's hard to imagine such dedication to a project. Ten years to build the latest bridge? The two years waiting for the New Edinburgh tram line seems like it will take forever.

South Queensferry is beyond my grasp to explore. You'd think it easy, once over the bridge. I can see it clear as day. Two kids scamper over their backyard play equipment down there, but I am at a loss.

Once more over the bridge.

Ohh look – rain clouds. Once more over the bridge... quickly!

“Cryostore... Gases for science, leisure, and industry.” ...leisure?!

Emerging from the footpath I am met with suspicion by two others playing with their children on the park outside the North Queensferry community centre. It's not as if I'm going to eat their babies – though I am a bit peckish.

The train rumbles and squeals as it passes over the bridge. White noise to thse who live here.

Ten to two, back at Waverly Station. Windows do nothing. This train needs air conditioning.

A grocery store in a train station is genius The idea of mixed drinks in a can? Those I'm still not sure f, even if your Harvey Wallbanger is made with two full measures of vodka, Mr. Mark, and Mr. Spencer.

Seriously now – how defeated does a society have to be before it says, “sure, ok, paying for the privilege to go to the bathroom sounds both fair and reasonable.” I don't care that it is only 20p, the whole concept is ridiculous. And in a mall food court? I am tempted to use the free “disabled” washroom... But I do not. Not when I know the art gallery is only three minutes away, housing both free washrooms, and a chance to re-visit my faerie painting.

Pay to use the washroom?! Honestly – who does that?!

The time has come! A week ago I saw this park outside the gallery and thought that I just wanted to sit on the grass and read, with nothing else to do. Success!

My lunch – a picnic of champions. One can of Cloudy Lemonade, one an of Dandelion and Burdock, one bag of rhubarb and custard jellies, one bag of Belgium chocolate covered California raisins. Now that's health conscious!

Upon further inspection the Rhubarb and Custard candies are not jellies. My teeth hurt.

Point of order: Dandelions make for great soda.

Right... Right.... The rain! So much for the picnic. Never have yo seen so many people put on their clothes and run for cover so fast. No more dancing around in underwear for you, people by the tree! Strange, if my memory from Woodstock '99 serves, it's when the rain begins that people start dancing around in their underwear. Perhaps drugs were the X-Factor there?

I thought it rained before. How foolish I was. Now this – this is rain.

The rain stopped suddenly. I came up from under my hood – right in front of Greyfrier's Bobby. I'd been meaning to track down this puppy statue.

Right across the road? The museum. Why not?

...”Why not,” a saying that reminds me of Billy Mays – infomercial champion. Slightly tragic as he died yesterday.

And there's The Maiden – used to cut off the heads of one hundred and fifty people, and there's a rocket, and there's “What it means to be Scottish,” a video with lots of talking heads!

Free audio tour?! Free? I must have missed that first word on the way in.

“Wait until the girl leaves to take your picture.” I turn around. “Oh. It's a man.” You know, American tourists, not everyone crops their hair so short! I grew a great big beard just to avoid situations like this. True story.

Halfway across he city. I walked halfway across the city to drink Moosehead?! I don't even like Moose Head, but it's Canadian, and it is Canada day, so national pride has to mean something. This seems to be the only Canadian beer in the entire city... but Moosehead?

Everybody loves to hear the sound of my voice! Especially nearing midnight! Especially when it's me singing Oh! Canada as loud as I could, skipping down the road.

Scotland has taught me the wonders of deep fried foods. And it is terrifying. Chips and Mars Bars I can understand, though the Mars Bar still seems a little odd. But deep friend pizza? We're talking, you make a pizza and then cook it up proper in an oven. Then you deep fry it in a big vat of boiling animal fat! 50p cheaper than the non-deep fried version.

You think that that is as messed up as it gets, buy no. Imagine a hamburger. Now imagine that that hamburger contains a secret, its centre is liquid cheese! Now imagine that you coat that burger in batter, deep fry it, throw it on a bug, and coat it with brown sauce!

Oh Scotland, how you're trying to kill me so.

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