Tuesday, November 23, 2004

And Then There Was Scotland

A. On Thursday afternoon I found myself on a 6 and a ½ hour train ride from Oxford, England to Edinburgh, Scotland. Since that is a rather long time, we came on the train armed with: 1 bottle of Jameson’s , 1 bottle of red wine, 1 bottle of white wine, 1 copy of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and 1 Backgammon board. We exited the train having consumed every last drop of alcohol we came with as well as numerous oversized beers in the train bar. I was not sober and I still have no clue how to play backgammon.

B. The hostel we stayed in called the Cowgate Tourist Hostel, made the Flying Pig Hostel in Amsterdam look like the fucking Ritz Carlton. I’ve seen housing projects in Chicago that were more luxurious and they didn’t even have a bar there. We wanted to drink 40 ounces with brown paper bags over them to give it more of an authentic ghetto type feel, but these bastards only have 1 liter bottles. The Metric System is weak as fuck.

C. Any country where a guy can get chicks by walking down the street in a skirt and rocking out on a bagpipe has got to be a pretty sweet place.

D. I was going to buy a bagpipe since they looked to be a damn good time, but for 800 dollars I thought I should at least learn how to play the thing first. I ended up buying what is called a "chanter," which is a woodwind instrument that is essentially a bagpipe without the bag. The guy in the bagpipe store played it and it sounded exactly like a bagpipe but without the drone. When I play it sounds like a cow being slaughtered.

E. The first two nights we went out to the pubs in search of traditional Scottish music. Thursday and Friday nights we caught two amazing bands with amazing fiddle players and I was all about it. The Scottish come from a Celtic background, so their music is very similar to Irish music, so much so that I really can’t tell the difference. But we drank large amounts of Guinness and joined some cute Scottish girls on the dance floor to do some Irish Jigging. Me doing a jig was definitely an interesting sight. It basically consisted of spinning around in circles, hopping up and down, and accidentally kicking pretty much everyone around me in the shins. No one in the pub was all about it, but I was and that’s all that really matters, right?

F. Scottish people have really sweet accents.

G. People in Scotland for some peculiar reason are all about Miller beer. Its almost impossible to find it in cans in England let alone on tap, but every bar in Scotland has Miller on tap and those goofy Scottish bastards suck that stuff down like its their job. It’s not Miller light or MGD, or even Beast Ice for that matter. It’s just called Miller and apparently is only available in Europe. I’m not exactly sure how to explain the taste cause though cause I wasn’t sober when I decided to purchase a pint of it.

H. As I write this e-mail there is a girl out in the hall screaming at the top of her lungs at her mom on her cell phone, and if she doesn’t shut up soon I’m going to go out there and strangle her.

I. I was talking to Nikita this goofy Russian kid, who I’ve written about before and he was trying to convince me that Russian chicks are the best. He said that they are always making you food and stuff and they are real givers; "Christmas Chicks", he says. I think that every guy hopes that someday they’ll end up with one of these so called "Christmas Chicks."

J. One of the days we hit up, the Edinburgh Whiskey Tour. This place was a riot. It was kind of like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, only it was about booze and you get to drink whisky before and after it.

K. I finished this great Hemingway book last week called "To Have and to Have not." It’s about one armed sea captain who hangs out and drinks beer and whisky all day while he’s smuggling illegal booze and Cuban immigrants on his boat and getting shot at. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother getting a college degree, when I could be rum running in the Florida keys and drinking the fuck out of the place while wearing sandals and button down shirts with flowers on them.

L. We were at this one pub called Biddy Mulligans checking out a band, and we got up to go over by where the band is playing and left all of our jackets over at the booth that we were sitting at. 3 minutes later, 4 rather large Scottish women sat down and took over our booth. It was about 1am and I had already had one too many Guinnesses, and for some reason I was convinced that these women were going to eat our jackets. So I kept yelling across the bar to some friends, "Those chicks are going to eat our jackets," over and over again. They kept trying to get me to be quiet and convince me that they weren’t going to, but I didn’t believe them and just kept yelling it louder and louder. Now that I am a little more sober, I do kind of feel bad, but I was really drunk and they really did look rather hungry. Like I’m not plenty goofy looking myself though.

Orginally written February 25, 2002

(The Following is a selection from my new book "Two Years in Electronic Form")