Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Probably Not Strange

But just different! I wanted to tell you all about some things that I learned whilst in Glasgow. Check out this Irn-Bru commercial first. I love this drink!

OK, so most of you may know that they have their darn steering wheel on the wrong side of the car ;o)
Of course that makes these Glaswegians, which is what they call themselves also drive on the wrong side of the road too! You MUST be careful when crossing the street or you'll absolutely get run down by a taxi. Most folks don't own a car and use mass transportation instead. We whine about our gas prices, hahaha you should hear what we calculated the price in USD from pounds after the conversion of litres to gallons. OMG! You stand to save money by walking, taking the subway or taxi, or even riding a bike. The train works nicely for longer distances and they also have buses. Anyway, we mostly walked everywhere except for when we went to Edinburgh. We'd take the subway to get to the furthest side of Glasgow to save time too. The air there is just so clean compared to DFW where I live, in spite of the fact that there are just so many smokers there. They only smoke outside though and I don't think it is allowed in any indoor spot at all. I was told that their autos and vehicles were so finely tuned and many are alternative fueled that the air stays cleaner than ours. Wow! The days were simply perfect with temps varying from 50F - 65F or so. I lucked out and it really didn't rain until the last day or so and it was very light at that. I say lucked out because my son said it rains a LOT in Scotland. Funny thing....I brought an umbrella and never used it until the next to last day. Then on our trip to Edinburgh the 2nd time, I had a darn pick pocket grab it out of the top of my purse. HAHAHA, it was so odd, because I had my passport, money, and credit cards all below it and he must have thought he was getting my wallet or something, because it was one of those tiny compact ones. Oh well, I hope he enjoys my black multi-colored polka dotted umbrella....NOT! Daylight happens around 4AM and it stays that way until almost 10PM at night. This makes it hard to want to go to sleep at night and my bedroom window just happened to be above where the party crowd comes when the clubs close. So almost every night at around 3AM, I'd hear laughing, yelling, arguing, and breaking glass. The OKO Express across the street would usually stay open and others from around town gather there to have their drunken breakfast or whatever they ate there. I wised up and started using ear plugs and that took care of that! If you can imagine how many 7/11 stores there are here, there probably are just as many Starbucks and Fish & Chip spots there. Our dollar is really weak right now, so my shopping adventures were not as interesting as they could have been, except that my wonderful son and daughter in law took care of just about anything and everything. I was just bowled over and felt like a queen! I tasted so many different and delicious foods there. My new favorite drink now is called Irn-Bru. The taste is very different and I wish so bad that it was available at a reasonable price. You can find it here and there I've since discovered, but the price is outrageous. It's just a simple carbonated soda, a pale sort of orange color, full of caffeine, a little like a slightly cream citrus like taste, but not so much....hard to explain until you taste it for yourself. I had great lamb, Indian cuisine, Japanese sushi, Italian you name it, squid, tofu, udon noodles, ox tail, crepes, honeypot yogurt, yummy rocket salads, feta cheese, espresso, prawns, French wine, teas, Victorian lemonade, Cloudy lemonade, Hot pot chinese buffet, puddings - oh my!, sweet corn at the cinema, angus beef, meat pie, apple slice pastry, dark chocolates, fresh asparagus, delicious root based soups, scones, shortbreads, back bacon, clotted cream fudge, creme brule, tapas, and more I can't remember right now, hah! I weighed myself when I had the nerve after coming home and found I'd only gained 4 pounds, which is not as bad as I'd feared. I suppose all that walking we did helped remedy that, so all is well. Oh....here's something else funny - the traffic signals of all things, they turn yellow right before they turn green instead of our yellow before red, wonder why that is? Taxi drivers can be chatty and tend to like to give out advice if they know you are a tourist, which is fine. Only thing is, their Scottish accent is so thick sometimes, you have to ask them to repeat some things until you catch on to their quirky little phrases and ways of saying certain things. Also, the working class order of the people coincides with how hard it is to understand them. If they are a suit wearing well to do businessman, you can usually understand their Scot-English easier, whereas a beggar in the street (and there were plenty of them) or a raggedly dressed man or woman has more of a thicker accent.....coincidence? I don't know. Beggars will either sit on the street or a corner with an old cup and say "Spare change love?". They always look very forlorn and unshaven or ragged, but some of them have crutches one day and then the next they don't, so I decided that they play on your emotions more than anything and didn't feel quite as sorry for some of them as I first did. Every museum that we went to was Free to the public! They took donations of course. The buildings of the city were so Victorian and Gothic looking, I just wanted to take so many pictures and stop and stare. Just beautiful!
Yes, there are bagpipe players on the streets and most play in anticipation coins tossed into their hats or instrument cases. There were more street performers of all kinds on the weekend, but you can expect to hear a guitar player, sax musician, drummer, or even a singer on any given day down Buchanan Street near the Royal Exchange Square. Wow, I miss it already and if things go as planned, I'll get to return in November to see my new Grandson or Granddaughter for the first time and son and DIL again! More photos to come soon, thanks for your interest if you've read this long post =o)


softinthehead said...

a great post....I found it so interesting. All the bits of everyday trivia and how it differs from here. My son travels so much and I listen to his stories and get that same feeling I have reading your post! I am thrilled you had such a wonderful time.....Pam

Blondie ~ Vintage Primitives said...

hung on each & every word. Thanks for being such a good tour guide.