Manchester and Glasgow

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, folks. I’ve been going through internet withdrawal from first scudsy dialup and now friggin expensive shite at the hotel. This’ll be a multi-part post to make up for it, starting with the ride north and Glasgow.

Bethany and I had bagels and english muffins for breakfast on Saturday morning, still in Manchester. Do they call them just muffins and not english muffins over here? I forget. Christine gifted me some sudoku puzzles clipped from newspapers. We set off for the station, but our train had been cancelled, so we drove to another station to catch the next one to our destination (which we could use the same ticket for). We got to the other station, and promptly got on the train, with barely time for a quick goodbye to Christine and David. The ticket collector had crazy wild hair, like some 70s rocker or something. His name tag said Danny.

In Preston, our layover point on the way to Glasgow, we bought our young-person railcards, which get us 1/3 off any rail ticket in the UK. We caught the train to Glasgow, and it was a stressful experience. It was crowded, and I couldn’t find anywhere to put my massive luggage (Bethany’s was back in Manchester, to be picked up later on the way to London). Then we realized we were in the wrong car, so we had to move. Then again I had to find a place for my luggage, and was still doing that when the ticket collector came by, though he was nice and said he’d come back in a bit when I was done (which he never did).

As we rode north, I was struck by the splendor of the Northumbrian and Scottish hills, and by the ubiquitous history of the land. Who knew what had been happening on the land we passed, 200 years ago? 1000? 4000? This is what I’m studying abroad in Scotland for.

We watched Lilo & Stitch on my laptop on the train, and when we arrived in Glasgow Bethany’s friend Katie, from camp, picked us up and drove us to her flat. We’d be staying there for a couple days. I like her well enough, but she smokes more than a chimney, we’re talking at least a cigarette an hour. She’s nice, and I’m thankful that she put us up, but her flat REAKS. We confirmed that there was no public transport back from Edinburgh to Glasgow until 7am on the 1st. So we’d have to figure something out (and so we did; more on that later).

We then went on a walk around the city. We went to the Botanic Gardens, although the greenhouse had just closed. Over to Ashton Lane, a gorgeous little pedestrian cobblestone street with mostly pubs and restaurants, and christmas lights strung across the top. We went into a pub called Vodka Wodka, and I got a bottle of Stella Artois (just what Bethany got). Apparently it’s Zoe & Abi Philips’ favorite, and it was pretty good. It’s odd, I’ve been less abstemious with alcohol since here. I think it’s just the difference in atmosphere. In college, it’s more about drinking to get drunk, or at least tipsy, or buzzed. Here, it’s as if people drink just because that’s the thing to do. So, as it’s the thing to do, I’ve been drinking. Anyway, that bottle got me pretty woozy, probably because I hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast. Also, because I don’t hardly ever drink, I likely have a low tolerance.

We got dinner at an Italian place, where Bethany and I shared a nice classy cheezy pizza. Back at the flat, we watched TV (I haven’t heard anyone refer to it as the telly yet). We watched a tribute to Steve Irwin, Little Britain’s holiday special where all the characters were abroad somewhere, and then the Shawshank Redemption.

The next morning, we watched Star Trek IV (The Journey Home, the one where they go back in time to the 80s to pick up some whales, which are extinct in the 23rd century, in order to save Earth from destruction by some alien race that was in contact with the whales). We watched a lot of TV in the flat. Then we set off for Hogmanay…

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