Update one - traveling insanity




         I arived in Edinburgh today.  The trip went fairly smoothly, given my limited experience travelling abroad.  My flight from Toronto was delayed about 1.5 hours, which was good, considering my layover was originally scheduled for under 45 minutes, and it took me almost that long to make it through canadian customs, through the entire 2nd terminal, over to terminal #1 (by bus!), and through canadian security to my gate.

         With about a seven hour flight ahead of me, I had my fingers crossed for the entire 34 rows back to my seat on the plane for a decent travel companion.  As I entered a the section that was apparently designated for grumpy old people, I crossed my other fingers, as I noticed that my seat, ‘34C’ was next to ‘34A’ on one side and the isle on the other.  This plane seats about 300 people, so my chances were quite in the air.

         Eventually I found my way back to row 34, and to my peasant surprise, I was greeted by the comely and excited face of Sadie Shearon, a very cool 21 year old bible banger from a corner of the bible belt itself, North Carolina.  She turned to me with an excited glint in her eye and said something on the order of, ‘Ah!  You like Pearl Jam!?  How great!  I was praying I would get someone cool to sit next to!’  Realizing I had a Pearl Jam shirt on, I told her about the couple three times I had seen them, and our conversation went on from there.  She enthusiastically told me about her walk with god, and I questioned her deeply about a lot of her ‘typical’ beliefs, and she I.

         We showed each other pictures of our friends and family to pass the time, and while she had plenty to share, I had a quite limited selection.  After about the fifth picture of her ‘friend,’ Peter-John, I asked her more about him.  She then introduced me to the philosophy of being in a relationship and not labelling it in public as a relationship.  This is fine, I guess, as they were both in ministry, and being a couple while working with people like that sometimes gives people funny impressions. 

          After a couple bottles of wine (which are free on international flights!) we were talking boisterously, and she continued to tell me about how she had never been drunk (which to her is defined by passing out…okay…).  We finally enforced mandatory sleep time, as she had promised her ‘not-boyfriend,’ Peter-John (I love that name, it’s so southern!  =)  ) that she would get some rest before getting to Glasgow. 

         Anyway, we woke up and had another bottle of wine (now, these are ~300ml each—pretty small) over breakfast and continued to share stories of near-death experiences of kayaking and falling over/through dams and skiing and whatnot.

         Somewhere along the way, I mentioned that I was taking the train from Glasgow to Edinburgh, and she said that Peter-John was meeting her outside of customs and that they were taking a train to Edinburgh as well.  She said Peter-John knew how to get to the train station, so we made a plan to travel together (this is cool, because I had no idea where to go…)

         We stood in line in customs forever, and were both so excited to be in Scotland we were just jumping up and down.  Customs went fine, and then I got a little hung up with my bags at the pick-up.  Sadie grabbed her bags and shot me a, ‘I’ll find you outside!’ and ran off to see her boy.

         Well, five minutes later, I have my bags arranged and find myself standing in the mass chaos of the Friday morning airport traffic with Sadie no where to be found.  Damn.  Not five minutes in Scotland and I’m already getting ditched.  ‘Oh well,’ I thought, and I proceeded to convert some $ to £ (dollars to pounds, sterling—you get great deals @ the airport sometimes!) and find my bus to the Queen Street Rail Station, downtown Glasgow.



         The train ride to Edinburgh was excellent, and I thougharally enjoyed my business-class ticket accommodations that my travel agent had easily talked me into—cheap drinks, a small table to spread my maps out on, and a second seat to rest my feet on.  I thought it best to spend the extra £4 and give myself a little luxury for the end of my long trip and the beginning of my time of extensive walking and hostel stays. 

         I rolled into Waverly Station in Edinburgh about 4pm (10am MN time), and was wondering around in an ultra-tired, delirious fashion looking for a taxi when I was greeted by the loving arms of Nicholas and Emily.  I basically dropped all of my bags and fell into their arms—with the plane delay, customs, and the airport confusion, I was almost four hours behind schedule and Nick and Em were still there waiting for me—what great friends!

         Nicholas scooped up my heavy multiple-backpack apparatus like a pack-horse and we started the 20 minute walk to our hostel.  The rest of the night went pretty smoothly.  We grabbed dinner just off the Royal Mile, and wandered around for awhile and saw a few interesting things around Edinburgh.  I then proceded to sleep for several hours, until about eleven (think Spinal Tap), woke up for a few pints, and then slept for another ten or so hours.  Ahhh….