Scotland is really an unbelievably beautiful place.  We took yesterday to start to familiarize ourselves with the city and I took the opportunity of a Saturday to catch up on some much needed sleep to recoup from my pre-departure party, packing frenzy, and jet-lag.

   After sleeping until almost noon, we walked down Princes Street (one of the main avenues, mostly commercial type stuff) and looked into some mobile (cell-phone) prices for Em and Nicholas.  We were all set to buy the latest-and-greatest phones made by NEC and Sony (w/ net access!), and then we realized that we were foolish, not having jobs, it would be a pretty decent stretch for the next few weeks as it was. 

   We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in a big park downtown, overlooking the castle reading, and watching some pretty far-out company dance performances. 


   We were awoken this morning by some annoying, yet amazingly familiar farm animal noises produced by some boisterous French guys.  The hostile we are staying in is a converted old church, with walls so cheap that you could almost certainly push them over with ease.  The rooms fill the entire sanctuary, with no ceilings, so while you can lie (According to to Nicholas, “You LIE in bed, and you get LAID”) in bed and see the entire ceiling of a beautiful European church, if someone coughs, laughs, cries, or bleats goat noises anywhere in the rest of the hostile, everyone hears it.  But, there is a pub downstairs that is open basically all night; there are clean, comfortable beds, showers, etc.

   The people are generally very cool and always interesting though—I’ve met some that crash for less than one night, some like us that are around for several days, and some that were travelling around and got stuck here when they ran out of money, and have been here for months and even years!

   We went for breakfast at a smaller eat-in or take-out diner and then found our way downtown to go chill in the park again.  We actually only got about half-way there, as on the way we were blocked by thousands upon thousands of people standing about a parade route.  We happened upon a parade route.  So we sat (well, stood) and watched a bunch of pretty crazy floats, pushed kids off of the rails we were trying to lean against ;) , and got soar feet from standing on half of a curb. 

   This was the opening parade for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, kicking off a month of craziness all about the city.  The most notable floats were this dragon one, one filled with dancing midgets, the Simpsons (complete with TV set!), several ‘freak’ shows, some children’s productions (Oliver!), Frankenstein, and Bob the Builder

   Bob the Builder is this cartoon-ish clay-mation children’s character that’s been made popular in about three weeks flat over here after somebody made a hit techno song called ‘Bob the Builder.’  It’s crazy popular in the clubs.  Bob the Builder is also featured on the cover of my new shiny notebook—neato, eh?

   The temperature dropped significantly during the parade, and after a few hours of standing, we a bit worn and chilled to the bone.  I suggested coffee, and we sought shelter in one of the Starbuck’s.  While I felt pretty stupid about this, like someone who rushes to the first McDonald’s they can find in Red Square, it was actually pretty cool.  A small, unobtrusive entrance led to a small set of stairs, leading to the upstares of the storefronts below.  It was huge, with big, big, big sweeping windows looking out and up to the castle in the center of the city.  We met a very nice Canadian couple that had spent quite a bit of time in Edinburgh, and were in town for the festival.  The guy was a civil engineer and gave us loads of advice on the Scottish National Health Care system, finding jobs, and some specific acts to catch during the festival.

   We made our way back and made up some soup for dinner at the hostel.  Being out and about like this really leaves you famished, and coming back and trying to scrape together some food for dinner makes me infinitely thankful for mom’s home cooking, and gives me a good push to find a place to call home; a push to get setup and have a little more money to spend on the little things again.  Travelling light and eating light is tons of fun, but it is really hard on a person.  I love it.  

   We spent the rest of the night making up plans of attack for our big job search that begins tomorrow, Monday.  We wind up in deep conversation with one of our roommates for several hours, and while Nicholas cashes in his chips at a respectable one AM, Em and I continue in some pretty deep discussion with David from South America, Micheal from Zaire, and Brad from Brisbane, Australia.  Em crashes at about four, and I find myself shooting snooker (pool, but they have wee-little balls here—hehehehe) at ~5am.  Will we find jobs tomorrow?  Stay tuned…