Live life as if you only had three more months to live...in Scotland.
It's 6:30 am and I'm wide awake. In any other location I would be sleeping just until the dreaded morning buzzer of my alarm sounds off. I mean, I should be sleepy.... But with this much fun, how can I not jump out of bed?
My first month was spent living a month with a fanatical Green Peace spanish hippy vegetarian archeologist, which got to be a little tiring after a while. She was clean. She was quiet. But she had this talent for making slight snipey comments about my ways from the top of her legume crested throne.
"No need to throw your leftover food into my garden compost box. You boiled the vegetables so they have no more vitamins left for my plants."
"Your cheese is non-organic and full of chemicals."
I have since been liberated from the veggie-nazi and feel like every day is a new opportunity for precious memories to be made.
Scotland has got to be one of the greatest places I have visited in Europe. I now live a 5 minute walk away from a castle. Wait, I live next to a castle? How freaking cool is that? I live in an international heritage site! Getting lost has never been so fun, with the cobblestone roads.. smokey grey buildings.. It feels like your in Disneyland, but that mouse you see on the path is a real one who's ancestors spread the Black Death to a quarter of its inhabitants.
What's it like to hang out with the Scots? Well, first off get used to saying "Huh?" .. because you won't understand a freaking thing they say until you've been here for about 3 weeks. My only real reference to the scottish accent is Mike Myers SNL sketch "If its not Scottish its Crrrrap!"
I have an affinity for Scottish people because they are very proud of who they are but will never radiate an ideology that they think that they are better than anyone else. While they do have a few historic lows (losing to the English, potato famine, the deep fried mars bar..) they have created some of the worlds greatest stuff (golf, whisky, Sean Connery).
So while I am here, I would like to share a bit of my action packed days by giving you my Top Tips on how to have a successful visit to Scotland!
1) Play Golf:
Personally, I wake up at 7 am to practice golf in my front yard. I live on the steps of a centuries old public park and golf course and take advantage of the empty surroundings and free facilities. Only in Scotland can you find a place that believes that every citizen should be entitled to a chance at the sport.
2) Drink Coffee:
I mean drink good coffee. The place just inspires a morning coffee to soak in the atmosphere and get the mind into its creative state. JK Rowling spent a year writing Harry Potter in the Elephant Café just up the road from my place. You can get the idea of where she took all of her inspiration from.
3) Buy some fish:
They are more of a rare occurence than before but you can still find a real classic fish monger in many local neighborhoods. You can buy fish that is fresher than Big Foot's dick for the same price as a Mcbarfburger here. Throw a white filet of fish in a pan with melted butter topped with lemon juice and you will never reacher a higher point of enlightenment.
4) Take a ghost tour..I mean a REAL ghost tour:
What do you get when you combine an ancient castle, violent neighbors, and a plague? Really Bitchin' ghost tours. Many of the pubs I frequent seem to have their own local ghost... I hang out often at the Last Drop pub which is right in front of where they held the village executions. The spookiest is the underground city where the city's poor used to live. During the black plague they declared a state of emergency and mercilessly sealed the entrance, leaving its thousands of inhabitants to die. Lot's of paranormal activity there evidently...
5) Drink a real Whisky:
None of this Glen Fiddich/Johnny Walker crap that you can buy at the airport duty free. A glass of the local fire water will actually cost as much as a pint of beer yet make you wonder why you ever mixed the stuff with a coca-cola. Aim for a small production or something from one of the smaller islands off the coasts.
6) And my final trip suggestion....Eat something NASTY!
Nothing gets you into the inner circle of trust with the locals than manning up to the challenge of local fare. My personal favorite is to walk into a gastro-pub and say in my really LOUD american accent "Soo Whats a HAGGIS??!" You can almost hear a pin drop after that. They are waiting for it to come.. They can't wait to see the expression on my face when I find out that its a sheeps heart, liver, and lungs, wrapped and simmered in its own stomach. I'll turn to the local group of Scots next to me and ask them if I should try it... followed by a resounding "YES!" In my opinion, its the best way to meet locals and you will most likely be bought a beer for your bravery. Scotland is the only country where a stranger has offered to buy me a beer (and I swear it wasn't a gay bar!)
So while I pause to take some time to write this blog entry, I am rushing right off again to share in the splendid bliss of Scottish culture.