11 September 2013
It's the little things
There are soooo many items of information that a traveler/visitor/new resident is faced with every day. I sort of psyched myself up to go with the flow this time, knowing how stressful it can be sometimes to transition from one place to another. As I've mentioned previously, I studied abroad in London in 2006 and have made a couple of subsequent trips to the UK since then -- and even visited Scotland. But the city is not the country, Edinburgh is not London, and even though they are merely four hours apart by train, they look and sound quite different.
I'm totally fascinated by cultural and regional differences. I hope to continue to share all sorts of interesting, amusing, endearing and perhaps confusing things that I come across -- some which I am experiencing for the first time, and others I've known of from previous trips, but have been reminded of.
One new thing I've encountered in Scotland is the greeting, "Alright?" Sounds like awrite? Essentially, it's a way of saying "hello, how are you?" or if in a retail setting, "hello, how can I help you?" Don't just say "yes" -- they're not inquiring whether you're doing okay, necessarily.
Scotland weather has a reputation for being grey and rainy and changeable. Well, changeable it is--after a mere three days of being here, the weather has gone from sunny and warm to partly cloudy to lightly raining to breezy to cold to warm again in one day. As autumn turns in earnest, it's sure to get cooler and probably breezier and rainier, but so far, the weather just keeps us on our toes!
There are a lot of buskers (street performers) along the Royal Mile and other popular thoroughfares. Unsurprisingly, many of them are bagpipers, but there are often other musicians as well, jugglers, statues, etc. I think it's a pretty good rule of thumb that if you actually take the time to stop and watch a performance, and especially if you take a photo, you should cough up a little coinage. They're trying to make a living too! (I feel like the same goes for homeless folks -- if you take the time to read their sign, or acknowledge them in any way, give them a little something. But that might just be me.)
Orange soda here is like fizzy orange juice. It's the best thing everrrr. And on the topic of ingestibles... Premade sandwiches. Just saying. The popularity of fresh food sections in convenience stores, or sections in stores like Marks & Spencer with shelves of various readymade sandwiches from things like Spanish grapes and free-range eggs (!!) makes for yummier, healthier eating on the go. I'm just not used to convenience store sandwiches in the US tasting like anything other than soggy cardboard.
Lastly, there are height restrictions on the buildings in Edinburgh, so the city is... short. Nothing can rival the height of the castle on its central hill, which from a new visitor's point of view is awesome. Not only does one get glimpses of the amazing castle from various vantage points around the city, but if you get lost, if you can find the castle, you can figure out your orientation just like that. Not to mention that getting lost in a new city is one of the best ways to get to know it. Doing it on purpose is cool.
(I apologise [haha, spelling.] for the photos in this post; I'm still figuring out my iPhone camera! More [and better] next time!)
What is your favorite thing about visiting a new city? The restaurants? Tours? Walking? Parks?