Great Scot!! (Part 2 - Highlands & Loch Ness)

Trip Start Aug 18, 2010
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Trip End Apr 09, 2011


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Monday, August 23, 2010

Great Scot!! (Part 2 – Inverness, Loch Ness)

Well, it's happened. I knew this would come up on the trip at some point. I’ve reached the first place I honestly don’t want to leave:

The highlands of Scotland.

 Those of you who know me should not be surprised by this.

It began before I even got here. On the train ride up I innocently began a conversation with some Scottish girls, and before I knew it they had a full itinerary planned for me, and one of them had offered me use of her bike for the duration of the trip.

Suffice to say I took her up on her offer... and out to drinks that night.

This isn’t to say that Edinburgh WASN’T interesting. I greatly enjoyed the Fringe, and the sights of the town etc. But there was a certain quality to the city, especially with the festival going on, that could get quite tiring after a period of time.

Edinburgh the vast majority of people I met were teenagers and young adults who were either on holiday or at the festival for a show they themselves were performing. And what happens when you get together a group of teenagers in a foreign city who are all there to party? 1) You get a WILD party, and 2) You get a hyper-sexualized culture where virtually everyone is playing 'the game.’

An average pub in Edinburgh during the fringe is full of groups of young adults dressed to their heels, sizing each other up, and playing all the bullshit games that go along with that. It's an ongoing club scene that goes on until 5 am every night. People who know me know I love a good party, but it actually becomes profoundly annoying after a few days when the men won’t talk to you because you are competition, and all conversations with women are based on shallow flirtations.

Also, since 50% of people are there for their own performance, it’s not uncommon for a great conversation to begin but then stop after 5 minutes when your partner makes ‘the sell’ for their own play/drama/dance etc.

So, be it looking for sex or an audience for your show, WAY too many people percieve you as little more than a notch to put on their belt. There's only so much of that I can take. 

 Pubs in the highland towns, in contrast, would be filled with people 18-60, and NOONE would be dressed up.  (On a side note, I have to say that makes the women here all the more attractive. There’s a certain confidence I think women carry when they are willing to go into public without a lot of makeup etc.) You can talk to practically anyone of any age, and the diversity of age and sex means that you will get a real diversity of conversation. Did you know environment rights activists in the Highlands despise the Royal Bank of Scotland to the degree that they seriously build siege catapults to more effectively throw eggs at their headquarters? How about that the locals all HATE Madonna, who owns property nearby? I do now. 

True, there were still tourists, but in the highlands rambling culture a majority of those are people on trips considerably more extreme than mine (e.g. hiking in the highlands for 12-18 months, only coming in for supplies etc.). I found no end to good conversations from people who spend at least 3 months of every year traveling. Lots of food for thought there. 

I also enjoy the pub scene for the fact that the music there has a much more homespun feel. When I say homespun, I mean two guys walk into the bar with a fiddle and bagpipes and suddenly everyone is singing folks tunes with them homespun. I approve. I completely approve. 

 But anyway, I spent my days there mostly biking out into the highlands along Loch Ness. I also took a boat across the lake one day when it got too rainy to be outside with the bike. 

Probably the best part was that the ferry stopped at a castle that has been torn down since the 1690's. The locals didn't think it was worth rebuilding the walls. The DISTILLERY, however...

Still functioning. 

 
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Comments

bert on

Casey,

I am jealous man, looks wonderful and the stories are great. Be safe and I look forward to more posts!
Bert

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