Carlton HillMy original plan was to fly to Scotland on Thursday so I’d have 5 days in Scotland to catch up with a few friends. As things go, I ended up with a terrible fever and shivers when I got home from the Bridge of Ross a few days before, and my fever quickly resided as it came, but I was still feeling ill, muscles ached, drippy nose, and coughing up some nasty phlegm. I’m sure that you wanted to know that. Anyways, I flew a couple of days later from Shannon, on Saturday night to Glasgow Prestwick and checked into the Glasgow SYHA (Scottish Youth Hostel) where a friend of mine is working as the acting manager. Unfortunately, he was off out with his gf.

My favourite ale of Scotland! Carlton Deuchars IPAAnyways, after checking in after midnight, I quickly got up for 6am and was off to Edinburgh for breakfast with another mate who works for the SYHA in Edinburgh. Tony, who I worked with when I was living back in Edinburgh back in 2002-3. It was certainly nice to catch up with him, along with others like Nigel as well. Tony is a young Scottish bloke who has a great sense of adventure, and is fabulous with building economical lightweight road bicycles. And now currently an advid photographer. It was amazing how quickly the time went by between us. But unfortunately, it’ll be difficult for me to return to Edinburgh in the future. I work at the Edinburgh Bruntsfield SYHA for close to 2 years, but by Sept 2006, it’ll be no more. Sold away, and a new flag ship purposely built hostel will open closer to the downtown core. It’ll be very different, as for new guests will not experience the feel of a classic Edinburgh building. I can only hope that the new structure will not be cold, nor clinical. And since everyone I know who is still with the SYHA will be jumping ship… I’ll no longer have a place to crash when I return to Edinburgh. Who knows were everyone will be going. In anycase, I wish you all the best of luck.

Bobby GreyfriarIn the afternoon, I also met up with a looong lost friend. Someone I actually met back in Australia, when I was working at the Sydney Beachouse YHA back in Australia in 2001. Laura, a true Scottish lassie. A lassie who has wonderfully strong Scottish accent that simply melts my heart. I spent close to 2 years living in Edinburgh, and Laura spent most of her life here, but both of us have never ventured into the Greyfriars Kirkyard which is right in the oldtown of Edinburgh and right behind the infamous Greyfriars Bobby. I must of passed this statue many times each week, but never went close to Greyfriars Kirkyard. Anyways, Laura and I had a wonderful stroll through the ancient cemetary, which is also known to be most haunted. We were fine, but empty stomaches beckoned us for some food and with the England Vs Equador WorldCup game.

In the evening, I was back in Glasgow, to have dinner with another old friend, and SYHA collegue. Meg, has finally finished her med school studies, and is now packing up getting ready to do her residency in London. I’ve left so much lugguge with her and her parents while I travelled and low and behold, she’s found another bag of my clothes and some electronics. Tee hee. Thanks for holding them for me. A nice looong chat, catching up along with quick glimpses of the Portugal Vs Netherlands game. All in all a very loooong day. 3-4 hours of sleep, now past midnight, I made my way back to the Glasgow hostel where I left my lugguage. And then made my way to Prestwick airport to catch my 6am flight.

Here’s a warning to you if you’re thinking of taking the bus. You need to reserve a seat, or you may not be let on the bus since reserve tickets get presidence. If you’re too far behind the line, you’re gonna have to fork out some money for a taxi.

What a bloody long day. Got to Stansted, had to take a bus to Heathrow, but the bus was delayed, just got my flight to Hong Kong, then to Narita, to Tokyo, then Tsubame-Sanjo, and a walk to my car in the heat with all my lugguage. Just hoping that my car is still there. Man… you gotta love travelling eh?