Travelogue Freewrite, Edinburgh
Edinburgh, day 1
What I needed on my first morning in Edinburgh was a map. I sensed the hotel was probably situated somewhere central in this city, and the attractions, the Scottish things would be located around my hotel within walking distance I surmised, and concluded based on an understanding of Edinburgh as an historic city ranging back in time before the advent of the motor vehicle, [mouthful]. Nothing would be too difficult given a pair of shoes, or feet, I thought.
Imagine my horror when I discovered the hotel concierge and his desk surrounded by a crowd of burly Korean war veterans, men dressed in their recognisable baseball hats and the beige trousers. There must have been twenty of these trouble-makers complaining about the malfunctioning lift, the eleverator they called it, and their wives all trapped in the bedrooms apparently. There was no way I was getting a map.
Evidently none of the malingerers had heard of stairs, an English invention I would have said it myself, but from my experience these dangerous gentlemen pack sticks, or Smith&Wesson firearms, Colt 45s, sporting rifles even, for shooting deer. So, I skirted around the mob and exited into the streets, and the rain of Scotland, probably blown north from England, good.
Scotland was not welcoming to me. It was my first day in the ‘windy city,’ and I turned a succession of grey corners, the grey buildings loomed like erect battleships. My jeans, which I hate, clung to my thighs, and my wife had forgotten to pack my belt, and also I needed a shave and also a haircut. Not a single attractive Scotswoman or person looked in my direction, it was as if I was invisible on these rainswept streets heading nowhere like a Robert Frost poem.
Where was I? I was alone because my wife, she is a businesswoman with high shoulders, because she was doing business, the reason we were in Scotland in the first place. I had been included by way of luggage, more detail to follow.
I walked around and around. Nothing was familiar to me because I had never been here before and I did not know where I was going. If only this was the 1990s I thought I could stand in a bookshop for five hours, but there were no bookshops in this residential neighbourhood M3/Leith/Glasgow according to the signpost.
Memories of miserable times in my past flooded into, and through my eyes. The walk to the red light district of Amsterdam where I turned right and not left, and admired warehouses for an entire evening. Or London at Christmastime when I looked into the restaurants, and saw the smiling faces surrounding candles. Only the camping/army surplus store saved me that night, the gentlemen’s range of combat lighters, stoves and sleeping bags was a rare delight/a treat.
I walked Edinburgh, past a kebab shop, past a charity store and a youth hostel custom-built for the shameful Edinburgh fringe divalhi. Finally I found a bench to call my own and I sat down on bird shit I think, but that doesn’t matter right now, I was on holiday. I counted my fingers then massaged my farmer phone and played the game on my phone moving bricks.
All of a sudden my phone came to life, it tinkled in the modern way and I responded in the only way I knew how,
‘Hello,’ I said.
‘Hello,’ said my wife, ‘I’m at the hotel, I’ve come to find you.’
‘Save me,’ I said, ‘I’m at a roundabout.’
‘What’s it called?’ she said.
‘I don’t F****ING know!’ I said in all reasonableness.
DAY 2 [to follow]