Monday, August 21, 2006

"Pride and Prejudice and Niggas"--off to Edinburgh!

Ok, so, you may not hear from me for a minute cause Andy's taking me to the biggest thing in Scotland: the Fringe festival in Edinburgh. People, I don't even know if I can explain it. Hell, I'm not even sure if I understand it. It's a huge 3-week long party that is part of some large general set of festivals that features everything and anything, it sounds. For example, within it includes the Fringe itself, but there's the International Festival the International Film Festival, the Jazz and Blues Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and also the Edinburgh Military Tattoo every night at the Castle Esplanade.
Hell, we just got back from being in Aberdeen on business yesterday and off, we will head today for Edinburgh. heavy sigh...
(My dear friend R. in Delaware tells me to stop the bitching. Not everyone gets the opportunities to travel and see these festivals and shows so easily as I do. So that's what I'm trying to do. It's just that I get tired of it from time to time. Especially when I'm seeing acts that I couldn't care less about--for example: the Elvis celebration where loads of bands (indie and rockabilly formats)for one long-ass night. I won't go into a review unless asked. Let's just say, you have to be a real Elvis fan to enjoy it...which I'm not.


(sorry, Andy. I tried to tell you. I'll sit in and watch his "Blue Hawaii" movie, but as the "Fight the Power" anthem of Public Enemy says, "Elvis was a hero to most but he never meant sh*t to me you see...")


Edinburgh's The Fringe:
There will be well over 200 venues with literally tens of thousands of performers.

Course, I did check out the 200+ page guide to see what shows might be of interest to me. But who knows? This trip is for Andy's work: he has to check out these acts, particularly the comedians, for possible booking and promoting of the venues that he runs in Perth and Aberdeen.

There was one poster that Andy and I came across a month ago that caught our eye. Reginald D. Hunter is a comedian from Georgia, USA and is making it big here in the UK. Think of him as a Dollar Store version of Chris Rock.
Our reactions, for a number of racial and nationalistic reasons, were quite different.

I literally cringe, knowing this poster was displayed ALL over Edinburgh (and who knows where else) to entice people to come see the show. Where is Dave Chapelle when I need him!!

We'll be hitting Mr. Hunter's show in the next day or so. With any luck, Andy will have to meet him to book him for potential shows at his venues.

I will have reports next week.

Friday, August 04, 2006

When Friends Visit

.............a typical street in Old Town, Edinburgh.....................

My apologies to those who've written me privately, telling me that they are jonesin' for another post. It's been a long week. Blah blah blah, you get the point.

As I had said sometime ago, two friends of mine, Mohan and Briana, were coming for a visit. Remember how I said I love to entertain? Yeah, well, I meant, usually love to entertain. It's f-ing hard running around here and there every single day because your friends want to see as much as they can on their few days in Scotland. Travel was done by planes, trains, automobiles, and buses!

Somehow in the few days my friends were here, we saw Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth (of course) and country drives up to the Highlands. Very, very busy driving or riding all over the area.
I'm also beginning to think that I might have to figure out how to see some tourist sites with my friends without having to do the same thing over and over and over again.

So, as to not bore anyone to death, here's a post with highlights:

A day and eve was spent in Edinburgh. Most of our touristy time was spent on the Royal Mile of Old Town Edinburgh. It's a stretch of streets that's been the main thoroughfare since medieval Edinburgh.
And damn! It was hot! (My apologies to those suffering in the US sweltering heat; I know you're trying to keep from melting... but when it's always wet and cold around here, any day above 85 degrees is hot!)

Typical sights were seen, if not entered (i.e., Edinburgh Castle) due to keeping the spending down. But we did take time to check out a number of interesting shops that sold various types of whiskey that (of course) you can try before purchasing.
Basically, in Scotland, one must work HARD to avoid alcohol and not get drunk. It's there...everywhere, whether you have to pay for it or not.
Next to that shop was an amazing place called "Demijohns" where all the homemade vinegars, wines, whiskeys, and flavored liqueurs are made in these beautiful glass demijohns! Oh, and guess what? Yup, more liqueurs and whiskeys to try.
Seriously, if you're a cheap-ass alcoholic bastard, you can just keep visiting all the different shops that sell whiskey and keep having a "taste".

Later, while my touristy friends were taking the "Literary Pub Tour" throughout Old Town Edinburgh, Andy and I took me around to see the Edinburgh that he knew in his college days.
It's always amazing to get a different perspective of a town when you spent time with locals. It's almost like I was in two different cities at the same time.
We got hungry and decided to hop in a taxi to the historic port of Leith for dinner; which is also the same place "Trainspotting" took place. Apparently, gentrification has hit Leith too. Not one sign of Ewan McGregor, a dime bag or even a used heroin needle to be found!

We met up with my friends a couple of hours later at....yup, a pub--the Cafe Royal, one of the most famous bars in Edinburgh. It looks like it's suppose to be posh (maybe it was 100 years ago), with its ornate ceilings and burgundy couches. But one look at the regulars kinda takes the prissiness out. It's very intimate and lush without the pretense.

After that, we got on the City Link bus to head back to Perth like a bunch of gambling old biddies rolling out of Atlantic City for the old folks home.

Later in week, we rented a car and drove up to the Highlands to visit a distillery (yup, more whiskey drinking!) and to see some of the country towns and landscape of Perthshire.

The Famous Grouse Experience at Glenturret is the oldest distillery in Scotland. For the most part, the distillery makes traditional single malt (aged between 10 to 30 years) which gets sold as is but also is sent to other distilleries for blending malts.
And yeah, surprise surprise: we did do some "tasting" there too.

We drove in and about various towns and villages in Perthshire. (By the way: It was so freaking hard driving on the left side of those tiny country roads). One of the cutest towns to see is Kenmore on Loch Tay. It's like a picturesque postcard village of whitewashed cottages. The 16th century village has a "Main Street" that's barely a block long!And yeah, there's even a little castle. Only dating to the 1800s, though! Tres new, you know...

After, Andy and I had a week or so to recover and now, I have another friend coming in two days.
I gotta figure some other things to do with visiting friends so I don't get sick of seeing the same sights over and over again.

Suggestions are always welcomed.