The first day of 2018 was spent pretty much as any other – hungover on a couch watching a movie, nestled between two snuggling couples on either side of me, hugging empty pizza boxes. All was well with the world.
Rachel and I went to check out the miniature village in Hamburg. Being tall, it seemed to me no different to any other city really, but it was nice to see Rachel, much smaller, wandering streets closer to her size. Part of me wanted to crush it all like Godzilla, but I knew that just wouldn’t be cricket. Best miniatures I found were:
- A couple fucking in a field of sunflowers
- Dead bodies, all of them, of which there were a lot
- A miniature dog sniffing the miniature arsehole of another miniature dog
- A dude reposed on a blanket, sunning himself with a beer, inexplicably on top of a tree
- A lady who had won the lottery, who, when activated with a button, danced around with joy
Let it be known that I died at Hamburg airport. My greasy corpse may continue to wander around but my soul left my body and dissipated while getting intensely patted down at security and being asked what was in my jeans and having to explain that I hadn’t been touched like that in a long time and I was so very, very sorry and mortified.
Flying into the UK I was looking forward to spending time in the first country since I left Australia that speaks English, a break from the constant language barriers. After my first conversation with a local in Glasgow, I realised that I was wrong.
I find the dynamic of hostel dorm rooms really interesting. As in, people stay in larger dorms because they are cheaper and you trade in privacy for a few bucks, but in a large dorm of say ten people, no one really speaks to each other and goes about their business because there’s just too many people to engage with and it kind of ends up being more private, in a weird way. In a smaller four person dorm, people seem to bond more, finding comfort in their assigned crew, making plans and saying goodnight/morning, sharing stories of their lives, and I find it far more invasive than a larger more soulless dorm. The guys in my dorm were all very close. The day I arrived the room smelled heavily of dude. Like, that mix of dollar store deodorant, hangovers, and balls. The guy I was replacing in the room had apparently spent the previous night vomiting in the one sink we had and maintenance men had to plunge it clean, taking hours to do so. The boys had their own group going, but I refused to join in, which made me the pariah of the group, but I didn’t at all mind because if there was a vacancy for the vomiting loser who couldn’t even make it to the toilet I didn’t want to be considered.
One guy in my dorm, older/Canadian/possibly insane(speaks in tongues in his sleep and once mentioned how “Geoff” had drunkenly bought McDonald’s back the night before even though he had been the one who stumbled in with the bag and his name is not Geoff), kept talking to me about hockey. After the first long conversation about hockey, I had to say how I didn’t at all care about hockey and he cut me off and said in all sincerity, “please, no one else will listen”. My gut told me to tell him that was not my problem, but my heart hurt from how sad such a plea was, so I let him badger on. Also, I just feel like it’s important to keep the crazies on side.
In the Kelvingrove art gallery and museum, I came across a plaque mounted on the wall that said simply, “Clay the life. Plaster the death. Marble the revolution”. I love this idea, not only is it suggesting that the revolution is stronger and lasting, but also much more fabulous.
I came across the Hunterian Zoology Museum in the Glasgow University, which I assume is not frequented by that many visitors, despite being open to the public, because as I told the guy at the reception of my desire to check it out, his response was, “…really?”.
I discovered a friend of mine, Simon, was living in Glasgow and had the opportunity to hang out with him. We devised a plan to hire a car and drive around the Highlands for a couple of days, as he had yet to check it out either. Luckily for us, the two days Scotland was graced with sunlight was, in fact, the two days we were there.
Fuck the fucking Highlands and their fucking bullshit beauty like people talk about it but I mean come the fuck on that shit just keeps going and going you think one thing is the most fucking insanely incredible thing you’ve ever seen then you drive a hundred god damned metres down the road and bam you’re turkey slapped in the fucking face again with the perfect cock of Scotland the fucking mountains and the valleys and the lochs I mean fuck I got some kind of damned Loch jaw from being exasperated by it all by the time we got home we were fucking exhausted and overwhelmed and broken. Taking in the Scottish Highlands is like being repeatedly pounded by the crew of a naval ship made up entirely of models.
Driving past Loch Ness at night was an experience like no other. The moon hanging in the cold, cloudless sky littered below by the lights of the houses that peppered the landscape, the water of the lake shimmering in splendour, me driving around the winding roads getting blown to the gods by Simon in the passenger seat. Really, just top notch. Very recommended.
We ate at a diner attached to a shop called The Green Welly, which is hands down my new favourite eatery in the world based almost exclusively on name alone.
Driving around in snowy landscape is otherworldly beautiful, but fucking terrifying. I attempted to stop on a plateau overlooking yet another perfect view and the car slid and scattered about and I absolutely thought we were going to slide off the edge and fall into the beauty and die. Luckily, I got the traction back and got the fuck out of there, vowing to never drive on white-blanketed roads ever again.
We stayed a night in Inverness, which is apparently the capital of the Highlands. As it was a Saturday night, we went online to find out if there was a local gay bar to check out. The first article that came up had the headline “Inverness is a gay-phobic place. That’s why young people leave”, so we made mulled wine and watched Golden Girls.
I have never felt more like a tourist than one early morning in the highlands when I was frantically scraping at the ice on my car windows with my fingernails like a crazy person. After the deed was done, the car looked as though it was attacked by bears.
Shout out to the lady who helped me get a refund on the shit-tonne of extras that were charged to my card at the rental place when I returned the car. She got in trouble from her supervisor for it and she deserves a fucking kingdom for her efforts. Death to the bubbly chick who tried to swindle me though, I hope her cunt falls out.
I managed to scam my way into a free (usually very overpriced) breakfast at the hostel. It’s not much, but a victory for the little people is a victory for us all.
While killing time in Glasgow before heading off to Edinburgh, I decided to get a tattoo or two. Emerging from the parlour, the sun was shining and I felt fresh and new. I took not six steps and stood at a crossing when a woman said to me, “Excuse me, but there’s some trash on your head”.
Headed to Edinburgh after Glasgow, and luckily for me, I got to stay with my friend Charlotte who was living there now. That I somehow have managed to see so many people I know on this trip is bafflingly excellent. She picked me up and her boyfriend Paul made us a roast dinner and we drank and were merry. Their apartment came with a list of excellent rules, including overly elaborate instructions for the shower, a lock that unlocks the opposite way to every other lock in existence, and my personal favourite, “if you don’t remember to bolt lock this door when you shut it behind you, the old man will come for you”. Part of me wanted to not bolt the door and let this mysterious man come for me, as part of my revolution marblement, but I’m just a guest and yield such little power.