Dear Loyal and Extremely Dedicated Readers (this is what I imagine so just let me be),
I apologize for breaking the tradition of posting weekly so early. I was really busy in Glasgow last weekend and blah…blah…blah… I know you don’t want excuses. You want results. So here they are.
spent this previous weekend in Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland and a place recognized as the music and arts capital of the U.K. (well at least that’s what the website said). When I told Scottish friends at St. Andys (an endearing term for St. Andrews) about my weekend plans to visit Glasgow, I was met with baffled looks and many questions along the lines of, “Why on earth are you going to Glasgow?” I was so confused. I quickly learned that Glasgow was the capital of not just music and art, but also crime in the U.K.. The locals were acting like Glasgow was “Detroit-esque”. Luckily, I decided to ignore the haters and check out Glasgow for myself.
Alex and Forrest, two of my pals, and I caught the bus in St. Andys early Friday morning to Glasgow. We also met with two other friends, Ryan and Quin, at the station because they were already in Glasgow for a football match. The weather was dodgy (British lingo for sketchy or iffy) upon arrival and it rained a bit on our way to the hostel. Despite the rain, I was feeling good. Glasgow didn’t look like Detroit and we passed tons of interesting sights along the way. As we got close to the hostel, I began to notice a pattern: Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, BMW…The cars near the hostel were NICE and I was beginning to think we were lost. Sure enough, we weren’t and our hostel (my first hostel ever) was sandwiched right in one of the best parts of Glasgow. We check in and the tattooed gentleman at the front desk recognized our accents and asked where we were from. Naturally we returned the question and learned that he was from…drumrollllllll…..DETROIT! He told us he moved to Glasgow of all places just to get away from Detroit. Whew, looks like Glasgow isn’t as “Detroit-esque” as some people believed.
Without much of a clue of what to do in Glasgow, we saw “a cool looking building” in the distance and decided to head that way. It turns out we stumbled upon the University of Glasgow and had a blast exploring the campus. We saw “some cool looking stairs” and headed up them right to the Hunterian Museum, a well known museum in the U.K. The great thing is that all museums in Scotland are free so we walked in without hesitation. It was filled with everything from pieces of ancient Roman walls to human fetuses that had been preserved in jars since the 1800’s. After that we saw “a cool looking red building” nearby and moseyed right into the Kelivingrove Art Gallery and Museum which was also filled with awesome items like swords from Scottish Highlanders and paintings from Dali and Monet. From there we wandered a bit and then went back to the hostel to relax and get ready for a show at a comedy club we had heard about called The Stand.
We got to The Stand around 8pm for the show at 9pm and all of the tables were already filled so there was standing room only. To me, this was great sign, people loved the place. The venue was underground, dimly lit, and filled with eclectic decorations – just what I had imagined. The MC came on stage and informed us that there were four comedians performing for us that night and asked the audience where they were from.
“Scotland?”and about 69% of the audience shouted “Aye!”
“England?” and about 30% shouted “‘ello Mate!”
At this point, I got that feeling one gets when their name is coming up during class role call – sweaty palms, racing heart, it seemed like a full blown fight or flight response.
“Americans?” My four friends and I shouted as loudly as we could without looking like dumb Americans. Unfortunately, I think we still looked like dumb Americans and I realized that we had just painted huge targets on our backs. With us as the only Americans present, he asked for anyone else and there was one German. So to sum up: 69% Scottish, 30% English, 1% American and German. We had found the right place, not some tourist trap.
The MC began to tease (a slight understatement) some members of the crowd who were close to the stage. I had a gut feeling that “the Americans” time to get teased would come. After a few minutes of warming up the crowd, he brought out Act 1. Whew, no teasing so far. After Act 1, our nemesis, the MC retook the stage. He began teasing select members in the crowd like some “Game of Thrones nerds”and then his shifty eyes turned our way. Our time had come.
“How are my American friends back there?”
I looked from left to right at my friends as we speechlessly decided who was going to submit themselves to the MC’s painful taunts. After what seemed like eons of silence I realized that I was going to have to take one for the team. I shout “Awesome! What’s up?” With that response, I think the MC realized this one was going to be easy and he began to smirk. He asked where I was from and I shout “San Diego, California!” To which he responds, “Jeeze mate, you don’t have to say the whole damn thing, we’re in Scotland now. We know our geography, we know where San Diego is!” This made the crowd roar. He asked my name and then proceeded to say that I looked more like “a Brad”. After some more banter, I actually got a few laughs from the crowd and I think I won the MC’s respect (mercy). However, he did have an extremely thick Scottish accent and I think some of the jokes flew over my head because they were heavily based on Scottish culture. He asked me if I was ready for Act 2 and on came comedian number two to which I had a relatively vanilla response. After Act 2, our friend returned to the stage and teased/mocked a few others before looking to me and saying “Adam, are you ready for Act 3?!” This time, I was ready. I shouted “Ohhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhhhh” in the dumbest, most obnoxious way possible and the crowd ate it up. The MC even said “You’re killing me man!” Acts 3 and 4 were hilarious and we returned to the hostel with sore bellies (and me with a slightly sore ego) from all of the laughter. It was a wonderful Friday.
On Saturday, we visited some other cool places like the Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis, as well as the Tennents brewery. However, the main event of the day was the Glasgow Warriors rugby match that I had been eagerly anticipating for the last few weeks. The match was incredible and the Warriors ended up securing the lead in the 73rd minute of the 80 minute match. The crowd was fun and I even got to teach the little kids behind me some American chants. After the match, Alex and I, the two remaining in Glasgow till Sunday, walked about two miles to a Chinese buffet that we had walked past earlier on Friday and were CRAVING. After eating past the point of regret, we patrolled the streets of Glasgow for a few hours and headed back to the hostel.
We woke up later than anticipated Sunday morning and I wanted to rush to the bus station to return to St. Andys asap to begin working on a lab report that was due the next day. Luckily, Alex was a good/bad influence and told me that we should take a slightly later bus so we had time to swing by the pool where water polo was developed because this would probably be my only chance ever. What a good man, he knew how important it was to me. We found the pool, which had a relatively nondescript exterior and a majestic interior. It was so special to visit and I was beaming like an investment banker who got a day off the whole way home.
Here’s a brief montage of my time in Glasgow:
and some photos to show your friends that Glasgow isn’t Detroit!
I apologize if the feelings of any Detroit citizens were hurt in the making of this blog post. I’m sure its a fantastic good okay okayish place.