The funniest thing happened… this phrase seems to be the opening line of many of the stories of my days.
I decided that I wanted to get more time and space to work and write and be more in nature, which inspires me to get out and move my body. Much like my frequent returns to Ireland, so is my heart drawn to The Highlands of Scotland. I had gotten an email from a friend back in Portland on Wed. evening who had a friend in Glasgow and suggested that we connect. I called him on Thursday and said that I was thinking of heading to the Highlands and any recommendations? He was incredibly hospitable and ultimately it was decided that I would come to Glasgow on my way. He didn’t receive my text confirming I’d made it on the train and I didn’t get his voicemail asking if I was still coming. When I called from the train station we both didn’t realize the other didn’t get our messages. He didn’t miss a beat and asked me if I would mind catching a cab to his office and then he drove us over to his flat, which is amazing. It was a house and is now converted into large flats. Although it’s ceilings are much more ornate and it’s scaled larger, it reminds me of my house in Portland… old and yet renovated to be easy to live in and comfortable. He generously insisted that I take his bed and bathroom, which had heated floors like my bathroom had.
I had only had 7 hours sleep in 3 days, lying in the hostels wide awake, so after numerous emails and getting work things sorted out, I fell asleep and slept for 13 hours! I woke up in the early afternoon and it was too late to get on to the Highlands so I stayed here again. I had a few conference calls from here and they went great so I’m pretty happy with how things are going. I actually get more done in a much more relaxed way over here—less distractions perhaps? I’m curious to see how I will better learn to manage the pulls and distractions of American life when I’m in the States.
Tonight we are going with some people to a get-together in Edinburgh so back I go for the evening with plans to catch a train to other parts from here in Glasgow tomorrow. It’s been fun and really nice to be in a house with guys for a few days. They’ve all been gracious, even when I couldn’t understand Steve’s accent and thought he was saying hello but he was locked out of the house and it’s so big that I thought that the door he was talking through was just another room. He waited patiently for several minutes before calling my cell phone. And then Paul’s hairdresser came to the flat to give him a cut and she ended up tweaking mine and when Kenny walked in all he saw were two women he didn’t know in his kitchen, one giving the other a haircut. Ahh, if I’d had my camera out to get the look on his face.
I think being here has given me much needed transition time and rest after the whirlwind of being in the States the past few weeks. I went to dinner by myself on Friday night as all the guys were out. I chose to go close by so I could walk back without getting lost. I went to Chillies, an Indian restaurant here in the West End of Glasgow. I had vegetable samosas, tandoori roti and baingan masala (aubergine curry, which is eggplant). They brought me grilled salmon because they wanted me to try more food. It was so perfect—crispy on the outside and melted in my mouth. All the food was really great and the atmosphere was modern, yet warm and candlelit with old stone walls on one side and large glass windows with a view over the green space across the street. They had a chocolate drenched chocolate cake on their menu but I opted for the warm Indian butter carrot cake with vanilla ice cream. It was like no carrot cake I’d had before. It was soft and you could scoop it with a spoon. Really good; really rich.
The manager, Atal Srivastava, came and talked with me for awhile. He’s from Jaipur in India and recommended Goa in September and the East coast beaches of India if I visit next year. All the staff were perfectly attentive and were genuinely engaged and caring. I felt at home and that’s a much appreciated embrace for a person out here on my own.
Between Steve and the guys at the flat and the restaurant staff, my first experience of Glasgow hospitality more than lives up to its reputation of being super friendly. They’re giving Ireland a run for their money in the hospitality department. If I didn’t have more world to see I’d stay in Glasgow for awhile. I love the differences of each place that I go. And I love each place for these differences. Maybe someday I will come to Glasgow and stay longer.