UK and Ireland 2014: Glasgow wrapped up – An education in food and culture

redhead girl in scotland

I have a random thought and through reading this entry, you’re obligated to bear with me here. Verbosity, I’ve learned, is a bitter ex. It does not leave without resistance, and somehow it manages to reel you back in without you even noticing. While I’m sure my close family and friends enjoy my vivid play-by-plays of my travels, I recognize that it might not be as meaningful to the readership at large. So, I told myself that I would try to reform my travel writing to emphasize more about the places we go rather our individualized experiences. And generally speaking, that’s the practical way to go, especially when one considers my aspirations for the future of my writing.

Some stories, however, are just too good to pass up. Here, I use that word, “good”, in both the heartwarming, nostalgic, warm sense as well as the harrowing, Taken-finally-seems-like-a-legit-scenario sense. Let’s start light.

On Buying a Charger

The Apple Store on Buchanan Street in Glasgow sits discreetly in a regal display of Victorian brick and stone, with only the silent logo indicating its true identity. Buchanan Street in general happens to be the nerve center of the UK’s finest shopping next to London. Now, what’s inside the Apple Store induces no more splendor than any other store – until you meet the cheerful, glowing Amer and Calum. Indeed, these strapping gentlemen were a pleasant surprise in an environment normally designed to inundate us with sales banter; they did nothing of the sort. We left not only with our required computer charger, but also with excellent restaurant recommendations and new friendships. Should you find yourself in this establishment, I assure the same will happen to you.

Thus, lunch at the trendy and underground-vibing Stereo and coffee/sweet scrumptiousness at Riverhill Coffee Bar rounded out our last day in Glasgow with some of the most splendid consumptions the UK has to offer. We briefly stepped into the Lighthouse, the museum of design that happens to be but a skip away from both of the above places, but only managed to get to the 6th floor – which, admittedly, is the primary selling point of the place. Scratch that, it’s not really a selling point if the museum is free, right? The bummer of the day was not seeing the rest, as it looked to be a fantastic paradise for the design-nerdy. And since it is free, I will implore the reader to check it out on my behalf.

Another attraction I dearly wish we could have experienced is the (also free) Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Since we arrived at 5:05, we were 5 minutes too late for the action. Ouch. But hey, at least we got a picture of the exterior, which counts for something in my eyes.

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Pixelface and I goofing off near Stereo. Artwork by Peter Drew Arts (http://www.peterdrewarts.com)
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The world of Glaswegian architecture at our fingertips – Lighthouse, 6th floor.
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The Delicacies of Riverhill.
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View of the University of Glasgow over the River Clyde.
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The lovely Kelvingrove. Judging a book by its cover, it sure looks nice!

The Bitter End

We were more than happy to have gotten an extra day in Glasgow. But the taxi driver who came to pick us up later didn’t know that, nor did he care. He just seemed grumpy. That’s okay, grumpy people are as prevalent as pockets of clouds in the sky. Fine…right?

We arrived at Glasgow (yes, the RIGHT airport this time) only to discover we didn’t have enough cash between us. I stayed in the car while June got out, offering to go inside and get more money to cover the fare. This did not fly, it seemed. Before I knew it, I was being swerved away nearly watching my friend get hit. I was alone in the car with a man who was very, very angry and bent on believing that we were ripping him off. I was told I would be dropped in the middle of Glasgow with my bags. Safe? Hurt? Alive? I had no idea.

June did what any person would do and attempted to call me and reason with the driver. He did not reason, but continued to drive away and curse with even more fervor. Having never been in this type of situation, my blood burned me and my heart palpitations made it difficult for me to hear, nay, think. I was crying, screaming, begging him to stop, wailing about how much money we made to assure him that we were not broke tourists in for a swindle. We were gonna pay, he kept saying. Pay? Where am I going? What is he doing? Eventually, I couldn’t hear a thing.

In a brief eye of the storm, I posited:

“What happened to you in your life to make you want to do this?”

He eventually stopped, took what he was owed from June, who found us, and threw the extra pounds we had offered him on the ground in a violent display of pride. We walked away and the credits of the horror-suspence rolled.

I may not have gotten a response, but I’m guessing I got him to think.

(Lesson learned: Bolded and underlined for the readership to note, is never, ever, ever get into a cab without adequate cash in Scotland, because your driver could be that guy.)

– H

Thought of the day: Don’t take safety lightly, even in places that seem or are categorically “safe”. 

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