Since Jen asked, here’s what I’ve done/seen so far:
- Since my hotel room wasn’t ready when I got in, I wandered around the High Street area, and got a lovely cup of soup in a little cafe.
- I walked by a bunch of interesting shops that were closed because it was Sunday.
- Today, I walked by a bunch of interesting shops that were closed because it’s a bank holiday.
- I walked to the conference center to register and got a little lost.
- I took some pictures, but because the network wi-fi sucks, I can’t upload them to Flickr.
- I went to the grocery store across the street from my hotel looking for snacks and was disappointed.
- I walked past a bondage shop, and it had a display window, which was a first for me… I’ve never actually seen a bondage shop. I’ve only ever heard that they exist.
- Now, I’m working on my presentations, which I have to have done today (which is why I’m not out site-seeing). I thought I was done a little while ago, but after re-reading them, I still have some work to do.
- I walked over a mile today, which is probably more walking than I’ve done since surgery, especially after you consider my marathon at Heathrow yesterday. I’m doing OK, just a little bit of tightness along the bottom of my foot. It did kind of punctuate just how out of shape I am, though.\
Oh yeah, Heathrow. Holy crap. We landed at 6:40AM and we all promptly rushed to the bus. Unfortunately, between us and the bus was a gigantic throng of about two hundred people also trying to get to the bus. It was this huge mess of humanity, with no traffic cop, just a formless queue of people trying to catch their connecting flight and growing increasingly agitated. I had two hours between flights and got on board five minutes after the flight was originally supposed to leave (thankfully, it was delayed). If you’ve ever been through Heathrow, it took two hours to get from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1, and I had to jog the last bit (and if you’ve ever seen me, you know that’s not a good idea). It normally takes no more than an hour, usually thirty minutes.\
A couple observations about Edinburgh before I post this. First, Edinburgh doesn’t seem as friendly as Dublin. Maybe it’s just the part of the city I’m in, but I’m downtown, and I stayed in downtown Dublin, and the vibe was totally different. When Sean and I got lost in Dublin, someone came up to us and helped without us even asking (we just looked lost). Here, people don’t return smiles and avoid eye contact (maybe it’s because I’m all shaggy again). In shops and restaurants, people are nice enough, but it’s not the same cheerfulness I fell in love with in Dublin (any why compare the two? because they’re fairly close together?).\
Second, there are a lot of cobblestones here, and that freaks me out. I rolled my ankle on a seam in a parking lot in Austin. I’m a little paranoid about rolling my ankle again and cobblestone streets are like minefields.\
Third, Edinburgh has really good chip shops. I had some amazing chips last night for dinner, and the fish was awesome. Edinburgh also has a lot of strip clubs. I walked past at least six on the way to the conference center (and don’t forget the bondage shop). The only reason I noticed this was that my friend Tom said there weren’t any strip clubs in Edinburgh (he only told me this because he was telling me about coming to the city while he was in the Navy… OK, I have no idea why he told me this, but he did). Yeah, I don’t think I’ll say any more about the strip clubs.\
And lastly, I love British television. DirecTV should offer a Brit Pack that has all the BBC’s, SKY, and Channel 4 on it, live. Forget BBC America, I want the real thing. BBC News is better than anything we have here, and the Brits have the best/worst reality TV.\
The conference starts tomorrow and I’m going to the Kendra Initiative dinner tonight (which, luckily enough is right down the street from the hotel), which promises from fun Scottish culture stuff. More blogging later… and maybe I’ll be able to upload pictures from the conference network.