Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Scottish Oddities

What's so hard about making hot and cold water come out of the same tap? Seriously people. At most places, hot is on the left side of the sink, cold is on the right. If you want some combo, you have to like grab some cold, and then try to get a little hot. The hot water is boiling hot. Your other choice is to plug the sink, fill it up with the temperature you want, then wash, and unplug. That's just a lot of hassle to wash your hands. Plus, who wants to fill up a sink and wash where tons of other people have washed? The whole system is just a bit weird. Plus, at places where hot and cold come out together, it's like hot then cold then hot then cold like it can't decide.

There is gum everywhere on the streets here! The sidewalks look like they are paved with small cobblestones, but really, it's just old gum. I saw a sign for a gum bin (a litter bin just for gum) that said, "Throw your gum here. Help save 30,000 pounds a year in gum removal." Seriously? They spend that much just removing gum? It's a serious problem. I'm baffled that people just spit their gum out on the ground. I guess they would just expect to step in it a lot, also. I seriously think they should consider not selling gum here.

A girl taught me a new Scottish word today. It is faff. She said that it means to fiddle about, messing around and not doing what you should be doing. For example, if my students were chatting instead of working, I could say they were faffing about. The less extreme version of faff would be footer (but it sounds like "fitter" the way they say it). So, you could be footering about all day instead of being productive.

I also learned that you can go skiing in northern Scotland. However, you would always want to call ahead to make sure they actually have snow. A guy on the train, Tim, told us that the highest mountain point in Scotland was between 4 and 5,000 feet high. We giggled a bit about that one. He also told us that the best place to see Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, was in the gift shop.

The Scottish really don't drink that many soft drinks. The only real choices are Sprite, Diet Coke, Coke, and Fanta. Oh boy, these people like their Fanta. I got a bottle of so-called orange Fanta, but it's pretty much yellow and tastes like our Squirt. It's really not that great. Good thing for Sprite! Really, they have their own soda, Irn Bru, which tastes like bubble gum. I was told that they wanted to market it in the USA, but the FDA wouldn't approve an ingredient. Go go FDA. I'm not sure I would approve it either. Grape soda? Anyone?

People here carry an umbrella like we would carry our purses or cell phones. People always have umbrellas in their hands. I can totally understand why, as it's been raining about 90 percent of the time that we've been here. I think that we have had a total of 5 to 6 hours of sunlight. Of all the things I bought for this trip, I've used my umbrella the most. I don't like it. I thought that I could live in a city like Seattle, where it's always raining, but I now know that it's not the case! It's pretty gloomy!

By the way, I think the mullet is coming back. At least in Scotland and maybe the UK. I have seen several while here, and had to stare at the back of one on a bus for about 10 hours. This whole trip, I just didn't want to look like a scrounge or a camper, but apparently, everyone here looks a little scroungy, thrown together, and damp. They look as if they just got up, threw themselves together, and off they went. Maybe it's because they have to deal with rain every day, and getting ready is just not worth it. Maybe I'm just vain.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Oh, I do miss mixer taps! The plumbing here is so old and the cost of installing new taps is a bit prohibitive (seriously, buying a mixer tap will set you back about £40 for the cheap, ugly ones). Hand sanitizer is the only way to go in public toilets!