(Sub)urban Pleasures

There’s much joy to be taken in the walks around the neighbouring suburbs of Edinburgh – when the weather permits, of course. They have been most welcome distractions amidst the alarming assignments that I have been given to do, and holed up in my place is not exactly the greatest inspiration one gets.

Stockbridge, the rather bohemian area that borders Dean Village, northwest of New Town, is one of those. I find myself returning there countless of times, if not just for the hilly roads, the numerous charity shops and the rather quaint layout of particular streets along the Waters of Leith.

But Edinburgh isn’t all, of course – the Weegie’s (Glaswegians) hometown was something I longed to experience and see for myself. The opportunity finally came in the form of reading week in school, where students are supposed to spend the week reading instead of taking mindless excursions that strike their fancies.

But the first foray outside Edinburgh’s soil came in the form of a minor bus accident that I was in when the Citylink bus en route to Glasgow scrape the side of a rented vehicle. Called to be a witness simply because I sat in front, the exchange was rather amusing to say the least.

“That wasn’t very clever, was it?” Clapped our favourite driver in Scottish-flavoured sarcasm as he alighted and settled the painful details with the other party who was first shocked into silence, before masterfully regained his speech by swearing every three words.

“Shockin’ piece o’ drivin’,” he commented once again when we were finally done holding up traffic. “Absolut’ shockin.”

We were really off schedule, considering the bus left the Edinburgh Bus Terminal rather late, and were made even later by the skirmish.

“Well, I hope things will be alright,” a kindly old lady hobbled off the bus said in farewell to the driver.

“Oh, that’ll be alright,” he snorted derisively.

I scrambled off the bus quickly, only to find myself disoriented about the city streets in the eagerness to see the city centre.

Glasgow – what do I say – the industrial looking, even more austere, yet more Europeanised city of Scotland – was a place that I took an instant liking to, for some inexplicable reason other than the fabulous and glamorous fashion and amazing streets.

“You’re really lucky,” said the sales lady in Lush Cosmetics (a place which I am always wont to go into in any country, state or county, given a sliver of a chance). “It’s not raining today.”

Not yet at least. I rounded Merchant’s corner, and promptly stepped into the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, situated in a peculiarly Italian looking corner of the orderly, grid-designed city, and it poured the moment I finished my rounds in the museum and made my way down Buchanan Street.

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It is difficult to rave about Glasgow in the typical way I rave about most places and being there only for a couple of hours would make this a rather hypocritical post to do so. It was however – despite the rather gritty centre and industrial façade – the vibrancy and the cosmopolitanism of the city that seemed to have impressed me the most.

More importantly, return journey was skirmish-free, and for that, I was thankful.

What I was not thankful for however, was that blasted firm alarm which went off when I was in bed later that night.

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