Saturday, November 30, 2013

Vortex of Scottish Charm

The whole thing is fantastic, but the bit at 3:25? Totally spot-on. They really are that charming. 


(I have no idea why this doesn't play on the mobile version of my blog.)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dundee (City Center)

Spent some time in Dundee last week and again yesterday. Overall impression: it reminds me a bit of Springfield, Missouri - if Springfield wasn't designed solely for cars and the people were much friendlier.

Here's a street illusionist I saw while waiting for my friend.

I've seen much better street performers in New Orleans, but listening to all the freaked out people as they passed by was amusing. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Song of the Day: Jane S. Piddy

I first heard Sixto Rodriguez in the lounge of Oban Backpackers. After several days of hearing his songs, but being too shy to ask about the artist (because everyone knows way more about music than me, and generally thinks I listen to crap) I was lucky enough to overhear a conversation about him. Rodriguez's story is fascinating. He was a massive star in South Africa, but didn't know it! There was even a documentary about him, Searching for Sugar Man

This evening I kicked the dogs out of the kitchen and played this album while I cooked, sang, and danced. 

Amazingly, the dogs only protested during the first song and then quieted down. I think they liked it, and I hope you do too. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


So I didn't put much stock in people's reactions to my trip to Scotland. I ignored them when they told me Glasgow was a bore for anyone not interested in crazy warehouse parties or shopping. I was hesitant but interested when numerous people, including a Downtown Patrol Officer, suggested Oban. And now I'm in Carnoustie where several people scoffed and asked why the hell I'd come if I'm not interested in golf. Sometimes... it's best to listen to people when they know what they're talking about.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this town. Crime, I am told, is very low. There is a grocery store and pub about half a mile away. There are numerous shops and restaurants just a bit farther. But where Oban was small and charming, Carnoustie just feels like sprawl. The neighborhood I'm staying in is bordered by fields and the sea. Here's a look at what I see during my dog-walking. 


Fields and Sea

The neighborhood by night. 

My captors

The weird thing about this place is that I often hear gunfire in the distance. There's a military outpost of some sort about a mile away. They seem to practice quite a lot. The dogs aren't bothered by this for some reason. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dog-Sitting in Carnoustie

 Buttons and me hanging out on the couch. 

Both dogs are currently sitting on me. I can't hear fireworks, but I saw a few earlier when I was walking the dogs. Cassie is particularly unhappy about the situation. 

Alex, for whom I am dog-sitting, made haggis, neeps, and tatties for me this afternoon. It was DELICIOUS. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Oban Backpackers put on a great party for Halloween. I was so thrilled to hang out with this group on my favorite day of the year. We even went en masse to a pub down the street (running when it started to hail). Here are just a few shots, taken by a very talented French traveler (his cooking is even better than his photography).

My hostel family!

Before and After

It was a glorious morning here in Oban so I decided to walk up Battleship Hill. I wasn't exactly sure which hill it was, but everyone said it was behind Dunollie Castle so I figured it wouldn't be too difficult. It only takes about 15 minutes to get to the castle, especially if you go via the walking path and not the road along the water.
The path takes you to a gate, and then it's sheep pasture the rest of the way. It wasn't problematic until I got to about halfway up where there was another gate. The mud was deceptively deep and I sank pretty far down. I'm so glad I decided to buy new boots. My Simple wool boots would have been ruined. 

Here's the view from the hill looking down at Dunollie Castle. 

See the rain in the distance? It took about 15 minutes for it to reach me. Luckily, I had my rain jacket. Unluckily, IT HAILED. I just waited the shower out partially sheltered from the hail by some rocks.

Here's the same view after 15 min rain/hail shower. 

I love Scotland, you get rewarded with rainbows so close you can almost touch them.  
Can you see the snow on the distant peaks?

I didn't fancy another pelting of hail so I decided to head back into town

Oh La La

I was talking with a fellow traveler this evening about alternative money making opportunities and Fiverr came up. A few years ago I had a gig on there where I hula-hooped for 30 seconds with messages written in dry-erase marker on my stomach while wearing a swimsuit. It was a weird job, but I made about $12/hr with very little work. The song I used most often was Goldfrapp's Oh La La. Just thought I'd share in case anyone is starting to look at their bank account and the rapidly decreasing days until Christmas with nervous dread.