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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Norway, Scotland... Scotland, Norway

HAPPY 50th POST, OSLOst in SPACE!!!!!

Party time!!

Uhmm... Anyway, I apologize for my absence last week, but it was for a good reason.

I forgot.

But it's not like I forgot because I was watching an episode of "Boardwalk Empire", I forgot because I was getting ready to go to Scotland.

So yeah, I went to the northern part of the UK.  It was not an easy trip.  1 hour to Stavanger.  Switch flights.  2 hours to Aberdeen.  But it was pretty neat.

And it went like this:

We landed in the Aberdeen International Airport and, to my surprise, the Stavanger to Aberdeen flight had two people on it that were non-EU/EEA citizens.  Me and some other schmuck.  The reason I know this is that, upon entering into the airport and customs, there were two, distinct lines.  One for the EEA people and one for us "others".  

It was like landing in Dulles or JFK and smiling at all the doe-eyed, europeans as I breezed through my line to the front.

Simple problem.  I had to fill out a Landing Card.

Half the information, all the tediousness
As further testament to the irregularity that non-EU/EEA people (I'm tired of writing that, but it's an important distinction to make... If I were Albanian, I'd be in the same boat... well, no, that would probably be a much worse, and probably leaky boat because it's Albania... Jokes!  Calm down, readers in Tirana) make said flight, not a single stewardess had asked me if I needed a card nor were they readily available on the aircraft.  

No matter.  I had to fill it out (not like I had to get in the back of the line... I was the line) and then was on my way.  But not without this stamp:

Do not give him any money... But, like, we're not endorsing slavery.  You know, just don't let him preform any type of labor to be safe
UK wanted to make sure, under no circumstances, would anyone give me money.  My trip was to be a purely, one-sided fiscal relationship.  Which is strangely how I'd characterize my romantic relationships in my early to mid-20s.


I'm in Aberdeen now.

Apparently, business takes of here
There's power and wealth and then there's the kind of power and wealth when you're on the money used in your own country.  Not sure what's going on with my hair here 
I'm an idiot because the funniest thing about the area where this picture was taken is that there were a dozen Scottish Flags (St. Andrew's Cross), one EU flag, and one Union Jack... They love England!
 Eventually, we left the airport.

To do so, we hired a driver that we shared with another couple also going to our destination.  As he was driving a sedan, there was only space for three in the back seat and I was left to get in the front.  As I moved to the front of the car, I noticed our driver opened the right, front door.  In my head I was thinking, What a cheeky lad (because I put on airs when I'm in Scotland, apparently), he's angling for a fat, nice tip he is.  As I attempted to get in, he stopped me and gave me a really funny look.

"Fixin' to drive, are ya, lad?"  He asked in a thick, Scottish accent (that probably goes without mentioning)

Taken aback, I looked in the car and saw that the steering wheel was, in fact, on the right hand side of the car.  Laughing, I went over and got in on the other side.  As I did so, I looked around and, it seemed, every other car was like this, too.  

Now, I realize that the UK and other British subsidiaries drive on the left-hand side of the road and their steering wheels are on the right-hand side of the car, but I just didn't really think about it until I saw it.  Also, even if you know you're going to see it.  It's still very disorienting.  I spent most of the trip in wonderment about the location of the steering wheel and the cars on the street (especially on two lane roads, when cars were whizzing by our right hand side, in the opposite direction, and in traffic circles/round-a-bouts).
I kept trying to step on the gas/break throughout the trip, too.  It really felt like I was supposed to be driving!
As for the rest of it, I was blown away by the number of rugby fields/pitches (there were a lot) and how they outnumbered soccer/football fields/pitches.  Also, I was surprised by the handful of field hockey fields/pitches and how, in the three days of our trip, we only saw boys playing it.  

The landscape was beautiful (especially the coast along the North Sea) and the countless, rolling hills and glens reminded me of Western Maryland/VA/Shenandoah Valley region of Maryland.  The big difference being that there were churches and castles that were hundreds of years older than the United States all over the place.

Sure, it was mostly windy and grey skies (I, jokingly, told a friend from England that the UK was "as green-grey blobby as I expected"), but it was fitting.  I imagine the place must've been divine in Fall when all the foliage was turning colors and the grey/gloom, with streaks of sun, would be more fitting.  

It was a touch warmer than Norway (and a whopping bit cheaper!), but that goes for most of the earth.  

I had fun (minus the 10 hours it took to get back to back to Oslo on Sunday) and would definitely consider living there.  Though, I think that has more to do with my fondness for Anglophone countries (It's such an awesome feeling when everything happening around you is in your native tongue), lower cost of living, and good whisky than any decided advantages over Norway.

But, for now I'm in Norway and I'm glad...


Fine, jerks... Here's the pictures of me wearing a kilt

Tough guy picture

Playful picture
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