We took a van up to the airport, and we checked in for our Air France flight by an angel or something. We were upgraded to business class. I had never had much of an idea of what traveling business class would entail, but to give a basic description, it entails unbelievable awesomeness. It is, in my opinion, basically what long-distance air travel should be. Our seats were of a comfortable width, with ample leg room. Each seat reclined within its own space, so as not to affect those seated before and behind it. The food was, for the most part, rather excellent.* We were offered orange juice or champagne (or, in the case of those who couldn't make up their minds, both) after we were seated. There was a selection of complimentary wines. There were hot towels. There were extremely attractive male flight attendants. (Honestly, I suspected that they put the most attractive attendants closest to the front.) There were pillows and (sadly, quite scratchy) wool blankets, and little toiletry packets with eye masks and socks and lotion and travel toothbrushes. There were water bottles and little storage spaces for stuff. There were also individual movie screens with a selection of tv shows and movies and music and so on, but I suspect that that is fairly standard on international red-eye flights. I watched The Karate Kid remake and Inception, not in that order. The first was quite enjoyable, but I'm not going to try to argue that it was extremely high quality. I thought Inception (which I also hadn't seen) was fantastic, but after discussing it with Sara, I will admit that a lack of depth was covered up with interesting ideas like multi-level dreams. Still, I loved it, with the one exception of the stupid "oh, is it still spinning? Will it stop?" top totem shot at the end. I thought that part was a little bit stupid and unnecessary.
Anyway, I'll probably never get to travel business class again, but trust me: I savored every single moment of it.
I managed to stay perky and upbeat through our cab ride to the hotel and a bit of our tea with Sara and Ami and Brian, and then I started to crash. And then I started to get a bit irritable. And then I started to get downright angry. (This tends to happen when I don't sleep enough before leaving for a trip, and then I don't sleep on the trip, and then people tell me that I'm not even allowed to nap until nightfall.) I quietly and rather passive-agressivly ditched the giving-Sara-and-Brian-Christmas-gifts party and went and, dammit, took a nap in my room anyway. What was evidently only fifteen minutes later I felt about 60% more human, and barely conscious enough to talk myself into accompanying everyone on a stroll around the city and the Royal Mile, on the bases that 1. you only get a first day in Scotland once, and 2. Ami's visit only overlapped ours by about 24 hours. I wandered around, 15 feet behind the group, in a near-stupor with an utterly dazed expression on my face for what seemed like days. I watched the hours slide glacially past with mounting horror and a vague sense of panic. Eventually, miraculously, evening came, and I slept. I was late for breakfast (possibly I didn't sleep well? Can't remember), and sat down about five minutes before Ami left to catch her cab. We (Ami, Sara, Brian, and myself) had all spent some time together the previous night in the bar**, though, so it wasn't a total loss. We spent most of our time in Edinburgh wandering the Royal Mile, which is the mile-long (or so I gather) stretch of road connecting Edinburgh castle with the Scottish Parliament and the Queen's castle. It's pretty touristy, but it's nice. We met a schoolteacher who evidently uses his free time to dress up as William Wallace, take pictures with tourists, and flash unsuspecting bystanders with a view of the royal lion tattoo on his right buttcheek. We toured the castle, explored some shops, ate a lot of truly excellent food, and went to the Keilidh (pronounced kay-lee) at Hogmanay, which was excellent. These people know how to do fireworks, and even if the main band conspicuously lacked a fiddler, I loved the dancing.
After Edinburgh (which, I admit, was better and more eventful than I am letting on, but you're getting shafted because I'm tired and lazy) we went to Dundee to visit Sara and Brian's apartment and stomping grounds for a night. Their flat is enormous, and quite nice, even if the alley outside is loud. Very loud. I was struck with a strong urge to stay and live with them. I miss Sara a lot. :o/ All of their favorite restaurants were closed (as we should have forseen, as we were visiting on bank holidays), but we made out alright. The next morning, that being yesterday morning, we took off for a brief visit to St. Andrews and a very sleepy drive to Gullane, which is where I now sit typing.
Scotland is beautiful.
The dollar seems far less awesome when visiting the EU, as the euro (not used here) and the GBP rather effectively cut my purchasing power nearly in half.
AMERICAN SCONES WTF. Don't eat that crap. Come to Scotland and try these.
If you aren't careful, random Indian men may or may not try to make out with you at Hogmanay.
Australians, forever underscoring the excellent rating they already have in my head, carry breath mints at Hogmanay.
Get upgraded to business class if at all possible.
Scots like thistles.
I am going to bed.
*In all fairness, I should probably note here that I almost never have problems with airline food.
**And when I say "bar," I mean a beautifully furnished and well-spaced set of rooms with an open floor plan, couches, and rather attractive*** bartenders.
***Don't judge me.