Alright. I'm here in Scotland. I haven't done any sort of archaeology so far, so there's nothing interesting to report, but you do get to read about crazy travels! It's obligatory. You can't get away writing a blog about traveling without the whole "flying sucks" post. So, here it is. Sorry...
So, I started off in PDX, showing up two and a half or three hours ahead of my flight time, etc. etc. But my passport won't scan for some reason, so I have to wait in a mile long line (exaggeration). So, I wait a really long time, get everything figured out and get on the plane, eventually. And then the flight starts...
It's something like a nine and a half hour flight from PDX to Amsterdam. That is a HELL of a long flight! Seriously. And the space they give you for your feet is insane. I'm not a very claustrophobic person, but I seriously thought I was going to go insane. I took, like, three naps and read half of my book and thought that I must be quite a ways into the flight, maybe an hour and a half left or so, but no. I had six and a half hours left! I was going straight up mad. The crying babies didn't help at all. I seriously don't understand why some people fly with their kids. There was a constant wail of children all throughout the flight. The parents didn't seem to mind it one bit. I did. The kids took shifts to make sure that there wasn't a single moment of silence. Awesome.
So, I got to the Amsterdam airport, finally, at about what would be 11:00 pm in Oregon. We taxied for, like, 20 to 30 minutes. No joke. It seemed like we landed somewhere else in town and he had to drive us to the airport. We just kept going! So, finally off the airplane and I just wanted a coffee and somewhere to sit. The coffee was like water, and apparently they lock up any waiting areas until just before the flight is boarding. So, I sat on a table at the end of a hallway with a 65 year old lady with ADD. She kept talking to me while I was trying to read, but I never once understood what she said. Whatevs. I just smiled and tried to interpret what I think was Spanish. So, two hours of this later, we get on the plane for Edinburgh.
Again, CONSTANT wail of children! People, tell your kids to shut up! One baby, though cute, decided that making noises was the best thing ever, so between fits of crying he would just let out minute long cries of... joy? Or something. However cute that may seem, it was nearing 2:00 in the morning in Oregon and my nerves were wearing a bit thin with children. So, we get into Edinburgh after a comparatively quick flight (thank god) and we have to go through customs and such. Which I'm stopped at because I don't have any proof of why I'm in the country. Score. Good job, Alex. I have E-mails from my field director, but I didn't print them out or anything. They're not, like, legally binding. Whatever. The guy told me to look them up online. However, I can't get online, so eventually he just lets me through and says to make sure I have them next time. Flying sucks.
Finally, FINALLY, I'm in Edinburgh. I get a taxi and shoot for the hostel. I'm tired and weary and just kinda want a nap. However, it's only noon here and the hostel doesn't check people in until 3:00. So I lug my giant backpack, with all my tools and boots and random archaeological stuff, around town for three hours. Not an easy task. I just kinda meandered around town, checking out where stuff was. The castle is right outside the hostel I'm staying at, which is amazing. I'm saving that until I come back here for the third week, however. Finally, I get to go to the hostel, where I crash for a few hours.
I wake up, deciding that it was time for dinner and wandered out into the town again. I went around town, looking at different pubs, but they were all packed to the gills, without any place to sit and have a meal. So eventually I stumbled into what I assume was an old church. It had a theatre in it and a bar as well. So I bought a ticket for the next play that was showing, not really caring what it was, and went in to have a beer. I didn't order a beer, however, but an Irish cider. Totally thought it was beer and was quite surprised when it tasted completely different. Anyway, I digress. The show started and it was so good!! It was called Scary Gorgeous. It was mostly just two women on stage with a live band. The band was sort of involved in the acting (becoming patrons at a bar as well as the members of a band that the two women sang in), but they were mostly just mood music, expressing the emotions of the characters toward each other. The music was super good, as well. There was some awesome dance interludes that were really amazing to watch, though I'm not sure if I really enjoyed the dances that were supposed to be stylized sex or something. But yeah! Just out of the blue, I stumbled upon a really good show.
So, that was my first day in Scotland. Currently, I'm sitting here in the hostel, trying to write this out before my time expires on the internet card. Today has really just been lazy. I've just been reading, drinking coffee and searching for internet access. Pretty exciting. Tomorrow I meet up with the group that's doing the dig and heading up to Aberdeenshire. I'll try to keep you all updated as well as make sure that I have some sort of internet connection. We'll see!