Sat, 21 Jun 2003 03:09:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bethany
Subject: greetings from Glasgow

hi everyone.

didn't have access to any internet for a while now. well, there was a lone computer at a chips place on the Isle of Skye, but the proprietor was charging 99p for 15 minutes, which was internet extortion (not to mention he was charging 10p for each packet of ketchup).

so the Isle of Skye has come and gone. i really wished i could've stayed longer, because it was an amazing, beautiful place. words don't really do it justice. we ended up tooling around in the rental vans for most of the time we were there, because there's really no other way to get anywhere (there is a bus system, though). first night i was here we hiked up to the ruins of this old castle. the view from up there was amazing, though we didn't stay long, because of the midges (probably the most annoying gnats on the planet).

wednesday we went to Portree, the largest town on Skye (coming in at a couple thousand people, if that), and there were lots of cute little shops there. we also went to this overlook called Kiltrock, which was probably the highlight of my stay at Skye.

it's this overlook out to the ocean, with railings that protect you from a 60 foot drop off. the railings have little holes in them, so whenever the wind blows, there's a constant soft, high pitched whistle chorus. and the i have NEVER been in wind like this, it was literally blowing me off my feet, and it was constant, never ceasing. the wind is so strong that it makes watching the water fascinating, because the wind actually blows around on the surface of the water, making the water all white and frothy.

the second day at Skye, we tooled around some more, stopped at a couple places to buy wool and various garments. the handknit sweaters and shawls are beautiful here, in most cases the wool was taken directly from the sheep that were grazing everywhere. the one guy whose shop we went into was handspinning, and i couldn't stop watching him. it's fascinating watching this huge puff ball of wool turn into yarn so easily and with so little technology. i bought a really cute hat and also a couple small skeins of wool to try my own hand at knitting. hopefully i can get a hat or something out of it.

the hotel we stayed in at the Isle of Skye was really nice, probably the best place we've stayed in so far. they had an amazing breakfast every morning - the real Scottish breakfast, which includes ham, mushrooms, sausage and eggs, not to mention toast and jam and cereal and about five different kinds of juice. the village we stayed in was called Kyleakin, and it was tiny, with a total of three places to eat, which made the decisions easy.

yesterday was the long drive to Glasgow, and we settled in our hostel. The hostel is okay, kind of grungy, but there's a bathroom en suite, which is nice. i just try not to walk on the floor barefoot.

last night we went to Glasgow School of Art's degree show opening. i have to say that compared to Dundee's degree show, i was disappointed. with the ceramics, especially. first of all, all the wheel thrown stuff looked the same. all the sculptural work looked the same. and nearly all of it was made out of porcelain, and nearly all of it i squinted at and thought, "didn't i just see that in Ceramics Monthly?"

it's kind of making me rethink the notion that i was entertaining in the past few weeks, that i want to go to grad school in the UK. maybe not...

as for the rest of show, it was up and down in quality in much the same way. it was also insanely crowded, and there was beer and wine everywhere (which was nice).

we had a bit of a nosh at Pizza Hut (i know, how pathetic is that), and then went to this bar called The State, which Jim (one of the Glasgow's faculty) had recommended. the place was cool, very cool, but i was not feeling well and didn't drink that much. i wanted to leave but felt weird about walking home to the hostel in an unfamiliar city at night. so i waited til last call (which was only, still, at 12), and then escorted my seriously inebriated friends home.

woke up this morning feeling like shite. i need to get some medicine. a redeeming quality of the hostel (and really, one of the few) is that the showers are very hot and with lots of water pressure (which is what i'm used to at home in my shower). so that's nice. it seems like a small cold, mostly in my head, making me dizzy. hopefully i'll get over it soon.

well, now that i've written you all a novel, i shall depart. internet is fairly accessible here, so i should be back to writing more regularly.

til then, friends and loves,

ps. the to-do over the new Harry Potter book was amazing. there were tons of people lined up outside of every bookstore. makes me glad i was not at Borders.

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