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October 5, 2005

Man! There’s just so much to tell about. This really is something, to quote Monty Python, “Completely different.” Well, in sort of a familiar way. I mean it’s like a picture of “normal life”, but overlaid on life that’s “not so normal”. Part of it’s city life. You know I’m a country boy. But I‘ve been to San Francisco. I know City!

Take churches, for instance. I’ve seen a lot of churches in my day, and a lot of them have spires. But not spires like these. They’re huge. Even the little ones. I wish I'd had a wide enough lens to show you that this is just a little street corner church. One of many. As it was I couldn't include both the cross on the steeple and the ground.

You’d think these folks had some sort of phallic phixation. But then just when you think that, you remember the thing about the control tower at Houston. Now that’s phallic. Especially when you compare it to the Glasgow airport’s tower. I didn’t have my camera out for either, so you’ll have to do with my description. Glasgow's is this tiny four-story building which about as wide as it is tall.

And the airport itself absolutely amazed me. Glasgow is obviously a big city, I think, but when we first landed, it seemed about the size of the airport in Idaho Falls. Then as we got closer, I realized it’s more the size of Boise’s, but that’s still tiny for a metro area that probably has more people than the state of Idaho.

Maureen’s roommate tells me the big box stores are making inroads here, too, but I really enjoy seeing all the little shops selling everything you can imagine. And when I say little, I mean little.

Kember & Jones Fine Food Emporium, which is the tiny sandwich shop where Maureen works is maybe 20 feet wide by 60 feet deep. And the kitchen takes up the back 20 feet, but there’s a mezzanine over that area which is where people who want to sit are served. There are also a few seats out on the street. The place is packed with people and all sorts of cooking ingredients and items for sale. And, she informs me, there is a trap door behind the counter where they store a lot of other things.

Another place, a fishmonger’s is maybe 10 feet wide by I couldn’t see more than 20 feet deep with a fruit and vegetablemonger right next door. They share a tiny vestibule with separate doors to each place. And all the fish are laid out side by side and quite unpackaged before they are chosen and bought.

Look at the price on that corn! I think that's about 70 cents an ear. I think it was 4 for a dollar in Idaho Falls last week.

Whoa, by the way, right-hand drive isn’t limited to their cars. The toilets are right-hand drive as well. I never heard of such a thing. Never even imagined it. Just stood up and reached left but there was no handle.

Not far from Maureen’s apartment is a teeny, tiny comic store specializing in Dr. Who and friends. As I was coming by just about closing time, I noticed that the clerk was lying on the floor behind the counter reading a book. I thought it was probably just because it was late and there were no customers. Next morning I was telling Maureen about it as we approached and there he was again. The only difference seemed to be that he was much more perky in the morning sitting almost straight up relative to the hard day he must have had the day before that had him slouching almost prone.

Speaking of towers, the University has a great one, too.

The first night we went to a chamber music concert at the University. It was really quite wonderful.

This craggy face belonged to a fellow sophisticate at the concert.

As I listened to Mozart, I became aware of a similar initiation to University life that I had in 1963 at the University of Santa Clara. A string quartet playing in De Saisset Art Museum was one of the first events I attended there also. It was wonderful, too. In those days, the University had more control over its environment, in the sense that there was a champagne reception afterwards, which could never happen now, at least not in California. Or Idaho. I’d never had champagne before. I’d never even had beer before my new roomie, the worldly-wise Jeddy Prietto introduced me to it at the now-defunct Nimitz Auto Movies.

Anyway, it tasted real good. The champagne, I mean. It went down entirely too easily and came back up entirely too hard. It’s enough to make you think maybe I have learned something since those days. After all my Glaswegian roommates didn’t have to clean up after me, like my good friend and faithful roommate did back in “the day.”

I wonder what Lord Kelvin would say to that. “It gets mighty chilly sometimes hereabouts.” Didn’t he invent Absolute Zero? Or was that Absolut Vodka?

I guess we’ll have to settle for Single Malt Scotch Whiskey around here.

There's so much more, but bye for now!