September 6, 2005

Scotland Chronicles Day 1 – August 20 - Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Stephen and I departed from Houston August 19 via Continental Airlines which tantalized our tastebuds with authentic prison food on the flight. But the seats were comfy. We transferred at London Gatwick, which is the Las Vegas of airport terminals: lights flashing, sounds blaring, signs pointing, and immigration lines. We finally made it to Edinburgh at 9am and ventured to Stephen’s parents’ house in our giant diesel rental car that cost us one month’s rent. I had my one and only heart attack in the first roundabout. Stephen nearly had a meltdown and lost his cool when I screamed that we were about to die. So, I promised then and there to look the other way, suspend my disbelief and be thankful that at least if I was going to die it was in the car with my husband and not some stranger.

We arrived at Stephen’s folks to find that my parents and both grandmothers were making themselves comfortable. They had arrived a few hours earlier. Grammie and Grandma, who were treated to business class seats by my parents, looked great. They were a bit upset by the trip saying that they could barely sleep because they had so much food service their bellies were uncomfortably full. No sympathy from me. They flew Continental too but had the gourmet experience.

Eventually we packed everyone into Stephen’s rental car and trekked over to the B&B that would be their home for the next 10 days. The Avenue Hotel is beautiful and conveniently located just 10 minutes from the castle and city center. It was an ideal location and the owners, Jackie and Adrian, must have been angles in a previous life. Living with our kin isn’t easy, but is certainly never boring. They hosted the grands, mom and dad, my sister Marlene and brother-in-law Mandeep with full smiles.

The first evening my folks treated me and Stephen to see the Edinburgh Military Tattooat the castle. What an adventure. An hour prior to the performance ticket purchasers gathered on the Royal Mile to await entry into the castle’s esplanade for the show. It was a mass of happy Scots, a few were quite happy and my mom got to know one rather large bloke a bit too intimately. He kept rubbing his giant beer/whisky belly on her back. I don’t think he realized that he was giving her the freakish massage because he was two sheets to the wind and he was rubbing his belly like a giant bloated cat.

Having no preconceived notion of what to expect at this performance I was somewhat surprised by all the guns. Maybe the name should have given it away, military. My mother scored the best seat on the house, first row next to the castle. Her photos are amazing. The photograph shown here is from the Tattoo’s official website. I didn’t take any photos because I was certain they wouldn’t allow it – but in this time of cell phones with cameras photography is for the masses. During the fireworks finale I noted that instead of lighters being held up by the crowd the dots of light throughout the stadium were cell phone cameras being pointed at the action.