hAmsterdance in KILTS
Note: Everytime I think I've had a wild night, it gets wilder.
Also Note: while some of the canal boat rides are apparently lovely and romantic and filled with quiet, relaxing views of a watery, dreamy city, ours was not.
Last night we -- the Adobe team -- went on quite a different canal dinner boat. I have one word for this experience: Barf. (Not me, but some did. Queasy, icky icky trip.) Horrid food. Horrid canals. Nasty smells emitting from places you can't see, cuz it's bloody dark. Oh, I was at a table with three Adobe gals from the UK, so my accent is creeping all over the place. And one was from Aberdeen, so it keeps getting broagy too. Anyway, other than the interminable flow of wine, it was pretty awful. The tour guide couldn't be heard over the boat's engines, which might have been just as well, cuz what I did hear was "and notice the bell gables with hooks for lifting furniture. The stairways are too narrow in these houses." Obvious to anyone who has tried to climb to the second floor to eat at an Indian restaurant and had to pretty much go up on hands and feet, and back down backwards !!! Yeah, moving pianos and couches would be murder in this country. But DUH didn't they teach that to everyone in grade school?
We kept joking about doing James Bond stunts and vaulting out of the opening, onto the roof, and bailing at the next low bridge, but of course we didn't and we stuck it out in the stuffy, smokey, loud, boat with tourists who kept eyeing us like we were a species of alien unseen on their planet before. Course, Angie from Aberdeen DOES have 20 peircings in her ears and one in her nose. She's also brilliant and funny and I am very very glad I got to meet her. Oh, one bit the woman with the microphone finally got out was that the canals HAD been in a James Bond flick. Actually, to be fair, Angie and I sat on the back of the boat for bit, where the food prep was done, and watched the houseboats go by. They are really facinating. Some of their interiors are really quite wonderful ! I also liked how they'd added the little wooden decks and porches. One boat had about 8 overstuffed leather armchairs on a large deck, clearly a place for smoking cuban cigars and listening to music...
Finally we were let off the boat -- three painful hours later, and I shouldn't have complained about not seeing prostitues in windows earlier. . . . Seems the boat docks are right near the redlight district. In an effort to get some of our party to the coffeeshops before they closed, we wandered down alleys that I had never seen before. And all the windows were open for business. Well, some curtains were closed, actually, but that's because they were in flagrante delectico, or however you say it politely. So some of the girls were gorgeous, and some weren't. We saw about 15, and the variety was there.
There was a discussion on the sidewalk, and the next thing I knew the whole nine of us ended up going inside a live sex show. We had four gals and five guys, and two of the gals were with their husband and boyfriend. So it was safe to say that it wasn't horrible or anything, They came out into the audience to solicit participation -- no, not THAT -- but if you weren't careful you could be strapped into a dog collar by a domintrix and led around on a chain and then made to strap stuff to your head and . . . I am probably telling you more than you need to know ;-P At one point, they came out into the aisles looking for women to roll play with them. As we were the only group that had any and none of us would go up, we never found out what humiliating ( or ???? ) kind of a time we would have been in for. Everything was way too choreographed to be really offensive....in fact perhaps it was an improvement over that damn boat -- and I will never be able to hear "Enigma" in quite the same way again. Oh . . . and I'd like to see how the instigator writes it off on his expense report :)
So after a long day at the show, I am heading home by tram, and hear this commotion at the stop as I am trying to get off just then, to transfer to the tram that takes me to the hotel. And on gets about 7 or 8 cute guys wearing some kind of soccer tshirts with -- get this --> KILTS and sporan and the whole shebang! They asked if I was really going to leave. ... and I had to think a moment. Damn, and me without my camera just then ! They were quite a picture.
The Developer Conference for Batnip (codename for the now released After Effects 4.1 ) went well. Quickly but well... Bruce mostly gave a presentation, as opposed to our usual hands-on classrooms with full engineering and mareketing content. But they got a feel for the new API and some of what they gain by writing plug-ins for our products.
It's now Wednesday evening, September 15th and I am currently sitting in the kitchen of a house in a village called Tillicoutry, outside of Stirling, which is a village outside of Edinburgh, and where Eve and her husband Chris have me as a guest in their home. And what a home it is !!! Eve said nothing to prepare me for the amazing Victorian 5 bedroom mansion they have been working on for four years. It's incredible -- the ceilings are amazing confections of gothic arches, or vaulted barrels, trimmed in ornate carved and painted and gilt, and the carpets are original, as is some of the wallpaper, and there are these enormous gilt-framed mirrors everywhere, and of course marble fireplaces. It's completely fairy tale.
Eve and I finally got off a miserable and delayed flight at around 6, and drove around Stirling to see it's castle, and the main attraction -- the monument to Wallace. There is even this crazy statue some local did of Mel Gibson as Wallace in front of the huge gothic towering Wallace monument -- and there's this plaque in front commemorating the unveiling of the statue which commemorates Wallace -- or rather, the movie Braveheart which the locals revere as bringing back their hero to popularity. The light was perfect -- the Trossachs and Ochills bound up from the softer rolling fields and pastures to tower over the villages. The sunset was hitting them all just right. Then we trotted back to her house for a bit of laundy.
We've just gone off to a pub for dinner. I was expecting something greasy and just enough to keep me from keeling over dead of hunger.... what we got was a low-ceilinged ancient pub with rafters and all, serving four-star gourmet cuisine borrowed from all over the globe. Eve had an amazing Thai chicken, Chris had a venison and mushroom sausage plate, and I had this chicken stuffed with olive and sun-dried tomato tampenade. Course the ale was really pub-style, and local to the area.... but it was not at all what I had expected for a dining experience out in the pastoral Scottish highlands.
So tomorrow I am in the Adobe Edinburgh office all day -- working, yes . . . And don't expect any more hijinx. . . I am so tired I can barely stand...
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