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17 April 2005

more industrial, if you will

i checked out of the hostel this morning around 9am in order to get to the bus station as soon as they opened at 9:30am. the evening before i'd checked at the train station and it was going to be much less expensive for me to take the bus from oxford to glasgow. i purchased my ticket for 48 pound 99 and was on the road about an hour later. spent most of the day in transit trying not to fall asleep for fear that i'd miss some of the scenery. it started raining lightly about four hours into the eight hour journey and by the time we got into glasgow it was pouring steadily.

the hostel was very similar to a giant hotel. it had ten or so floors and i was staying in a 14 bed room on the ninth floor. i got the impression immediately that this hostel was much more of an assembly line for backpackers... get them in... get them out. the hostel lacked character... the staff wasn't quite as friendly as the staff in oxford... the room not quite as clean. as it turned out, i was the only one staying in the 14 bed room. not bad, i thought... i get the lower rate and still get an entire room to myself.

when i arrive at a new destination i generally like to take a long walk about town to get my bearings, but it was still raining and so i decided to grab a sandwich and call it a night. i'm not sure if it was the rain or the long bus ride, but based on a 20 minute walk from the bus station down to the hostel and a quick half hour walk to get some food, i really wasn't feeling glasgow. to be fair, i just think it's a very different type of city than london or oxford... less tourist friendly... a little grittier... more industrial, if you will. typically that would suit me fine, but at this point in my trip i'm still looking for very picturesque places with very accessible attractions. that may change in the future as i begin to look for more than museums, galleries, and castles.

back at the hostel, two other guests had arrived... one from iowa and one from ireland. the irish gentleman, as it turned out, had missed a train and was only staying for a few hours before the next train left at 5am. the three of us talked for a while and when i mentioned that i was planning to head over to edinburgh and then up to inverness, the irish fellow... i'll call him bob... told me he had an extra ticket up to aberdeen and that he'd sell it to me for far less than he'd paid for it. i told him i wasn't planning to hit aberdeen and he was insistent that i could get the destination changed to edinburgh and then get a giant refund.

me: 'no thank you.'

bob: 'but i can't use this ticket and you'll be saving a lot of money.'

me: 'if i were confident that i could transfer the ticket over, then i'd consider it... if you're sure you can get a refund, why not just get the refund yourself?'

bob: 'because i'm not going to use this ticket.'

me: 'no thanks.'

bob: 'but you'll be saving a lot of money.'

this went on for between five and ten minutes... to the point where i was getting very frustrated and almost raised my voice to tell him to stop... and then i remembered i'd be sleeping in the same room with him. after i finally managed to change the topic to something else, bob mumbled something and handed me the ticket. it wasn't clear whether or not he was just giving it to me or whether he wanted me to think about it some more. i said thank you and just laid the ticket on the floor by my bed and quickly shifted the topic of conversation again before heading to bed.

posted by paul on Sun 17 Apr 2005 at 00:00:00 est (-05:00)

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