I will miss the vegetable shops and the tasteless salt of this place. As well as the friends I have met, the ones I relate the city with. And of course, I will miss the bacon there is all over the place.
When I started writing this I was leaving my flat, now I am in another day, travelling from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, well far away from grey Edinburgh. The day I was leaving, I was sitting in front of the window, listening to Opeth, staring at Arthur’s Seat, waiting for things to unfold.
Edinburgh has been a good city to live in… the cold weather, the rain and inclement wind have shown me another point of view, other than sunny and dry León. The people in here as well are made to stand these harsh conditions, conditions that suck all colours off your skin. These people are in general happy (even though I heard from Jamie they can be alcoholic-depressive… because of the greyness), they like to drink by gallons and shout a lot, have quite good sense of humor; tough people I would say… and very white –almost transparent-. People that like to swear, and so do I, so I liked them.
For nearly two years this place became my home, and you could say I put my heart there, but now it is somewhere else, and the place no longer feels like home. Movement seems more appealing and the pursuit of newness drives me away, into the I-don’t-know-what’s-going-to-happen.
The city has got lots of things to offer, to the world in general, culture wise, all the old structures, architecture and habits of people, the castle at the top of the hill, and the never ending pubs and herds of people coming to visit and feed this space with their energy.
And then there is the festival, every August, bringing people from all over the world, joining shows, offering teachings, performing on the street. In this time of the year it is not uncommon to find a violinist playing while walking on a string hanging from two trees. The festival is mostly full of comedy shows, many of them, all over the city, but also theatre, music, street performers, painting, and other shapes of art; if you look thoroughly you could find a place like the SummerHall, where fine arts, music, coffee and other installations meet, all within an old medical school, which gives an energy of oldness and nostalgia to the things seen there.
Now, my theory about the festival is that it has become so big and important only over a long period of time, and to me this seems to be a very old tradition. Only the festival took shape and organization, and new managers, but the gathering of people in this place of earth must be quite old. I take it is because of the wet (more than usual) season and the harvest of mushrooms, that would have caused a big and drunken celebration, lasting for many days, and dragging people from increasingly distant places .
Another theory I have about this place is that the weather is so bad there, that it has encouraged two totally opposite kind of human development, both driven by the same reason, hiding from the ever annoying rain-wind combo. One is the elevation of human spirit and intellect, development and creativity, as a response to having nothing to do but read, write, draw, think, create, play sports to warm yourself up, etc. Edinburgh is an artistic and vibrant city, just as the wallpaper on the airport states. Hence the big number of artists, writers, thinkers and scientists this nation has produced. I am not sure is proportionally this might be even larger than in England.
The other face of this development, unfortunately, is the frustration this weather might produce, when people then seek refuge in other intense activities such as drinking, fighting, drug consumption and more. There is a big part of the population, swarming junkies all over the place, entire generations of people devoted to destroy whatever they are, built upon social benefits and synthetic tastes. Any fan of zombies’ imagery would be very happy in this place, I am telling you.
The social benefits, that is another thing, Edinburgh is said to be the cradle of Capitalism and all this economic crisis we witness today. All thanks to Adam Smith, another brain born in the Athens of the north. These benefits, product of the socialism that is bragged so much about, are to my point of view a big reason of the sickening of society, letting people be useless crap and unproductive, just supporting them without any questioning, providing money and housing for their drug habits, keeping them quiet and happy, easy to control.
Many things happen in Edinburgh, many things you learn and many people you meet. During this time I was there, I think mostly because of my mother tongue, I meet an impressive amount of Spaniards; the cultural collision was of highly nourishing consequences, broadening my vocabulary, and sharing my mexicanities to the people I came to associate with.
By looking at this migratory phenomenon, you understand the movements of population around the globe, following the economic crisis, or running from it, and from their own countries, after a better chance of getting what has been sold to them as happy lives, happy money. Nevertheless we know this money is not the solution, happiness lies in siestas and fiestas, doesn’t it?. And so it is, thousands of Spaniards and Poles in the city, you see them everywhere, we (Spanish speakers) end up mixing a lot with the polish speakers, such an interesting mixture.
More important migration I saw with all the Poles arriving at this city as well. And so it seems is not just to here, but to the rest of the well wealthy places people can go to. So I read about this very powerful culture moving towards places such as Germany, Scandinavia, the States and pretty much anywhere you can go to in order to generate money. I heard from the Lithuanians, if all the Poles living abroad came back to their country, there would be no space for all of them… of course this is just bullshit, but it states the impression about the migration.
Then, the summer in Scotland… there is not such a thing. There are a couple of sunny days in between May and September, let’s say about 3 weeks of sun and warm weather, if you put all of those days together. On the other hand, it is never that cold in here, or so it seems. Although the winter of 2010-2011 registered the lowest temperatures in the past decades, lots of snow and amusing landscape.
Maybe a brief mention of the language and the accent. Of course you come to Scotland and expect the accent to be the hardest possible of the entire English speaking world; well it is. Quite comparable with the Australians, fuck I struggled to understand those two sometimes. The good thing about the Scottish English is that I got to use the “r” ‘s in almost the very same phonetic way as I do when I say carton in Spanish.
It is almost always raining in Scotland, in Edinburgh in particular, where I lived. The good thing is: the rain is never hard, so you get to not worry about the rain paralyzing your life, or about having or not an umbrella, and in fact, the rain can even be a bit refreshing.