A day with Sujai
Edinburgh Travel Blog› entry 18 of 19 › view all entries
Well, there were thoughts of going to church but I lost them somewhere along the way.....Sujai, it turns out, is going to a picnic with his book club. It's a stunningly gorgeous day and they're going to meet outdoors on Calton Hill. I can't resist. I agree to join him.
Another bus, then a trudge up a hill (can you tell I'm tired of walking uphill, wimp that I am??). The day really is unbelievably gorgeous -- blue skies, high puffy white clouds, breezy yet warm. Some people (attempting to) flying a kite. Lots of children. We find another member of the group and wander around for a bit finding the perfect spot in the grass. We would later realize that it was a perfect spot to waken everyone's seasonal allergies but what the heck. It had a view of the castle, Arthurs Seat, the Firth of Forth, and a bit of Old Town.
Over the next 30 minutes or so, the rest of the group arrives. They are mostly grad and post-grad students and a few friends of theirs. Not a one of them Scottish. :) An Austrian, Indian, Canadian, Irishwoman, Australian, German, and two people from England. And me, the token American.
Everyone has brought a bit of food (the Irish woman and her English husband have brought a proper hamper full of food, including a homemade cheesecake!). Meat, cheeses, cakes, breads, spreads, etc. A perfect mix for a perfect summer day. The book -- Three Cups of Tea -- receives a middling review from the crowd (at least those who'd actually read it; this group is as much about the food as the book) and then proceeds to enjoy an afternoon of zany and irreverent conversation about, well, anything and everything else.
By 5, it was time to break camp. Everyone else had things they needed to do. Sujai offered more sightseeing. We strolled around the hilltop checking out the sights -- a defunct observatory, (another) monument to Nelson (which is shaped like an upside-down spyglass), and a half-built copy of the Parthenon. Then we hopped on a bus to take a ride down to the water and have a run through Newtown.
Sujai really is a wonderful tour guide. Easy-going and well-informed, he also genuinely likes living in Edinburgh. He says he can feel at home in most cities but is happy to be able to stay in Edinburgh (because of his studies) a little longer. We hopped off the bus down by the water and then popped into a pub for a pint and a long conversation about religion.
He is a great person to talk to. He's curious and non-judgemental, which makes talking about politics and religion much more fun than it often is. Explaining US culture, especially our politics and religion, to a non-American is an education in itself. I learned a thing or two about my prejudices, assumptions, and holes in my knowledge along the way.
We then returned to the apartment, where he insisted on fixing me dinner. The house was soon filled with the smell of cumin, which practically makes me swoon. The beans and rice were superb.
Then we realized we were both pooped and went to bed!