Well,

 I’ve made it back to the US. In fact I’m writing this from home in Montana. It’s good to be home. I thought I would take just a moment and make some observations while they are still fresh in my mind.

  • Customer service in the US may be a lot more shiny and slick, but it sucks in comparison to the Scot’s.  There is a feeling of trueness with the Scot’s that’s completely missing with US service. If you ever doubt this, buy a beer in any establishment in the US then buy a beer in any Pub in Scotland.
  • If you get to know someone running a Pub or Hotel enough they might finally fess up to the fact that they don’t really like Americans much. And it has nothing to do with politics. It’s just that as Americans we are, as a majority, pushier and more demanding. A good example of this was a discussion I had about Senator Edwards. They were told he would be “High Maintenance” but not that he was a complete and pompous prick. Oh the stories they told about him!
  • This may not be true of other areas outside of Midlothia, but, in areas we would consider as “Bad Neighborhoods” the people were all very friendly and outgoing.  I looked at a bunch of houses in some questionable areas and never had any problems at all.
  • The drivers in Scotland may appear to be absolutely mad as hatters. But, as I approached the 900 mile mark in my driving I actually began to realize that in the UK they drive in a much more fluid and adjustable way than we do here in the US. It’s not uncommon to have to stop and wait for cars to pass in the other lane because someone has parked on the road and it’s now too narrow for two cars to pass. This is no big deal, it’s just part of driving, and once you get used to it, it’s nothing.
  • Round-A-Bouts. Oh the horror, the inhumanity! That is till you get used to them. They are a very efficient way of handling merging traffic. Probably better than the Stop Lights we have here in the US. At first they are a complete terror. Then only a bit nerve racking, and finally nothing big at all and you can normally just roar on through.
  • Almost complete lack of fast food places. I think this is one of the things that will take the most to get used to. If you want to go out for a quick bite, you’re pretty much stuck going to the local Pub, Hotel, or sit down restaraunt. There are very few Cafe’s and almost no other places to eat.
  • Coffee. Oh I missed my coffee! As someone who grew up in the Seattle area, I like my pot of coffee every morining. Now, in Scotland, I could only get, ready yourself. Instant coffee, Americano’s, coffee from tea style bags, and from some sort of strainer system. This is unacceptable behavior. This is inhumane! I’ll definitely have to fix this when I get over there permanently.
  • You have no idea of how old something might be. It’s not uncommon to sit in a pub that has a 700+ year history. Then sit in the next pub down the road and find out it was built in the 1900’s. Old is nothing there.
  • History. The history of the place is absolutely amazing. You can’t spit without hitting somewhere where “Mary Queen of Scots” was, or where so  and so wrote a book, or was hanged, or formed a revolt, or held off an English seige for six months.
  • Toys. In the US it’s not uncommon to have a friend with a boat, a 4 wheeler, a snow machine, etc. In Scotland it’s not like that. I’m still trying to figure it out, but it seems that the Scots just don’t spend money on those kinds things. At least not as a majority.

Well, those are just a few of the hundreds if not thousands of little things I noticed on my two week run through Scotland. It’ll be fun to get back and learn more about the society there.

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