Monday, October 08, 2001

New City, New Country

New City, New Country
We arrived at Waverley Station, Edinburgh, Scotland, by 6:00 pm. At the advise of the guesthouse owner here, we were going to take a taxi for what would have been a 20 minute walk to the guesthouse. We think we may have thought we had more luggage than we did. We stopped at a bank machine to get cash. After I took out 200 pounds, the machine rudely stated that my banking institution denied a request for further funds. That put me into a panic. Why would that happen? Holy cow, we will have to live on credit for the rest of the year. Something happened to our funds. My mind went into a tailspin. Ron was nonchalant. Then I realized that our bank had a $300 maximum withdrawal per day. With the exchange rate, the 200 pounds had put us close to the $300 limit. That did not stop my mind from doing somersaults that would continue to future tales of doom. There is nothing I could do about it tonight. Stay in the moment. Stay in the moment.
To our surprise, the owner of this B & B was pleasant and cheerful. He brought us into the kitchen and said that the kitchen was always open and we were to help ourselves to whatever was there. Merlin, the manager would be available in the morning and have breakfast spread out. Breakfast was served from 9:00 am to noon. If we wanted something earlier or later, we were welcome to help ourselves. He explained that there was always cakes and wrapped cookies on the counter for the guests and we should make ourselves at comfortable. He then showed us to our room with the shared bath and apologized that the bath on our floor had a plumbing problem and we would need to use the bath on the first floor for a few days. The room is a comfortable size, but that bathroom is certainly going to be missed doing the night. There is a fireplace that is blocked off and decorated with dried flowers, a double bed, two small dressers and polished wood floors. There is no phone and the television only gets four channels. However, we are paying 39 pounds a night versus 79 pounds in London. To add more value, since we paid cash for five nights, we are getting two nights free. That is quite a difference and we can live without a private shower or phone. Martin, the owner, had no problems with me plugging my laptop in and working on the kitchen table. He then gave us a map to the area, suggested some bars and restaurants and left us to our own devises.
The bank notes here are from the Bank of Scotland. Martin told us that the Bank of Scotland received permission to print its own money in 1793 and have done so since. English pounds are also viable forms of cash and the coins are the same throughout Great Britain. The exchange rate is the same, not great.
We decided to explore Edinburgh, at least the neighborhood that we would call home for the next seven days. We went to a pub called Planet Out for a beer. The people were friendly and welcoming. Martin did not know about Internet cafes, so I grilled the bartender, who seemed young enough to care to know. He had his own and did not invite me to use it, so I was stuck continuing my search. We then wandered around until it was time to eat dinner or go back and call it a night. I could have done either, but Ron wanted food. We settled on an Italian restaurant for a quick pasta meal, then walked the short distance to our new adopted home for what I had hoped would be a wonderful nights sleep. Don’t think about the money machine. Ron is out like a light without a second thought. For me, the mantra swimming in my mind is “Don’t worry about the money machine. Just don’t worry about it.”
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