Vacation shenaningans

I know I’ve had time off work before, but this time I actually left my house and slept in a hotel for two nights. This was a real vacation. This is what I consider a vacation, time off from my life, in a new place, eating food that is not cooked by myself, not washing dishes, not making my bed, oh wait, I rarely make my bed nowadays, anyway… I visited Inverness. Actually, while I’m writing this I am still in Inverness, luckily for me in my hotel room, because there was a small chance of that not happening. There were a few fuck-ups during this whole planning and execution, and well, while I am posting this the trip is not done, so fingers crossed nothing else happens. Let me tell you the whole story.

Why Inverness? Not because I am a fan of Outlander, that series has lost me after the first two seasons, but because a friend of mine is doing a Scottish tour on a motorcycle, and he had a two days stop in Inverness so he invited me to join him and his friend. What was I to do, say no? It’s Inverness, it’s in the North and it is beautiful. So, there I was, booking myself a hotel and waiting for the day to come. A few days before, while preparing for the drive, I realized the train takes just as much as if I drove by car, and it was acceptably priced, and I did not need to find and pay parking for it and I had the occasion to do some work, because I have two chapters to review. So, I booked myself a train ticket. Deciding to go by train was the first fuck-up, only I did not know it yet.

Anyway, the day comes, I leave my house in order and get on the train. I start the work, while randomly looking at the window mesmerized by how beautiful Scotland is. I get some work done, but I was having trouble keeping my eyes open, and so I sleep for 2 hours out of the 3 hours trip. Good job Iuliana, you have been very productive! Here’s the thing, I haven’t been on a train in years, like more than 10, and I forgot that the gentle swaying of the train is the best sleeping pill for me.  So yeah, I slept like a baby.

I then arrive in Inverness, meet my friends and after finding a pub to enjoy a pint we start talking and my friend mentions that only 3 hours before meeting with me he remembered why it was important for me to drive there. He wanted me to go with the group, to see some places next to Lock Ness and Ness River.  I remember then the past conversations I had with him, before I even booked the hotel and yup… I agreed to that and looking forward to it, then I just… forgot. So did he. So there I was, with some wrecked plans that I forgot having. I was content with spending the day on my own honestly, just walking like crazy and enjoying this beautiful city. The second day, they did their thing, while I walked up and down the river until my feet hurt. At the end of my stroll I found a second-hand bookshop and I just teleported in and out one hour later with a book with Churchill’s speeches in my hand. I swear to you, if I would have driven  there I would have left that magical place with a lot of books and a card a few hundred pounds lighter.

My friends come back, we have lunch and then we wanted to go to the botanical gardens. While on our way we realized, botanical gardens were closing at 5 pm, so there was no chance of us making it, nor being able to see anything. And so we decided to go to the Tomnahurich Cemetery Hill. As its name says, it is a cemetery on a hill. The cemetery is huge and so is the hill, vertically speaking. No problem, here is the chance to burn the heavy lunch we had. So we get on top, enjoy the view while having various conversations, taking a few pictures, when three teenagers arrive. One of my guys jokes that we stole the smoking place of the poor kids. No, not cigarettes. After 10 minutes, the kids get frustrated and leave. Ten minutes after them we do the same on the same route they took down. And yes, it appears we did take the kids’ smoking place, and they were forced to smoke their blunt while going downhill. All three of us knew how marijuana smelled like, but one of the guys was convinced that those kids have a marijuana plant somewhere. Apparently, if you find a private spot, you can plant one and it can thrive out in the open, even in gloomy Scotland, and all those movies stressing about how much energy is needed and the sensitivity of the plant, are only showing what you need to do when you grow it illegally in places where natural light and proper air and hydration is not an option. So there we were, going downhill and investigating every hidden path through the wilderness of the cemetery hill in search of the elusive Scottish marijuana plant in the wild. No we did not smoke anything and all three of us are in our 40s. There is nothign weird about what we were doing. Don’t worry we gave up after about 15 minutes.

We went and had a few more pints, then we split and went to our hotels. I enter mine, through the side door, because there is nobody at reception after 10 pm, I was told so on my first day. I climb the stairs to my room and put the card in … and I see the red led blinking. You know what this means right? My card was de-magnetized. How the fuck that happened between the entrance door and my room door I have no idea. I panicked; my heart started beating faster. My eyes were watery, what was I to do? I look around the reception desk, no emergency number for a situation like this. Only 999 was recommended for any real emergency. I sat in the chair. I considered sleeping in it. It was warm on the hallway, I tried to make myself comfortable on the floor, but the damn light sensors were detecting me and refused to shut off the lights. I went to my door, and I made myself comfortable there. The carpet was fluffy enough, now if I could just drop my heart rate to the sleeping value, that would be great.  I accepted my situation, it was not their fault, and neither was mine. Also, I only had 1% battery on my phone at this point, so calling any help would have been close to impossible.

Unless I was willing to use the reception landline, the phone was on the desk, unprotected within my reach after all. As a matter of fact, so was their computer, and it was unlocked. If I were a person with nefarius intentions I could have done some nefarious things.

30 minutes later, a guy on my floor opens his door and comes on the hallway… he sees me, he stops in his tracks. He asks me what’s wrong, I tell him. And you know who this guy is? He is the chef… and he has a master key. I mean, I know I am lucky but daaamn! So, he tried opening my door. The led goes green, but when he pushes the handle it does not open. My heart sunk. What the fuck? He tries it again, and he puts more strength into it. The door opens; I am saved. I think he is a smoker and he just needed to go outside for a smoke. His vice, the thing that might kill him someday, just saved me from a night sleeping on the floor. Life is surprising.

So here I am, writing this, because I could not wait until I got home; because when I get home, I have two priorities: cleaning the litter boxes and finishing the reviews, because my new pm is freaking out. Which is … understandable.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Stay strong Ukraine! Слава Україні!



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