Glasgow, My Door Into Scotland
Glasgow, my first point in Scotland. It gives the first impression for me on Scotland, the second country in Europe I will cycle after Iceland. Took me 3 hours of flight from Keflavik Airport in Iceland to reach Glasgow. Upon arriving, I got stucked at the immigration for almost half an hour, asking me soo many questions. But the officer was really nice to me. Even tho she held me for half an hour, her tone was calm. After everything cleared, a friend of mine, Reena, was waiting for me at the airport, a Malaysian who has been living here in Glasgow for many years and we used to stay in the same neighbourhood. Her elder brother, Khairul, used to be a close friend of mine back in the school days in Sri Hartamas. She introduced me with her colleague, a local Scottish guy, Tom, who speaks very thick Scottish accent which I hardly understand at first, since the only time I heard their accent was only in the movie Braveheart. I then wanted to reply him with very thick Russian accent that the Kyrgyz taught me hehe, but after a few minutes, I can slowly catch up with his thick accent. I find it interesting, a few hours ago, I was so used to Icelandic way of speaking English, which is totally different, and now, the world suddenly turned upside down for me.
It was early in the morning when I arrived Glasgow, so we decided to go for a coffee. And the first thing I really wanted to know was the price of the coffee in Scotland. I wanted to know the price of everything in Scotland. It was really good to know that prices in Scotland are way cheaper than Iceland! And I felt better that I actually had to take off my jacket since it was warm! The distance between Iceland and Scotland isn’t so much different yet here in Glasgow is much warmer! Scotland is also sitting on the same latitude of Kamchatka Region of Siberia but the weather here is warm, much warmer! Not only that, on that same day, they also brought me to a Malaysian restaurant! Guess what I had on my first day in Scotland? The legendary unbeatable jawdropping finger licking nasi lemak ayam rendang!!! I was eating like a wild lion and the big plate full of nasi lemak didn’t seem to tame me down so I had another. I was so full and started to think, how do I cycle with this kind of stomach? And because of these, I felt that I should stay here a while, being lazy! I stayed in Reena’s place for a while and I really feel like home.
Only a few days ago I was struggling, feeling the strength of the harsh Icelandic wind, under the fierce rain and now I was sitting nicely staying indoors in front of my computer screen for hours, busy doing video editing. What a contrast in life. I spent most of my rest days here feeding my laziness. During the first day of Eidul Fitr, I celebrated it with a good sleep, followed by a few more hours of another good sleep :) A few hours later, me and my friends went for cycling 20km towards the west, to Dumbarton castle. It was the first ever castle I ever visited in my life. Centuries ago, these piles of stones were filled with archers holding bows and arrows, now it is filled with visitors holding cameras. But I find it not so interesting visiting this particular castle, I actually tried to imagine fierce Viking ships bringing the unstoppable warriors from the Scandinavia sailing the water, but being here deep in the 21st century, I saw petrol stations, supermarkets and shop houses while overlooking the view.
I then spent the rest of the days following Reena visiting her friends during Eidul Fitr, mostly bright Malaysian students studying masters and PhDs here and also a Malay woman who has been working here as a doctor for a long time. They stayed here too long and I realized they speak English with thick Scottish accent :) Hehe… It feels good that after been traveling far away from home, I had the chance to eat our traditional Malay food, a spicy chicken rendang, Negeri Sembilan styylleee!!!
I spent the rest of my rest days in Glasgow in front of my screen mostly trying to complete my works. Once in a while I join Reena exploring around the town. Also got my bicycle some minor repair and get some outdoor equipments before riding again. Prices here in the UK are considered reasonable to me, compared to Iceland! I bought a new bigger tent with better quality with less than half the price on what I got in Iceland!