Edinburgh, York, Bath

Edinburgh was much friendlier than London, though of course it wasn’t nearly as cool. We arrived at the end of the Fringe festival, which meant there were uncountable things going on, shows and street performers and all kinds of stuff. We went and saw “Watson and Oliver” which was really funny, but was also essentially put on in a cargo container with two performers in front of 40 people. It was also strange to sit around and have the performers, their friends, and random assorted hangers-on come by, ask you if you would be around at showtime, or “looking for a show tonight?”

I wanted to stop some of them (“Hey, you’re going on stage in a couple of hours, you should take a break here…”)

I have a criteria for seeing comedy. It must be funny. The whole genre of applause comedy bores me. Whee, politics are so stupid! Clap clap clap clap! The furthest I’ll go in this direction is Lewis Black, who gets a lot of applause but is also really quite sharply funny and willing to make fun of himself.

York was great. It’s also an excellent demonstration of the problem with trying to preserve old cities today. Narrow streets designed to admit one horse carriage, if that, can’t handle car traffic and pedestrians. Trying to build roads through them is a fool’s task, but businesses will demand them (like Nordstrom and Westlake Center!).

So in York, within the walls, there are all these crazy narrow, crooked streets, hordes of people on feet, and annoyed people on cars trying to get around (for some reason), honking their horn.

Just ban the cars from those areas, at least from say 9am-7pm when they can’t safely coexist. I’ll come back to this in a later post.

Bath was okay. Not a lot to see once you’ve taken the walking tour, unless you’re interested in hanging around at the spa. Weather was also really strange while we were there – gusting wind, rain, cold for much of the time.

This lead to a great British moment. I loved the dry, understated British humor every time I came across it, from the Beefeaters at the Tower of London (who described a medal they got for meritous long service as the “Undetected Crime Medal”). In Bath, I tuned into the BBC for the weather and the report, essentially, was “winds between 0-20 kilometers an hour from the west and north, sunny and cloudy with sprinkles and showers” and for the rest of the week, it would continue to be “inconstant”.

I cracked up.

Then we headed to Paris.