Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tourists Say the Stupidest Things

I woke up Sunday morning after precious little sound sleep, the events and smells of the previous evening much fresher than I felt. I think I got about four hours. After drinking for the previous 11. And mixing those drinks. Specifics must remain a mystery for now and names will be changed to protect the married.

On tap was a tour of Celtic Park, home of Glasgow Celtic. I dragged my fuzzy ass down Jamaica St. to a taxi queue where a bunch of cabbies were standing around drinking coffee and smoking. "Excuse me," I said to one, a silver-haired gent in a flannel jacket. "Are you on the job?"

There was laughter. Another cabbie said, "He hasn't been on the job in 30 years." I was puzzled and I don't even know why I used that particular phrase, since I can't remember uttering it previously in my lifetime. After I got in the cab, I was told "on the job" means "having sex." I laughed and added that I could relate to the driver's cold streak.

It was a gray day and began to rain as I waited outside the park for Div. I welcomed the drops and the wind. Fresh air was my friend. I was awfully woozy. The stadium was locked up and we stood around waiting for entrance.

The Guide was an older fella, with the club a long time, and his memory for events and obvious passion and affection for the history made for an interesting presentation. We were joined on the tour by a couple of Dads and 8 very active 9- and 10-year-olds. My quesy stomach and pounding head might have rebelled at their boisterousness on some other day, but they were mostly fine, the one exception being when they would all scramble past me while we were walking through doors or narrrow hallyways. Whippersnappers almost upended me on more than one occassion. I did have one moment in the visitor's locker room where I thought I was gonna puke. Quick wave of nausea, cold sweat on the forehead, faint smell of linament and dirty socks. It passed, though.

We got to go down to pitch level (that's the tour guide in the tie there) and I could just imagine the rafters shaking when the home side put one in. I tend to get all nostalgic when entering baseball stadiums, remembering games and visits and friends, seeing the impossibly green turf when you first emerge from your section's tunnel. I felt that way here, too, though, I've had no experience with live European football (which I am totally gonna remedy with a trip to Anfield, perhaps as soon as early next year). Ballparks are cathedrals and should be treated with proper reverence. Which is why it's an outrage they let a jackass like me sit in the dugout.

(It's doing it again! Picture me, in the dugout at Celtic Park, puffy hungover face, Adidas hat pulled over on ratty hair.)

They showed us a very interesting DVD, narrated in heroically wooden fashion by current Celtic captain Neil Lennon, and then we headed over to the souvenier shop for some goodies. I got AJ a Hoops jersey with Henrik Larsson's name and number on the back. Not much call any longer for the Swede, said the sales girl, since he moved on to Barcelona (and now on to a Swedish club), but I wanted AJ's 1/4 Swedish blood to be represented. I guess I could have went with current player Nakamura in a nod to his quarter Japanese, as well, but it would have been tough to fit that on the child's jersey. Got a Bhouys sweatshirt for myself, in green, just the shade Felicia likes on me.

We then walked back to the city centre, carefully avoiding a few hardcore Rangers blocks and dreaming about food. I had a big plate of pasta with extra (yummy) garlic bread, served by a hot blonde of Eastern European birth. I was in no state to be charming, what with my hangover and my mouth stuffed with penne, but I did watch her ass straining against her tight jeans for the duration of my meal. She got me so worked up I went back to the hotel and napped. For four hours.

I'm a wild man.

I ate dinner in the Cafe, ordering my first fish and chips of the trip. It would be my last. There were fucking bones in it. For the second time that day, I nearly gagged. Div, Tank and I browsed a couple nice little watering holes in another section of the city before being enticed by three "free" passes to a night club. Strange rules they have in Glasgow as most of the pubs shut down around midnight, but the clubs are open pretty much all hours.

The bouncer at this particular club asked us where we were coming from (odd) and how much we'd had to drink (odder). Div said, "four or five pints," which was MORE than we'd had, a white lie that went in the opposite direction of what I'd expected. He explained that they wanted people with a little buzz so they'd drink more. Apparently this bouncer does not know us very well.

I had a few Vodka/Red Bulls (£1 each!), but had a hard time being comfortable in the loud, sweaty, dark club, which is no surprise since I've always felt that way about such establishments. Still, £1 each! And there were some nice, fresh-faced young lassies to look at. Yes, I talked to one. She didn't talk back so much.

It was around two in the ayem, so Div headed home because of some committment he had in the morning called "work." The Tank suggested we go to the riverboat and the next time I turn down an early morning blackjack expedition will be the first, so off we went. We got a round of beers and sat at a £1 minimum table and decided to wager £5 each shoe on who did better. He won two out of three shoes, but my margin of victory was large on the third and, despite the £5 hit on the prop bets, I ended up £16. We drank another beer on the terrace overlooking the River Clyde. Or I drank half of it before I hit my saturation point. We bid each other adieu and I headed back for my last night in Glasgow, the second in a row in which I would get four hours sleep. But I had just a short day planned--one-hour flight to Ireland, one hour bus ride to my hotel--so I wasn't worried about it.

Oh how wrong I was.


At 5:51 AM, Blogger Felicia :) said...

Well, if you turn me on too much, you can always come out here and we can get married. I'm almost in Utah, I think they allow that here ;)

Glad you had a fun time and I always love reading your trip reports!

At 6:30 AM, Blogger StB said...

I hope "nap" isn't a Scottish term for pulling the goalie.

I agree with your views on ballparks. There is something magical about walking in, down a tunnel and seeing the field (especially the first time that season) open up in front of you. Awe inspiring.

Did you run into any weird looks when you tried to tip a bartender or was that explained to you beforehand?

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Pinky said...

Fish and Chips with bones? WTF? Outrageous.

Might I suggest a trip to Villa Park on your next visit rather than Anfield. Ok the football will be shite but the Villa Chippy does mini fish and chips with sausage or fish cake and mushy peas or curry sauce for a mere £1.80.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hail hail the Celts are here. What the hell do we care, what the hell do we care. Hail hail the Celts are here, what the hell do we care now... :o)

Hope you enjoy Ireland. Whereabouts in Ireland are you going?

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Div said...


"Where have you been tonight?"


"Do you frequent establishments which indicate you are sufficiently 'cool' to get in here?"

"How much have you had to drink?"


"Don't bluff cos you'll get called, and are you capable of stringing a lucid sentence together?"

Enjoying the write up. Looking forward to the next instalment.

At 12:12 AM, Anonymous thetank said...

How bad are the Scots at Blackjack?

Two Aces facing a dealers 5....

"card please." :)

Twas a pleasure to meet you Joe, yer blog now on my favourites.


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