It's like a thousand clown cars stopped all over the city and people started pouring out of them. Everywhere you look there are people wheeling suitcases to their lodgings. Bleary-eyed travelers that were Glenn and me a few days ago, walk in a Bataan Death March line dance. We've noticed more than a few people carrying brand new mops and cleaning accoutrement. Obviously, the flats they've rented are in need of tidying up.
Also incredible are the number and variety of people begging. A few days ago, there may have been one or two in a mile. Now, each block has at least one person, sitting on the street, back against a building, with their hand out. Performance art? Hard to say. Especially telling was the fellow we passed a short while ago, and he was eating a sausage roll. A large one. 10 minutes later we realized we had to get back to our apartment, so we reversed direction. As we passed him, again, he said "I'm hungry!" I nearly replied, "After that huge sausage roll you just ate?"
Where's your compassion? You're thinking. Well... I have skeptical compassion.
Seeing the people carrying mops and cleaning supplies gives me regret for things I should have packed. The apartment we've rented for the month, is usually the Edinburgh Surgeon's College dormitory. It's not fancy, and although there is a kitchen, the few mismatched items in the cupboards are everything you'd need to make oatmeal or a grilled cheese sandwich. But not much else. So I wish I'd brought along a large spoon, a few rags (always helpful), spices, warmer clothes, a couple clothespins, a few smaller cooking items (like a measuring cup), baggies and washcloths. They do sell all of those things here, obviously, but some of them are dear. Dear is Scottish for expensive. We've managed to pick up a few things at Poundland (where they sell everything for a pound). They have pepper, in it's own grinder for one pound.
Other shops had nearly the exact same thing for nearly four pounds. We've saved for a few years for this adventure, so we (meaning I) count the pennies. One thing I tend to do is to harvest things from the street that might come in handy. Like the heavy plastic cup someone had tossed. The kind that has a built in straw and lid. Holding a bright pink soda that a child most likely consumed. Hopefully a child that is regularly fed lots of vegetables, walks up to the top of Authur's Seat every day, and is rarely given soda pop. I washed out the found cup, and now use it as a pencil and makeup brush holder, and the lid is used as a soap dish in the shower. When we leave, it goes in the recycle bin. Harder to justify is the cleaning lady uniform shirt I plucked out of a dumpster. Don't you judge me. I may just use it in my next play.
So back to the whole packing issue. The things I did bring along, are mostly useful, but I would warn anyone coming over to not pack like I do. Here's what you don't want to do. Don't pack at the last minute, and don't keep putting things in your suitcase after you've already packed. I was done. I had clothes and props and costumes. But then, I thought, maybe I should bring something to do on the plane? The Parade magazine in the Minneapolis Star Tribune had some free downloads of adult coloring books. I could color on the plane. They said in the Parade article that it was relaxing and meditative. So, I printed some sheets off, and found some colored pencils. But wait. As long as I'm bringing those along, I should pack some blank cards I can decorate and send to people! You get the picture. 20 minutes and 10 pounds of unneeded luggage later, the just one more thing made our traveling day way less classy.