Friday, December 29, 2006

Two Things

1. i forgot how many attractive people there are in Toronto. Of course, all the attractive and well-groomed dudes are most likely gay...

2. i also forgot about the amount of homeless people on the streets of Toronto. i am not exaggerating when i say that i have only seen ONE homeless dude in Glasgow. And he probably wasn't even homeless; just way too drunk to find his way home most likely. i don't know if it's because Glasgow City Council offers (free) council flats to the homeless or dilutes them into buckfast and then re-sells them to other homeless people or what. Whatever the case, Toronto should follow suit...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas was good; had the traditional white trash marshmallow salad (pictured above), which i LOVE and have missed and of course, had the annual fight with my step family. Why break tradition, right?

It was nice to see my Mom although it was too brief of a visit. i wish i could have stayed with her longer but she is a busy lady and i tend to drive her nuts after four days. So, i am back in Toronto, staying with my gay boyfriend, Bitter Queen, and we have been busy hitting the town and eating our way across Toronto.

Ok, so i totally have been craving for some decent and cheap sushi/sashimi for about 10 months now. Glasgow has yet to get on the whole sushi train. Yes, Marks and Spencer sell "sushi" but really, it's just some veggies, rice, and maybe some smoked salmon. Sushi, to me, is all about a big bowl of raw fish, gross bbq eel, and taking your chances with your bowels when eating it. Photographic evidence of the plethora of raw fish that was consumed below:

My big bowl of raw fish
Tucking in to the raw fish and hoping that my gut doesn't regret it...

Monday, December 25, 2006


Friday, December 22, 2006


Bob and i on the subway coming back from the airport. i forgot what a clean and efficient underground is like...

City Hall
Ok, so this is the #10 - Siam Delight - at one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto, Khmer Thai. i have been dreaming about this dish for about 9 months...

By the way, notice that i am posting this entry at 5.40am; i have been up since about 4.30am. Still running on Glasgow time - an unfortunate side effect of being a jet setter.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

i am currently feeling a little bit under the weather. Nevertheless, i am totally excited that in about 24 hours i will be landing in Toronto, and rushing into the sculpted arms of my bitter queen!

Last night was pretty crazy - but in a good way, i think. i met up with my friend, Anna, for a drink (JUST ONE, MOM. Geez) and said our goodbye's until we see each other in the new year. Afterward i met up with The Ex-Rugby Player for some unbelievably yummy French baked cheese and wine at The Cheese Bar. There were so many delicious things to choose from; i wanted to eat my way down the menu. Sometimes i am utterly impressed by the places in Glasgow, and last night was an exercise in me eating my own words about how Toronto has much better restaurants. i think i still maintain that Toronto does have some better places to eat but really, that's just by default since Toronto is about four times the size of Glasgow.

After dinner we headed back to the infamous establishment where i cracked my head on the concrete floor (the wound is healing well, by the way), for a drink. i guess Monday evenings at this particular pub is Old Dudes' Night and Loud English Men Night Out because that is exactly what it felt like. However, there was a group of four people sitting behind us (3 women and 1 man) who - as the evening progressed - just got weirder and weirder. In fact, at one point, when the sole male left the table, two of the girls started kissing and snuggling each other and it might not have been so bad if they weren't so heinous-looking.

It was kind of tragic.

At this point, Ex-Rugby Player made a face that encapsulated the entire essence of the bizarre event and it was so fucking funny that i literally spat out my red wine all over the table and on his shirt. i am all class. i felt really bad but honestly, it was so funny that there was no other option - perhaps maybe death from choking on my wine and own tongue. i apologised profusely and as i cleaned up the wee mess i thought, "how is it that i'm single again?"

i guess Ex-Rugby Player read my expression because he then stated the obvious, "you are a nightmare". He was half-joking. i think.

Monday, December 18, 2006

This is a great BBC documentary i found on YouTube. Be sure to watch all 5 parts; very interesting.
Photo from Chromewaves

Last week in Toronto, a fire destroyed the celebrity and sycophant infested joint, Sassafraz. Where are all the fabulous people in Toronto going to sip their overpriced martinis now!?

Yesterday afternoon as i walked into city centre to meet my friend, Kate, smoke was cascading into Charing Cross and half a dozen fire trucks blocked North Street. i asked someone what was burning to which i was told, "an Indian restaurant on North Street".

i felt the colour drain from my face and my stomach fold into itself. My all-time favourite Indian restaurant, Koh-i-Noor, is on North Street.

Later, i found out that my favourite Indian place wasn't burning down but another famous curry house, Cafe India. i'm not sure how i would have dealt if it was Koh-i-Noor that was gutted by the fire; i practically moved to this city to be closer to their prawn patia dish (i wish i was joking).

Earlier that afternoon, i watched the Old Firm match with some friends in a pub in the west end. My friend, Laurie, and i arrived just as the doors of the pub were opening. Prior to going inside, i took off my Celtic scarf as football stripes (i.e. jerseys, scarves, etc) are generally not accepted. We went inside, secured a table, and waited for our other friend, Tim, to arrive. As Laurie went to get us some drinks (N.B. COFFEE, MOM! We drank COFFEE), i watched the door for Tim's arrival. Just as Tim walked through the door, i stood up, waved, and yelled, "TIM!!!!!!"

Now, most of you Canadians reading this (i.e. my family), probably don't know that "Tim" is sometimes used in Glasgow to refer to someone as Catholic and a Celtic supporter - in a derogatory way. Why exactly? i don't know. Anyway, it wasn't until i sat back down that i realised that i had just stood up in a crowded pub, during an old firm match, and shouted out a sectarian epithet.

Anyway, we watched the game and i lived to tell about it. To be honest, it was pretty innocent and the atmosphere was great. The majority of people were cool and just interested in watching the game. With one exception. Behold, these dudes:

Notice the guy on the left - he is wearing a Rangers jersey. As far as i'm aware, i didn't think you were allowed to wear club colours but whatever; they actually weren't too bad. Just throughout the afternoon they would shout, "COME ON, RANGERS! BLAAAARGHHHH!"

i'll be honest: i'm a fan of both teams; i like Celtic and i like Rangers. How could i ever side with one allegiance?! i'm torn between my love for Paul Telfer and Thomas Buffel...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Walking to work this morning - another grey, windy, and wet day. i know this photo looks like it was taken at night but it was actually taken at around 8.45am this morning.

It is Oran Mor - which used to be a church but is now a more applicable House of Worship: it is a pub and club. It is also the infamous joint in which i fell over backwards and cracked my head on the concrete floor.

Yesterday i took the afternoon off of work to do some Christmas shopping. Not only was it crazy busy in the shopping centre, but the weather was also mental. Buckets of rain were pouring down and umbrellas were useless because the wind was hurricane-like. There is flooding across parts of Scotland. What i would give for just a spot of snow...

Anyway, after shopping in the crowds and tempestuous weather, i was pretty close to loosing it. i got back to my flat, exhausted, soaking wet, and freezing. If i were a drinker (har har!) i could have used a shot of whiskey.

Last night, after shopping in a monsoon and freezing in my flat. Look, Ma! i'm totally sober too! Oh, by the way: if people in Western Scotland are reading this, i'm not Catholic so don't bother sending me hatemail, ok? cool. thanks.

Speaking of sectarianism, yesterday Glasgow played host to a summit on how to end religious bigotry - and not a moment too soon either; this Sunday is an Old Firm game. That is, Rangers and Celtic are playing against each other in Glasgow. Canadians: in case you are confused, i briefly mentioned what this means in this post. i have yet to watch an Old Firm match outside the safety of my "regular" pub (i.e. where the people are cool and everyone knows your name) but this Sunday, apparently i will be watching the match with friends (and Celtic supporters) and as such, pubs must be chosen wisely.

i have to say, this whole religious friction thing is totally weird and foreign to me. i'm not trying to come off as superior and/or more enlightened than my fellow Glaswegians, but i'm more used to trying to avoid annoying hipsters/yuppies in Toronto, that were "slumming" it in the wilds of newly gentrified Parkdale - those were my only concerns before heading out to drink in Canada. Laughing at the Yorkville yuppies in the Drake as they snorted lines of coke off their 7 jeans, tettering on their Jimmy Choo boots. Oh, how innocent it all was...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Kelvin river - taken on my way to work this morning

Walking to work - I AM SO SICK OF THE RAIN!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Struggling in the rain this afternoon - no point in using an umbrella...
In my flat, slowly going insane from the rain lashing my windows...

OHMIGAWD! i bought a new mobile (with a camera phone) and i am now one of those annoying people who thinks, "HOW DID I LIVE WITHOUT A MOBILE BEFORE?!?!??"

i am now addicted to text messaging (even more), taking unflattering self-portraits, downloading annoying ringtones, taking random photos, and changing my cellphone settings every half an hour.

Mom: at least you can now expect daily photo evidence of my TOTALLY SOBER existence in Scotland, OK?! Although reading about the Maple Leafs losing streak could drive any Leafs fan to drink; how did they go from second to tenth place in the Eastern conference?! Oh, Leafs...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas is big in Canada - or rather, i should say "the holidays" are big in Canada. One of the distinct cultural differences that i notice about Canada and our colonizer, the UK, is our different approaches to the festive time of year.

In Canada, we tend to be more inclusive, politically correct, and fret over the anxieties of wishing someone a "merry Christmas". Christmas sorry - the holidays - in Canada are all about unbridled consumerism, overzealous expectations, and familial alienation. It's all about shopping, spending money you don't have, eating stuffed birds with family members, and exchanging gifts. Some people even chose to go to church, although i'm not too certain as to why.

In the UK, Christmas is HUGE - and i don't mean the holidays; i mean CHRISTMAS = the celebration of our Lord baby Jesus' birth. No sane Scottish person gives a shit about Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Festivus. Now, that's not to say that Scottish people are actually interested in honouring the baby Jesus' birthday but rather, the Scots are only interested in it so far as it is an excuse to:

1. party
2. drink

And those are two excuses i can totally get behind.

The holidays sorry, CHRISTMAS is unabashedly...well, Christmas here. Everyone assumes everyone else celebrates it and hey, the way these people celebrate it, well, i can see why. In Canada, we tend to overeat during "the holidays". In Scotland, they tend to over drink.

Another difference i have noticed are something referred to as: Work Christmas Nights Out/Parties. This is a concept wherein you and people from your work get dressed up in fancy clothes, pay £40 to eat some overpriced meal, get wasted, and do something you will regret on Monday morning at the office. In Toronto, work places don't really celebrate Christmas - again, the whole PC thing - and if you're lucky, your work might sponsor a Holiday lunch. But that's it.

Who will have the number 1 Christmas song on the charts is another concern over here. That and how many drinks you can get down you without tossing up your Marks and Spencers mince pies, of course.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


i ended up going to the hospital last night after work and the doctor prescribed the usual: get lots of rest, avoid strenuous activities for a while, and the obvious: stop falling down drunk with rugby players on top of me. After a good night's sleep, i do feel better although i did wake up (again) last night at around 5am due to a sore neck and head.

Not only was this past weekend quite humbling, but also totally mental weather wise. All day Sunday, it was like a hurricane/typhoon/end of the world. Unfortunately i had to venture out to pay some bills and buy some food and i swear, i was almost blown over by the gale force winds and in the 10 minutes it took me to walk to my destination, i was completely drenched. Utterly soaking. The rain did not stop all day or all night and yesterday morning (monday), it was STILL raining and the wind was out of control.

No wonder these people drink like they do.

Monday, December 04, 2006


With the little dignity that remains after this weekend, i will try to recount the events without going into too much detail (for the sake of my own sanity and my Mom's).

Friday night i went out with some friends for a drink and received a text from this guy i had meet last weekend and been out with a couple times. He was just down the road at another pub with friends and invited me to join him. So, i did. Now, please bear in mind that for the last 9 years of my legal drinking life, i did not really drink. When people tell you that you will end up drinking a lot more when moving to the UK - believe it. In Canada, people do coffee; In the UK, people don't do drinks but rather, the booze does them. Basically, British people are genetically superior when it comes to alcohol consumption and i wouldn't be surprised if lager ran through their veins instead of blood.

Anyway, i ended up meeting this guy and his friends for some drinks. Long story short: if i remember correctly, i think we were leaning into kiss and somehow we lost our balance and i ended up smacking my head on the concrete floor with my ex-rugby player date on top of me.

Blood was everywhere; i was mortified and started flipping out. People came running over to help but i was trying to tell them i was alright. i think i started yelling at my date to leave me alone and that i was going home. Concerned that i was seriously injured, he insisted on taking me to my flat. He quickly sobered up and got me into my shower. i think i started crying because there was blood everywhere and i HATE the sight of blood.

Yes, i probably should have gone to the hospital but anyone who knows me, knows that i am a spaz and ESPECIALLY a spaz when confronted with hospitals and needles; the thought of stitches in my scalp is too much.

So, i'm currently suffering from wounded pride and some post-concussion symptoms. i think, for now, i am going to stop trying to keep up with my genetically superior British friends when it comes to the sauce.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Brel: One of my favourite joints in Glasgow because they have Belgian mussels, frites and beer

i have booked my flight home for Christmas and should be back in glorious Toronto for December 20th! i am looking forward to seeing family and friends and eating at all of my favourite places once again. It's going to be strange; i don't think that i have ever been away from Canada this long - even when i was a student over here, i still managed to get home a lot more (by the way, long distance relationships suck). i haven't been in Canada for 8 months now and i hate to admit it, but i think i have completely adjusted to Scottish life.

i look the right way when crossing the streets; i can navigate round abouts; i can (almost) understand the locals (if they speak slow enough); i drink Irn Bru instead of Coke or Pepsi; i pay my council tax and begrudge Glasgow Council for it; i watch football; i'm no longer confused when i wake up in the mornings now and it is still pitch-black outside; i drink tea in place of coffee (but still miss a Tim Hortons double double); and i watch and listen to the BBC. Don't get me wrong: Glasgow still kills me with its lack of recycling and weird men but for the most part, i'm loving it here.

i do miss snow though. And i fucking hate the rain!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


A lot of this was shot in the West end of Glasgow, right near where i live, and at Glasgow University.

This video is 15 years old and shockingly VERY relevant

One of the funniest things i have ever seen

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Went On A Date with A Coke-Head Fart Blamer

If i told you about my latest misfortune and adventure in online dating, you probably would not believe me. In fact, you would probably accuse me of making it up. i actually couldn't believe the circumstances i found myself in this past Saturday while on a date with J, a cute boy who contacted me via an online dating site.

J lives in Edinburgh, so he took the train in on Saturday afternoon to meet me for a drink. It seemed promising: he was employed, the same age as me, from a small town in the Highlands, and funny. We had already talked on the phone previously and i concluded that he was (a) nice and (b) not a freak.

Was i wrong.

The date started off great; the banter was nice and he name-dropped some interesting writers. There was just one thing though: he seemed to have a lot of nervous energy. i thought maybe he was just nervous and that's why he was talking so quickly. Also, he would ask me a question - the same question i had just answered 45 minutes ago. You know, if there is one thing i fucking hate, it is people who ask questions and don't listen to the answer. It drives me nuts and being a barbaric North American, i find it hard to conceal my emotions and annoyance. So, when J asked me, for the second time, if i had ever been to Fort William i replied, "for the second time now, yes, i have been there".

i can be a bitch. But only if you deserve it.

We walked to the pub and things were ok; we had overcome the bitchy awkward moment and were moving on. J still seemed to have a lot of nervous energy and was a bit preoccupied with the sports channel that was on the tv in the corner. We continued to talk over a couple of drinks and things seemed ok. Just as i was lifting my glass of wine to my lips J asked me, "what are you like in bed?" i tried not to choke on my drink and calmly set my glass back down.

"Too bad you will never find out," i said.

Now why i didn't leave right there, i can't really say. Perhaps it was because things got really interesting at this point.

J's nervous energy only seemed to get worse and i have to say, i guess i felt a bit sorry for him. Maybe he was just a bit socially inept (like myself at times) and can say the wrong thing without realising it. i gave him the benefit of the doubt and started talking about the interesting cultural differences and run-ins i had found myself in since moving to the UK. i began telling him an anecdote about going for a wax and the beautician being a lot more intensive then what i was used to back in Canada. i thought my story was hilarious and shaking in a rapture of mirth at my own story. i guess J didn't think it was that funny and said, "can you keep your laugh down a bit".

And that's when my psycho bitch came out because NO ONE - apart from my Mom and Step-Dad - tell me to "keep it down".

Stunned, i sat there for a minute. J turned to check out the sports scores on tv and said, "fuck!"

"What's wrong?" i asked, not really caring.
"i bet on a game and i lost," he replied.

i didn't want to pass judgement on him but really, most people who bet on football games are trashy. With the revelation that he had lost his bet, J's nervous energy went into overdrive. He began scratching his nose, sniffing, and blinking really quickly. Now that my psycho bitch had come out i asked him if he needed to go to the washroom to snort a line. J didn't seem phased by my bitch remark and merely just said that he was "ok". i was suspicious and asked him if he did coke to which he replied, "yeah, but i've only done it a couple times; maybe ten or fifteen".

Ok, people who bet on sports and think that 10 or 15 run-ins with coke is only a "couple of times", are trash. So, i decided that that was it; i was leaving.

J's nervous coke-withdraw symptoms must have made its way down to his stomach because just then, he let an audible fart rip loose. Being a lady and thinking that this dude had enough shitty things against him already, i decided to try and ignore it.

But then it started smelling. Bad.

J turned to me and in all seriousness asked me, "did you just fart?"

Now. It is one thing to accidentally fart on a date, it is another thing entirely to then try and BLAME it on your DATE.

"i most certainly did not!" i yelled in disbelief because really, who fucking farts and blames it on someone you just met when CLEARLY you both just heard him do it?!

And then a second wave of J's coke-withdraw farts hit me. And AGAIN he asked me, "did you fart again?"

That was it. Psycho Bitch took over and the remainder of Jennifer went black. And here's what Psycho Bitch said, almost word for word:

"That's it! i can't believe you have the audacity to act all proper and superior when i tell you about my funny waxing story and TELL ME to keep it down, and then fucking fart and have the nerve to try and blame ME when you and i both know that YOU farted. Not me. YOU. i tried to be a lady and ignore it but then you had to go and blame ME?! i've dated my share of liars and i'll tell you right now, you better come clean and admit to it".

J stared at me, nose twitching, and replied, "it must have been someone sitting near us then". A quick scan revealed that no one was sitting anywhere NEAR us and so, grabbing my stuff, announced that i was leaving.

Sorry, shitbag, i already have someone who tries to blame their farts on me: my brother.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Tuesday, November 21, 2006


This weekend started out so promising and ended in a spectacular kamikaze of drunk rage and bruised egos!

Friday and Saturday night, I had two different housewarming parties that I was invited to. At the housewarming on Saturday, my friend and I were none too impressed with the lack of men at the party (it was attended by lots of nurses and midwives though) and so, we headed over to a local bar for a drink. At the bar, my friend introduced me to something called a "French martini". Do we have those in Canada? It was like drinking liquid gold - only extremely potent and dangerous because it tasted like lollipops.

Sunday afternoon I met up with my friends, Lauren and Kate, to get some brunch. On their way to meet me at the local grease joint, Kate and Lauren ran into our mutual friends Irish Mike and Erica - which was a bit odd considering that they live on the Southside of Glasgow. Nevertheless, Irish Mike seemed to be acting strange and would not commit to meeting up with us later.

Over scrambled eggs and toast, we worked out that Irish Mike was going to pop the question to Erica, whom he has been dating for about 5 years (i think). Turns out we were right because we got a text telling us to come meet him and his fiancee at the pub around the corner. So, Kate, Lauren, myself and John (whom we just happened to bump into on the street), headed over to the pub to celebrate. We arrived around 2.30pm and were later joined by even more friends.

And so, from about 3pm until 6pm, i had had several glasses of champagne, wine, and a bit of cider. But you know, your friends only get engaged once (or so you hope). At about 6pm my friends reminded me that i had a hot date with the Cute Boy in a Kilt that i met the other night. At this point, i was pretty tipsy but feeling good so i headed home to get ready for the date.

At 7pm my date picked me up and i forewarned him that i had been drinking all afternoon - in celebration, mind you. Everything seemed cool; we chatted, flirted, and he drove me past the Catholic church he attends every Sunday (gulp).

Before I go any further - have y'all seen that episode of Sex and the City where Miranda goes out with this really cute Detective, only she's so nervous because she thinks that he is way out of her league and so she proceeds to get really wasted on the date?

Ok. Well picture that scene but worse.

We ordered a bottle of wine and by the time it finishes, i am pretty hosed but i thought i was handling the sauce quite well. Once the bottle is finished, my date puts his arm around me and asked me if i wanted to go back to his flat for some wine there.

Completely wasted, mouth agape, and taken aback, i replied, "NO. I BARELY KNOW YOU AND YOU'RE ASKING ME BACK ALREADY?!?"

Yep, i was pretty much a drunken crazy beast.

i think i then accused him of being a player and trying to sleep with as many women as possible with little regards for their emotional well-being. i can't be sure though. You know, as awful as my drunk rage was, what kinda dude asks a drunk girl back to his flat on the first date? And really, if he was a wholesome Catholic boy he probably wouldn't have suggested it in the first place. It might have been harsh and my reaction might have lacked grace, but i think that my fears of him being a player seemed to become reality. Or the drunk reality at that time. i think, more than anything, i was disappointed and channeled it into psycho female drunk rage.

Needless to say we're not going out again.

Oh, and Mom, don't worry - i emailed him an apology and he accepted. i still maintain some of the manners you installed in me.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My opinions about Scottish men might just be improving. In previous posts I whined about Scottish men being shy, reserved, and unlikely to make the first move. However, I might just have to eat my words.

Last night I went to a "Singles" Ceilidh (whatever! Don't judge me!) and had loads of fun. I had been to one Ceilidh before when I was an international student at Glasgow University and they hosted one to assimilate all of us international weirdos into Scottish culture. Now, as a Canadian, when I hear "folk dancing" by reflex I shiver and flashback to highschool in Napanee, where we were forced to line dance to Billy Ray Cyrus in gym class (I wish I was lying).

Scottish folk dancing is anything but. Ceilidh's are all about drinking, skipping around in circles, swinging your dance partner around the floor with as much velocity as possible, and trying to catch a glimpse as the cute boys in kilts kick their legs up. All good things.

So, right. The singles ceilidh.

When you arrived, your picture was taken with a Polaroid and you were given a number (mine was lucky number 13). Just above the dance floor, there was a gallery where your picture was hung up and you were assigned a mailbox. Throughout the evening, you could go up and write someone a "flirt card" and put it in their box. It was all very non-confrontational.

It started off with little promise. I arrived to find very few cute boys that I fancied. Just as I was about to numb my depression with another drink, two hunky dudes who looked to be in their 30s arrived - both wearing kilts. The one with the dark hair and dark features (always a favourite) was well put together in his cute little kilt and boots. For the next half an hour, my friend and I gawked at the cute boy in the kilt and his equally cute friend. My friend, feeling the liquid courage, decided to go up to the photo gallery and write a flirt card (to who, I don't know). As she was up there, she noticed the dark-haired cute boy in a kilt writing out a flirt card as well. As he finished writing, he headed over to drop it into the mailboxes - only he was walking towards the male side of the room.

"Oh, that's the wrong side; that's the men's side", my friend said - tactful as always.
"Yeah, I know. I'm bisexual," he replied without breaking his stride.

My friend rushed downstairs to tell me the horrific news.

Fuck. Now I'm not only competing with the other women in the room but the dudes as well?!

Forgetting the dark-haired "bisexual" (read: GAY GAY GAY) cutie in a kilt, I went off to do some Scottish dances and try not to pass out. Afterwards, my friend and I went up to see if we had received any messages/stupid flirt cards.

No, we had not.

Just as we were about to turn around and go downstairs to nurse our bruised egos, another dark-haired cutie in a kilt - who was standing in front of us - caught my eye. I guess he saw me staring because he turned to me and said, "Hello. I haven't seen you out on the dance floor; are you going to dance?"

Trying to be cool, I replied, "I've been out there. I guess you haven't been paying attention". But really, I was thinking "ohmigawdohmigawdohmigawd. Hot boy. In kilt."

He asked how my night was going and I told him the truth - it was going pretty awesome but I couldn't believe I had yet to receive a stupid flirt card?! He said he would write me one on the spot. Which he did. And so, being a modern lady, I wrote him one too. I asked him if he had anything on under his kilt. He replied that he was a traditionalist. ohmigawdohmigawdohmigawd, was all I kept thinking.

And so, we exchanged flirt cards and I happened to peek and see that he had quite a few. Shit. I only got one and that's only because I happened to moan to said cute boys in a kilt #2. Not that I need a stupid fucking flirt card to validate my self-worth or anything. Nope, not at all. Shit...Cute boy in a kilt #2 was really flirty and almost too charming. So I called him on it (I'm sure some of you are shaking your heads in mild embarrassment); I told him, you're such a player! He replied that he wasn't going to lie and yes, that he used to be in his 20s but he's changed now that he was grown older (he's 31. Or 32. I forget). I don't know, I thought, can pigs change?

The night wound down and I hadn't received any flirt cards. Granted, I was asked to dance a few times but come on - it's folk dancing. As I was walking home I received a text. From cute boy in a kilt #2 (ohmigawdohmigawdohmigawd). He asked me if I wanted to go out sometime - maybe Friday night? I texted him back to say that I was busy. Just as quickly he texted me back and asked about Sunday.

I gave in.

Ok, sure, Sunday evening. Sunday is safe because you can't get up to too much trouble on a school night, so to speak. So, we are meeting for a drink early Sunday evening.

As I was walking to work this morning I received another text from cute boy in a kilt #2, wishing me a good morning and asking if I had access to email because he wanted to email me. How sweet.

And although I'm deeply flattered, I can't stop picturing that little stack of cards.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ever since moving to Scotland, i've found myself addicted and/or attracted to some strange things.


Lemon Curd: i saw this sitting on the shelf at my new favourite grocery/department store (see below), beside the jam. The whole notion of a curd made from lemon seemed weird. Naturally i had to try it. It's actually really awesome - it tastes like the middle of a lemon meringue pie. Only spread out over white bread - the cheaper the bread quality, the better too! Long live white trash food!

Tesco: how do i even begin to describe my addiction to Tesco? Is it because of the cheap organic line that they carry? Is it the even cheaper Tesco brand food line? Is it the strange locals and freaks that seem to populate my local Tesco? Whatever it is, Tesco has everything. Literally - everything! Cheap awesome clothes; local Scottish produce and fish; junk food; car insurance; internet offers; dvd rentals; tvs; junkies - you name it!

Jonathan Ross: the name probably doesn't mean anything to anyone outside the UK, but dude is like, the BIGGEST paid star on BBC (i think). Anyway, he's paid millions of pounds to be on BBC TV and BBC Radio 2 and entertain the nation with sexual innuendos and stories about his kids. His programme on BBC1, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, usually has interesting guests on and it usually gets quite raunchy.

His other show, Film 2006, is also quite good and he reviews current film releases although, i find myself usually disagreeing with his reviews - especially when he reviews American film. Whatever. Dude's English and you know what they're like (hint: secretly jealous that their barbaric American cousins ousted the monarchy).

He has a radio show on BBC Radio 2 but i don't listen to it because i am under the age of 50.

Robbie Williams: Again, another British dude unknown to the majority of North Americans. Not to be confused with that boozin' furball that starred in Mrs. Doubtfire.

Apparently Robbie Williams used to be in this British version of New Kids On The Block - only shittier - called Take That. Take what? i don't know. Speaking of New Kids On The Block, now THAT'S a reunion tour i would pay big bucks to see. i'm not ashamed to admit this: but i still get excited when i a NKOTB video comes on VH1! I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER, DONNIE!

But i digress. Robbie is now a "solo artist" and makes standard British pop music. He is HUGE here. i don't really "get" it but British people go absolutely nuts for this dude. He sells out stadiums and radio and tv stations dedicate entire days to him and his i guess this is how some Westerners feel when they first land in Japan: confused by what (and who) is famous and considered brilliant.

Anyway, i guess what i'm saying is - i find him to be really hot and that confuses me.

The Mighty Boosh: i don't even know how to describe this show. It's about these two zookeepers...?

i can't do this show any justice. Just watch it. It's so fucking surreal but hilarious.

Marks and
Spencers Fruit Cake with Marzipan Topping: i don't know how, why or when i started eating this but shit, i'm addicted now and if i don't stop eating it, i'm going to have to buy two seats on the plane ride home, to accommodate the newly accumulated junk in ma trunk - knowwhati'msayin'?!

Still Game: two grumpy old Scottish dudes moan, drink, get harassed by neds, drink, and wander around Scotland. Just your average punters and it shouldn't be that funny but it is?!

God, i am losing my youth and coolness with every passing day i reside in this country, i swear!

My Mobile Phone: Before moving to the UK, i never had a mobile (cell) phone. HOW DID I EVER LIVE BEFORE?!

Just kidding.

i now have a love-hate relationship with it. i loved it when i was getting text messages all day long; i hate it now because i look at it and wonder when it will ring.

p.s. Yes, that is my actual mobile pictured - don't be jealous.

Monday, November 13, 2006

You know, i wish teleportation wasn't just a fictional preferred method of transportation from Star Trek. i wish i could easily navigate between two places without ever having to "officially" claim one place as my permanent home.

Pico Iyer, a fantastic travel writer, was one of the first to write about a "movable sensibility"; living in a world wherein it's increasingly easier to be multinational and move about the globe. In Iyer's book, The Global Soul, he wrote an essay describing why he loves Toronto (answer: multiculturalism). I don't know how or why it works, but multiculturalism does seem to work in Toronto. Compared to other major cities, like London and Glasgow, where government officials are going head-to-head debating Muslim veils, sectarian violence, and how to assimilate immigrants and their British-born children, Toronto just seems to meld together. Which is one of the reasons why I love Toronto. I love it's unassuming residents and plethora of different foods. I love so many things about Toronto but lately - more and more - I am missing it.

Ever since 1998, i wanted to come to Glasgow. i don't really know why but i knew i wanted to come to Scotland. i suppose because part of my family is Scottish but mainly because it seemed that a lot of amazing culture, arts, and music was coming out of Scotland at the time. i liked the fact that Glasgow was once (and perhaps still is) one of the most violent and deprived cities in Western Europe and yet producing some of the most interesting and original art and music around. i liked that Glasgow remained loyal to its rough working-class background but also aggressively promoted and supported its art scene. i liked that the people were (and are) extremely friendly and proud but still self-deprecating in their biting humour.

Once i studied here in 2000, i knew that i had to come back. i was lucky enough to have made some great friends during my year long exchange, and they encouraged me to come back once i finished my degree. And so i did. It's been almost 8 months since i moved to Glasgow, and i love it. i do. It hasn't been easy but i'm glad i did it. One thing i have learned to appreciate is the absolute madness of this city. For example, a couple weeks ago a well-dressed woman in her 40s got on the bus, clearly boozed out of her head, and once she had taken her seat, started singing Scottish folk songs. The entire bus, at first, watched with amusement but after two sings, started encouraging her and clapping at the end of her drunken hymns. At this point, all of us on the bus started talking to one another and laughing. i started talking to strangers - UNHEARD OF as a Torontonian!?

i wish i didn't have to make a decision but unfortunately, that's what being an adult is all about. i wish i could make both cities my home and easily go between the two but unless you're minted, it's nearly impossible.

i will miss so many things about Scotland: the tv programmes, the junk food, the architecture, my friends, the best Indian food mankind has ever tasted, the french fries, the landscape, the humour, the people. Just as i miss so many things about Toronto but there is one thing that Toronto has over Glasgow: my history.

And so, i'm not saying that i have made a final decision just yet; i'm just saying that i know i have to.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oh, Greggs: purveyors of sticky Belgian Buns and Yum Yums, i love you.

i resisted you, at first, because i thought that like every other food joint in this country, you would be bad for my health. Well, ok, you are but in the end, you're worth it! Worth it because you provide me with raisin buns slathered in icing sugar for only 40p! Hot damn, Greggs! No wonder all the students and construction workers love you. Empty sugary calories for less than a quid!

Although nothing can replace the love I have for my first bakery joint - Tim Hortons. What i would give to be able to enjoy a medium double-double and belgian bun sitting in the botanic gardens, surrounded by Canadians. If there is a heaven, that's it.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Last month, after CBC aired a documentary called, "The Feral Boys of Scotland", the early morning risers of Canada learned the "dark secret" of Glasgow - namely that it is a violent, bleak, and mental place to live. The programme even went so far as to compare Glasgow with Iraq and Afghanistan - or so i read in the Observer.

The folks behind Glasgow's bid for the 2014 Commonwealth games aren't as entertained by the CBC's claims as i was though. They are claiming that the documentary was made to smear Glasgow's image so that a rival city for the Commonwealth Games of 2014 - namely, Halifax - would take the lead in hosting the events.

The Observer Scotland - not one to take things lightly - fought back in an article published last weekend stating:

Despite Canada's portrayal of Glasgow as a city in the grip of a crime epidemic, it also emerged that Halifax is suffering an unprecedented crime wave. The Observer has seen a report from Statistics Canada which revealed that Halifax is the violent crime capital of the country. A study of 24,000 people, published last year, showed that the city experienced 229 violent incidents, including robbery, sexual or physical assault, per 1,000 of the population.

According to local newspaper reports, additional police officers were drafted into the city last month following an escalation in the number of shootings.

The Canadian documentary followed comments made earlier this year by the chief executive of the Halifax bid team claiming that international bodies would be reluctant to award another major sporting event to the UK so soon after London's successful Olympics bid.

However, insiders said the Canadians were desperate to deflect attention from their own problems, and 'muddy the waters for Glasgow's bid'.

Seriously, Halifax - don't mess with Glaswegians; they'll fucking chib ya!

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's times like this that make me want to go home to Toronto.

A couple days ago i was meant to have a "date" with an affable-appearing chap from the dating site that my friend and i signed up to. And so during my lunch break i headed over to the restaurant we had arranged to meet up.

...five minutes passed...and then ten...and finally my table was ready and so, i told the waitress it was only for one person now.

i sent a text asking if i was being stood up. No response. i took it as a "yes" then.

And so, at the moment, i pretty much hate men. What a gender of disappointment.

Yesterday morning, my best friend of 20 years emailed me to tell me his father passed away that morning. So, all in all, i pretty much want to be with him in Canada right now.

At least it hasn't rained in Glasgow for the last couple days...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Although this past weekend was somewhat shitty, I did manage to get out and see Red Road, which opened on Friday.

The film was good although the ending was a bit of a stretch. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed the film - despite its bleakness. Why is it that a lot of Scottish films are so utterly depressing and portray Glasgow to be such a sad and desperate place?

My English friend, Anna (who recently moved to Glasgow as well), is tired of us both whining about the lack of Scottish/British men that we fancy and/or that fancy us. As such, she has signed us up to an on-line dating website. To be honest, I'm a bit reluctant and can't be that bothered to write about why someone should "pick" me or get to know me. I mean, I'm neurotic enough as it is; now I have to post my mug all over the internet and try to convince someone to ask me out? Whatever happened to the organic process of being chatted up at a bar or grocery store? Or meeting dudes through friends and friends of friends?! I suppose you can buy a car off eBay now so why not find a girlfriend on-line too?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Glasgow, Govan: Science Centre

Reason #107 Why I Love Glasgow: the bizarre architecture.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


My Canadian Thanksgiving feast was a hit! With a little help and guidance from my mom - via emails - i managed to cook Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday for myself and five of my lucky British friends.

On the menu was turkey, ham, a vegetarian roast made from tofu, various veggies and for dessert: two homemade pies. The first pie was pumpkin and since canned pumpkin is scarce in these parts, i had to go to a wee shop down the road that imports American crap. The second homemade pie was maple syrup made from Canadian maple syrup from my home region of Napanee.

i also started my new job this week at Glasgow University and was told that i have £150 that i can use towards a "learning allowance". Maybe i should take a French course or introduction to Gaelic?

Although the weather today is shite (rain, rain, rain, and more grey rain), the weather has been lovely lately. Crisp air and the leaves have changed colours. With such lovely days, i sometimes manage to forget about Toronto for a few hours. Although i have started looking at flights for my trip back home in December. Bloody hell, i hope the prices on Zoom/ Air Transat come down closer to my return date of December 21st. i have also started making a hit list of all the things i need to do once i return to Canada:

1. Shop for clothes at stores which are not available in the UK (practically every slapper in this city is a clone). People are cloth-a-holics here and take shopping to a new level. i honestly don't understand how people can blow loads on their outfits and pay rent in this city. Am i missing something here? As well, women all buy the same shit. i have a jacket from H&M that i bought in Canada and i swear, i have seen two other bitches wearing the same jacket. It drives me nuts.
2. Stock up on cheap (read: Canadian dollars) beauty essentials: anti-wrinkle cream (WHATEVER! You use it too!!!), face cream, contact solution, and make-up.

3. Stock up on Canadian essentials: Tim Horton's coffee, ju jubes, junk food, and whatever else i deem essential and cannot live without whilst purusing the aisles of Loblaws.


5. See friends and family.


7. Bacchus roti in Parkdale for their special roti with cheese, spinach, and shrimp. Medium hot, yo.

8. Shop for cheap books.

9. Rummage around my Nanny's basement for winter clothes and snowboarding gear to take back to Glasgow.

10. Run around Toronto like a maniac in a last minute attempt to see friends and eat myself to an early grave.

Friday, October 06, 2006

i think i have had more jobs in the past six months than i have had in the last six years.

Since moving to Glasgow, i have worked as a coffee slinger at a cafe; a personal assistant to one of the richest people in Glasgow; an assistant at the Opera; shadowed a journalist at Scottish Television; a temporary Orchestral Administrator at RSAMD; and on Monday i will be starting a new job at Glasgow University.

The new job at Glasgow University is out of my field of work (and study) but since the gig is only a six month contract and quite well paid, i swallowed my pride and accepted it. If only for the sweet dosh and the overwhelming student loans i have back in Canada.

As well, since this Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving, i will be making my first ever Thanksgiving meal on Saturday evening to celebrate. i'm cheating, however, and buying a hunk of Turkey, ready for the oven, from Marks and Spencers since i have never cooked meat in my life. i will be making my Nanny's famous stuffing, squash, various veggies, and pumpkin pie. It should all be quite expiremental cooking with foreign ingredients and having to convert measuring devices.

Since having such varied jobs, i suppose i have become much more cultured - if only through osmosis and peer pressure. Unfortunately, i now know the inner workings of operas and could critique the various music of Strauss. i'm not too interested in the opera, you see, and i wish that i could imitate the enthusiasm of some of my opera-going friends who were envious of my job. Although i enjoy classical music and yes, opera, going to high school in a small town leaves you with little musical options.

You were either a country music-lovin' hick, a headbanger, or just plain weird and into everything else apart from the former. The majority of my fellow Napanee peeps fall into the country-lovin', truck-driving, Giant Tiger shoppin' plebians. Not that i am bitter or anything.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Soccer Vs Football

This past week i have been shadowing a journalist from a TV Network in order to gain "work experience" as it is referred to in the UK. In Canada, it's known as being a sucker and working for free.

As such, i have been able to experience some interesting things these past few days. One of the highlights was attending a press conference at Murray Park for the Glasgow Rangers. Now, i'm not much of a soccer fan (or "football" if you're an uptight wanker), but after watching the young and fit players stretch and kick about a ball, i was well on my way to becoming a fan. Previous to being lead into the Holy Temple of Murray Park, i wouldn't know a Rangers player from any other ned off the street.

For most Canadians, we live a cushiony existence ignorant of violent sectarianism. In Scotland, it's a past time.

Basically there are two major soccer teams in Glasgow: Rangers and Celtic. If you're Protestant you support Rangers; if you're Catholic you support Celtic. i'm sure that there is a historical and well-reasoned arguement for this but any offers of such are still retarded. Why? Because if you happen to support the "wrong" team in the wrong place at the wrong time, you might just get the shit kicked out of you or worse, you could be killed. Some people say that times have changed but up until 1986, if you were Catholic, you could NOT be hired by the Rangers.

Being neither Protestant or Catholic, i say, go ahead; kill each other. Darwinism at its basic.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Cool Britannia?

We need to dispel of a myth: just because something is ancient (i.e. the UK) does not make it innately "cool".

Lots of indie kids i know in Toronto, tend to think of the UK as being hip - particularly hipper than Canada. Why is that?

In his famous essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechnical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin noted that in an age of mass reproduction and accessibility, relics of the past are seen to have an aura - most often an aura of uniqueness.

However, the UK is no longer a land of English roses, afternoon tea, and tartan-clad men; the UK, like most of the Western world, mass consumes exported American culture and regurgitates such influences. No longer do you have British gentlemen awkwardly opening doors for you but cheeky young boys heavily influenced by American black culture. It's a bizarre mixture of East and West coast America mixed in with middle-class British angst.

Sure, some people still swath themselves in the Union Jack for The Last Night of the Proms and dab their eyes when they play British anthems but for the most part, the UK is no longer the Empire of Cool like it used to be in the 1990s. And to be honest, it's quite annoying when people wax poetic about how "brilliant" and "cool" Britain is; of course, such poetic ramblings never come from actual British people - it's usually North Americans who make such statements. Brits tend not to boast about cool.

Listen, i'm not complaining. i love the UK. i love Scotland. Like most whities, my Grandmother is Welsh/British and fiercely proud. i just get frustrated when told by those who do not live here to suck it up because i'm living in the epicentre of cool. Yes, Scotland is cool but i'll be damned if i can find a decent coffee shop (not including Starbucks).

i'm not sure who currently holds the title to being the Empire of Cool but you know, Canada ain't too bad.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

i never thought i would agree with something Leah McLaren wrote but its happened.

Remember that article she wrote for the Spectator back in 2002 when she moved to London? Yes, that article about British men fearing women and therefore paralyzing their self-esteem, leaving them unable to properly court women? The article that caused a huge controversy this side of the Atlantic and a national debate about the sexual nature of British men?

Yes, well, i have to agree with Miss McLaren in her findings unfortunately.

Since moving to the UK almost five months ago, my self-esteem has taken a bash and my self-doubt has been on the uprise. i have to admit: i didn't seem that hard up in Toronto for dates or men who were interested in spending time with me. i was used to being asked out by men back home in Canada. Not so much in the UK. In fact, i have only been asked out once here - and i'm still not certain as to whether or not it was a date. There were other people there, at the pub, so surely that doesn't constitute a date...or does it?

However, i offer a somewhat convoluted and politically incorrect solution; a solution that is too taboo to even discuss in the UK. i propose my solution aware of the sensitivity surrounding it and can only offer it based on my own experiences.

Date working class boys.

Working class boys in the UK are a different breed than those in Canada. They look better, they dress better, and they know how to treat women: they still open doors, pay for meals, and do not shy away from making the first move. Working class boys would probably not be able to afford the gifts that Miss McLaren favours but they would still promise them nonetheless.

True, working class lads drink(a lot), most likely smoke (unbecoming) , are obsessed with football (beyond any sense of reason) and are perhaps unable to dissect 20th Century post-modern British literary theory (and could careless about doing so) but at least these lads are not wracked and consumed with self-doubt crippling them from interacting with the opposite sex.

Yes, proper young men with a good education, family and career could most likely afford someone such as Miss McLaren and gain all the right checkmarks on her list, but unfortunately, in this country, they still don't know how to properly kiss a girl and all those years at an all boy boarding school didn't help them either.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Haggis. The name alone alerts fear in the stomach and makes grown men wince. Made from sheep heart, liver, and lungs and peppered with oatmeal, onion and spices, haggis is boiled in a sheep's stomach and served with "neeps" and "tatties" (turnip and potatoes). Although haggis is considered a traditional Scottish dish, many Scots have never tasted it.

Recently, Scotland has once again seen a resurgence on the pop culture map - thanks to trendy Scottish bands like Franz Ferdinand, Belle and Sebastian and Scottish film, such as Red Road, garnering international acclaim.

Haggis, however, has yet to reap the benefits of Scotland's new trendy status. Haggis needs a PR make-over.

Having recently eaten (vegetarian) haggis, it is evident that haggis has fallen victim to a worldwide bad reputation because haggis is gorgeous! Unfortunately I don't eat meat, but people swear that veggie haggis resembles the real thing. In fact, the veggie haggis I had at Stravaigin - along with their crisp and fresh chips - has been the best meal I have had thus far in Bonnie Scotland. The haggis (both veggie and the real thing) at Stravaigin has been voted the best haggis in Scotland and at £7.95 and £8.95, respectively, is a deal. The haggis at Stravaigin - served with creamy and buttery neeps and tatties - is surprisingly spicy and hearty. Haggis is, of course, best finished off with a cold pint of beer.

Robert Burns - Scotland's greatest poet - once put it best, describing haggis as the "great chieftain of the sausage race". A great dish and sadly, a misunderstood one.

A blessing on your honest, hearty face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe, or chitlins,
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

Friday, August 11, 2006

You're On Notice!

Oh, what i would give to have The Colbert Report shown over! At least we get The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. A day later, of course.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

i have to come clean: i'm not much of a baby person. My insides don't liquefy in the presence of a poop factory (a.k.a. babies) nor do i long to be surrounded by babies. In fact, when i go to a dinner party or some social event at a friend's house, i get irritated when strangers bring their babies. Why? Because people suddenly go from talking about interesting adult subjects - like booze, drugs, music, and sex - to babies, nappies, and teething.

Everyone is suddenly enslaved by the baby at hand.

That being said, however, i find that Europeans are more "rugged", so to speak, with babies and i find that refreshing. For example, parents in North America seem to run on their babies schedule (i.e. nap time and feedings) whereas i find parents here will bring along their babies for adult things like coffee, lunch, and dinner parties and their babies just have to adapt.

So, it's both refreshing and annoying because it seems i am constantly engulfed by screaming mini-humans.

However - and this is a huge HOWEVER - i am in love. i mean, i am butterflies-in-the-stomach, longing-for, head-over-heels in love. My insides melt and i am awash with warm feelings and as if i am drowning in liquid hot butter. Yes, i am in love with that baby pictured.

Everything i ever thought about babies DOES NOT apply to my friends' babies. i'm a hypocrite, i know. But then again, you have probably never met this baby! This baby has a beautiful name - Bronwen - and is the creation of my good friends, Kate and Jason. Bronwen is one of the most beautiful creatures; yes, she is stunningly cute but she is also shy, delicate, and, of course, will one day be a brilliant and kind woman because she's the daughter of two great people.

Nevertheless, my whole point is that i've become a cliche and someone i never thought i would be: see, i've taken to printing off pictures of Bronwen and putting them up at work AND home. i've taken to talking about Bronwen to complete strangers who couldn't give a shit. But really, they have just never met this kid! i long to see Bronwen grow up and i was honestly devastated that i missed her 1st birthday. i have even taken to putting her picture on my computer desktop at work.

My Toronto single friends would be mortified.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Jennifer's Guide to Scottish Sweets - a.k.a. How to Rot your Teeth the Glasgow Way!

This waist betrays me; i've known my fair share of sweets in my day. i was a candy connoisseur before there were boutique candy shops to satisfy sugar-addicted folks like myself. i knew which local stores carried foreign and black-market American candy when i was a kid. Before boutique candy shops, you had to hunt around for those sugary sweets guaranteed to rot your mouth.

As such, i have carefully set about eating the sweets of Scotland, braving the cavities and calories of this land's offerings .

1. Tunnock's Snowball

Delicious fluffy marshmallows, whipped into a fervor, and covered in creamy milk chocolate. Do you need a cigarette? i do after writing that.

2. Coconut Ice
(Pictured above)

If you still have your own teeth beware of this achingly sweet treat. Chewy and creamy, this candy is pretty much made out of sugar and coconut. A bit like fudge only better.

3. Tunnock's Tea Cakes

i think i could probably eat at least three of these in one sitting. i think i'm addicted. For all you Canadians, they are kind of like Dare Viva Puffs only they aren't disgusting. Tunnock's Tea Cakes are filled with creamy marshmallow goodness and finished off with a biscuit bottom. i would move across the ocean for you, tea cakes! Err...

4. Caramel Shortcake

Ohmygod. Where do i even begin? The milk chocolate layer which is followed by creamy caramel? Or the buttery shortbread bottom that combines it all into one major mouthgasm. The first time i ate one of these, i had to take a nap afterwards from the sugar crash. My body was unable to digest such quantities of sugar (which is rare) and i could barely string together a sentence. When eating one, i would pencil in a nap afterwards.

5. Polly Pastilles

These are a mix between wine gums and jelly babies. i don't know how else to describe them other than being yummy and, of course, awful for one's dental hygiene.

6. Scottish Tablet

Ok, this might actually be one of the best sweets in the world - but only when it's homemade. There is quite a good restaurant here, The Pig and The Butterfly, who give out complimentary homemade tablet at the end of your meal. Damn, it's worth going to just for the tablet - let alone the food. i'm actually going there for lunch tomorrow and can hardly wait. Forget lunch - just give me mountains of tablet to eat my way out of!

7. Tunnock's Caramel Wafer

A Scottish tradition. A way of life. Milk chocolate enrobes caramel and wafers in this gorgeous wee biscuit. Again, best if they are fresh and haven't been sitting on the shelf at Tesco for months. Apparently Tunnock's makes "more than 4,000,000" of these biscuits every week. i probably account for 1000 of those.

8. Tunnock's Caramel Log

Kind of like the above but with coconut too. i worship at the House of Tunnock's.

Dear People of Scotland,

i've officially become desperate. Could someone please put forward a single lad who would be interested in going on a date with this Canadian girl? K. Thanks.

As a reference, here is my list of DO's and, more importantly, DONT's.


- don't be a drug addict
- don't have white boy dreads and listen to Bob Marley while practicising capoeira in Kelvingrove Park
- don't be some smug upper-class punk whose sense of entitlement allows for you to be an asshole
- don't be a mommy's boy
- don't be a religious fanatic who attends Orange parades
- don't be a football hooligan
- don't over drink (hard in this country, i know)
- don't think that a "Chinese take-away" is exotic food
- don't state that this country is being overrun with immigrants
- don't be a xenophobe
- don't be a junkie
- don't be on the dole


- do have your own teeth
- do be intelligent, charismatic, and witty
- do be a gentleman and open doors and shit
- do be educated and able to formulate your own opinion
- do drive me around Scotland, showing me all the sites
- do know that there is only one kind of hockey: ice hockey
- do have a job/career

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Glasgow on the Cheap or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Fish Suppers

You don’t know how or why but somehow you have found yourself in Scotland’s largest city – Glasgow.

Although Glasgow is the second largest shopping centre in the UK (after London, of course), it is still regarded as an afterthought with many slap-dash tourists making a beeline to Edinburgh. Sure, Edinburgh may have a castle and is home to Scottish Parliament, but can you get a deep-fried mars bar, a pint of lager for £1.50, check out Salvador Dali’s, Christ of St John on the Cross for free and get a warm smile from the locals all in one day? Unlikely.

Since moving to Glasgow four months ago, I have made cheap living not only a lifestyle but also an art form. You may be in your mid-twenties laden with student debt - like myself - or you may be a backpacker who has decided to go against the guidebooks and come straight to Glasgow. Either way, I have narrowed down the best of the best places to eat and drink in Glasgow on a budget.


There is no better way of appreciating and absorbing a culture than immersing yourself in the local food. While Glasgow may not resonate on the gastronomical map, it does have a lot of fine food to offer. Unfortunately a lot of the time, to eat well means spending more although it is possible to eat healthy and cheaply in Glasgow.

Canton Express – 407 Sauchiehall Street

Giving a new name to dirty Chinese food everywhere.

From the outside, your senses might tell you stay as far away as possible from this place. However, don’t be fooled – it may look unappealing but the food is ridiculosly cheap and good. It is recommended, however, to eat here after hitting up a club, as it tends to become livelier and more appreciated as the early hours pass. Open until 4am.

Ichiban Noodle Café – 50 Queen Street and 184 Dumbarton Road

One of the few authentic Japanese places in Glasgow, Ichiban offers cheap and delicious lunches for £5.50. From overflowing bento boxes to noodles, Ichiban has lots of healthy and scrumptious dishes.

King’s Café – 71 Elmbank Street

Loved by local band, Travis, King’s Café serves up cheap baked potatoes with any topping of your choice – cheese, tuna, sweet corn, etc – for around £2.50. The potatoes are properly baked and enormous; big enough to satisfy any hunger.

If you’re more adventurous, they also offer traditional Glaswegian meals: sausage suppers (deep-fried sausage with chips), chippy rolls (french fries/chips crammed between a buttered roll and doused in salt and vinegar) and the ubiquitous fish and chips (simply called fish suppers in Glasgow).

Koh-I-Noor – 235 North Street

Glasgow recently re-claimed the title of Curry Capitol of the UK – beating out 15 other cities – and eating out here, it’s obvious. Glasgow has some of the best Indian food I have ever eaten. When it comes to consistency, taste, and price, Koh-i-noor is one of the best. For around £10, you get a main dish and rice. However, the real draw is the all-you-can-eat buffet they offer. I have yet to partake in the buffet myself, although my dinner accompaniments often do, as I am too addicted to their prawn patia dish (highly recommended).

Pret A Manger – various locations

If you’re in a hurry and are somewhat health-conscious, Pret-a-Manger is a great option. They offer lower-fat sandwiches, wraps, rolls and salads as well as some vegetarian options.

Random Chippy/ Take Away Shop

If you’re the more daring type and want to do as the locals do, leave your concern for your health at home and check out any of the chippy/take away shops. They will happily oblige you in your quest to eat whatever you want deep-fried: pickled eggs, sausages, pizza, or fish. It’s all been deep-fried before. In fact, deep-fried pizza has become a quintessential Glasgow dish. Your stomach may regret it but your wallet won’t.


The best thing about living in a country that not only encourages but supports binge drinking is the drink promotions. Throughout the week, various bars will offer special drink promotions – usually a quality pint and/or mixed drink for around £1 to £2.00. Here are but a few samples.

Nice N Sleazy – 421 Sauchiehall Street

With a name like Nice N Sleazy, how can you go wrong? This bar is a legend in it’s own right – from the bands that have played here to the jukebox. It’s an institution. It’s also a great place to get shit-faced and put on some Minor Threat on the jukebox.

Brunswick Cellars – 239 Sauchiehall Street

Word of caution: do not go on a hot evening as this place tends to get crowded and rather warm quite quickly. Since this place is quite small and underground, the air circulation tends to be weak. I suppose they make up for it by offering dirt-cheap pints.

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – 272a St Vincent Street

The drinks might not be the cheapest in Glasgow but it’s worth going to nevertheless just for the history of this place and the music. Anyone who is anyone in contemporary indie rock has played here. It is now a confirmed legend that Oasis was first “discovered” here. It’s a small intimate place to see a live performance from up-and-coming bands to well-established artists. It’s been named as the UK’s Best Live Music venue for a reason.