Glasgow, beautiful place with a smack in the face
Back from London for more than a week now, a bit refreshed, I’m finally in the mood to write that piece on Glasgow. Did I write about hidden and unintentional racism, this time I’m writing about a great city to visit with ‘in your face’-poverty.
No seriously, seeing homeless on the street has always made an impact on me, but somehow in Glasgow even more. It slapped me in the face, because it’s in plain sight for everyone to see and seemingly so little who care. But ofcourse it also raises the question how much can you do?
Do a project for the less fortunate? Already on my bucket list, but I did wanna highlight it after my trip.
Anyway let’s just start with my log in order of time. We’ll get there, when we get there.
Nice surprise! The drummer of the band messaged me early on to tell me a nice surprise would be waiting for me at the airport. I totally forgot about it, but the weekend I went, was Easter weekend. Everyone had the great idea to take a flight to probably visit their families or celebrate a couple of days of freedom. The band were standing at least for more than 30 minutes in line for security check.
But.. BOYAAAH. Even with another camera check (as ever) in less than 15 minutes I was through security and met the guys, who apparently had the same flight and alreay started filling their tanks with their needed percentage of alcohol to function as they do ‘properly’.
Since this time things weren’t arranged as planned I was going to miss out on their show this weekend and planned to explore the city of Glasgow. With or without them, it was a perfect moment to practise with the lens Meyke from XXL focus recommended me to use for the upcoming bodybuild event.
Transport to the hotel
I said goodbye tot he guys at the airport and headed to shuttle busses (nr. 500). It turns out it’s just a 15 minute ride from the airport tot he city centre. Wherever you’d like to stop, just hit that STOP button and you can hop off at different stops near your hotel or place you need to be. The same stops on the opposite side can take you back as well. For 7,50 a single transport is arranged. No worries.
I’d like to live dangerously and adventurously and so.. No I’m just a little lazy and laid back when it comes to traveling. I don’t really plan out every step of the way and trust I’ll get to the point I need to be that day.
I knew my hotel was in the centre and more than that I didn’t know. I decided to hop off at the central station of Glasgow and ask my way there. Turns out it was just a 10 minute walk and surprisingly close to the head roads. Let’s say the most popular streets to visit, like buchanan street. Almost right next to a public transport station and the University of Glasgow. Awesome!
It was raining a little bit, but that didn’t bother me. I was mesmerized by the buildings and the overal look Glasgow has. It’s gorgeous! Victorian achitecture and work from the architecture Mackintosh. I was glad I took a walk, so I already knew my way around and enjoyed my view. The sun shining from time to time through the buildings from the sloping streets. I dont know why, but the view felt amazing.
After 10 minutes I was it. The side of the hotel I’d be staying. I though yaaaas, it looks so pretty, so luxurious, daaaayum! So I walked in and told the receptioniste my name. And she said: yes! I see you’re staying with us, welcome! You’re in the wrong building though. You’ll have to enter the building next to us, thank you!
Ah, yikes.. a little less luxurious it was :’) I walked in like a Kardashian on her way tot hat soft bed, but I had to at the budget version of the hotel. Hehe. OOPS.
But fort he money I paid it absolutely looked tres chic for me! Nice bathroom, nice bed, usb charging fort he stupid ass who forgot her universal adapter x’D
Also: the greatest guy at the reception desk. He was so nice and enthousiastic telling me the way around and helping me with anything I needed so fast that…
here it comes… My mouth fell open and I just kept staring.
(OMG, was he that handsome? I can hear you think)
NO, NO people, he was talking so fast for me with a massive accent that my brain instantly crashed. And for a Dutchie my Enlish is quite reasonable, but it was so obvious my brain had crashed that he asked me. “Ehm.. should I repeat all of that? Because if you cant understand me because of the accent you should say so”
*A whole creation of the universe later
Eh, yes. Yes, please :’) It’s like my CPU can’t catch the words and is overheating at the moment.
Anyway Holiday Inn Express, give that guy a raise, best vibes I got ever from someone who works at a hotel or hostel. If I could be that nice to customers every day and truly meant it, I’d be the queen of good karma, really.
Nappie, me love you long time
Another two minutes later I fell asleep on the bed for more than two hours. Remember I told you guys I took a mandatory break after Glasgow? Well, I guess I could have known there already. I was running out of battery.
First exploring mission
A bit revived, I took the map the guy at the reception and figured out what things I wanted to do. Handy map: lot’s of things that are free and awesome to visit were pointed out, which made it easy for me to make a red line for a walking route.
For the first night I decided to take out the camera, walk around on the main streets the receptionist pointed out for me and treat myself on a typical scottish meal from one of the better restaurants in town.
I decided it to be the end point of my route and walk passed some points I should see according to the map. I also made a stop at a supermarket to buy some food and water, and came out with my precious chocolate honeycombs which they dont have in Holland. I first met in Sydney and it’s my long lost summer love, who I cant get enough of and will give me a heart attack if it will sold in our stores xD
Through the lens
I walked passed the city chambers, important squares, Merchant Hous of Glasgow and more, but everywhere I looked I noticed it. The homeless people. On every corner, in rows on the streets, quiet, hanging on to their sleeping bags and coffee’s. People on the shopping streets walking right passed them, turning their head away. I was taking pictures the whole time I was walking and I coud look at peoples faces through the lens, bit of a stalker, arent I? and I could see they deliberately turned their heads away.
Strange thing, I’m used tot he homeless here in Rotterdam (not all! and it’s getting worse) mostly to be addicted and begging you for money, turning away your food of drinks, only in it for those last penny’s to buy the fix they feel they need so much.
I couldn’t help but to see, these people didnt ask for money. Didn’t harras anyone. Just sitting there with cardboards saying: “I’m so sorry for asking, I will tell you sorry for asking, I’m hungry. Please.”
So the first person I saw on the corner and felt burning questions, I asked how come there are so many of you on the streets. How is it possible. He was a bit nervous to ask where I am from and why I had a camera. He was probably wondering what I was recording and for who. I told him I was just curious and that I had just arrived.
He didn’t ask me for money. He just asked me, lady please. Could you please look after my stuff, a cardboard and little backpack, so that I can go to the station here and visit the toilet and maybe buy me a coffee with the money I know have.
I agreed and waited. Not sure whether I was doing the right thing or if I was in a naive state of mind again. I always think the best of people, but know there are so many out there who take advantage of the sadness that I feel. That’s why I have the rule I’ll feed another if need to, but not just give you any money right away. You have to earn my trust a little. And I can’t help any person I see, how gladly I would if I could.
Just a couple of minutes later he returned with a coffee and some bread and thanked me for looking out. Still not asking me for money or anything else. So I gave him some change I had and told him to buy himself his next coffee from it.
In the minutes he was gone I was standing at the corner, having enough time to watch people doing what they do. Walking the streets, on their way home, on their way to go out, on their shopping trip, busy busy. I had my eyes on the next homeless person, sitting just 10 meters away from the corner I was waiting. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10. So many couples and people walking by. Until one woman restored my happiness. She had a goal so it seemed, made her way through the walking stream of people and reached out to the guy. It made a perfect picture, the moment she did, the sun shined through the streets, causing a flare on my lens, capturing the moment that should make a human body warmer.
You know it’s not only about giving something everytime you see someone on the streets. I mean where’s the balance, ofcourse. But there is a thing where you just say hello to someone. Acknowledge the person is there and that in fact he or she is a person, not some trash on the sidewalks. If anything I think that is more important, knowing you’re not being ignored. I’ve had more than one discussion about how were treating the less fortunate, because of lack of empathy, but mostly the most dangerous reason: fear. Fear to give, for more to come.
Because I can tell you, it was cold outside. Cold and raining, windy even. Can you imagine the temperature dropping and you have no where to go, laying on the streets in the rain? People ignoring you, not knowing your story, but they think well enough to avoid you with a bow on the streets.
It must be horrible. What makes it more horrible is that it’s not just a set of adults. I’ve seen a girl my age, not waking up, while a man tried to wake her, she looked white and cold. He tried to give her a warm drink, but she looked too tired to respond. A yound boy of barely 15 next to a dumpster across the emperium of Armani with just a sleeping bag. Nothing else. Binging the honeycomb bar I gave him, like he hadn’t eaten for a while. A kid, you guys. Older people who shoud be taken care of by us, a bad course caused by war, divorce and more. Here’s to your years of service. The cold streets.
And still, none of them who actually asked for my money. Only so glad I had a candybar to share. Thanking me with their hands against eachother, bringing them to their forheads. Instantly eating them. It made my heart cry.
What I don’t get, ofcourse I know so little when it comes to Glasgow’s care of homeless and why they’re all homeless, is that I’ve visited so many churches, but none of them house homeless, they’re full with tourists. Do they take in these people? Can someone tell me?
For the first time on a city trip the sadness overwhelmed my happiness from being away from work. And how I’ve been sad I can’t find a job yet that fits to my expectations and dreams. I for fuck sakes have one and a home with parents who feed me, dry clothing. A good eyeopener to be thankful.. Once in a while you have these moments. It’s good and great to chase your goals, it works best if you have them. Not being content doesn’t mean you’re greedy, as someone said to me, it motivates you. But don’t forget who you’ve met along the road, who make your life a little easier, even when you sometimes yearn for something else than you already have.
Food: City Merchant restaurant, excellent
Feeling like this, the more the food tasted wonderfull to me. As I told you it was cold, and at the restaurant I ate a hot dish and it felt so good my body warming. I couldn’t care less people looked at my table, facing to the window eating, cirkeling things and drawing things on my map.
I wanted to try something typical and so I ordered haggis and roast lamb with pie, mashed potatoes and veggies. Best comfort food.
The dishes were deliscious and service was great. I’d totally recommend this place! Next time I’m going for the seafood, which is actually their specialty.
Depsite the soft bed, I didnt sleep well. My body was giving into the tiredness and I felt the stress kicking in. Sore muscles, allover feeling of fatigue. Questions in my head about the things I’ve seen. One of them all too familiar: what do you want from life?
Early in the morning I received a message the show went well and ofcourse a wild night had occured, what else.
I had some breakfast and headed to see the guys, who looked like little morning heaps of crap xd
Still in the mood to see more I left them, because it took me a little to long for me to wait ont them and headed to the Lighthouse, Teahouse and the Necropolis.
Such a beautiful location and interesting as it is so old and been there since the victorian times, reading memories on the tombstones of families and what more. We’re a strange kind, we do our best so much to remember people that have gone, while being born and leaving life are the two things to life. Emotion and ratio, the two rare things that make the human being, and possibly the things that make life so weird and hard. Otherwise we would just live survive and die like animals, but we dont. We seek something while we’re alive, we try to reach something while were alive, some try to leave something of importance, a legacy tot his life, while, what do we have tot his memory when were gone? Besides maybe our names inspiring others. What does our essence and name mean?
I ended the day at a burger restaurant. Worn out. I had nothing more to do. I decided a weekend is more than enough to see from glasgow what you need to see. I could ve gone out, but I wasnt looking fort hat.
Easter suday! I went tot he hairdresser to go home fresh and then went to the airport where I met the guys again.
The weeks after you know. Completely zoned out and prioritizing.