Start the day the Uzbek way

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A Uzbek breakfast

I’m really impressed with the “Full Uzbek” breakfast. Enough to last till dinner.

When I stayed in Tashkent I thought that the breakfast would disintegrate into bread, jam and Nescafé as I headed west, but I’ve not yet been disappointed.

It starts with little bowls of jams, cherries or yogurt. Add to that a small selection of filled pancakes both sweet and savoury. Then comes the basket of bread, a plate of cheese and a meat sausage and some butter. Next a pot of tea arrives (still chai here as well). You think that’s it, but the melon arrives closely followed by a plate of rice or bulgar wheat, tomatoes, potatoes and spinach topped off with an egg or two. There may be some sweets or sweet biscuits to end, or possibly a bowl of fruit. That’s a pretty good meal by any account; beats eggs, bacon and toast in a greasy spoon café on the A1 on a wet weekend.

Another Uzbek breakfast!

I’m not always sure about ‘Monarch of the Glen’ teapots though …

 

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But who are ye in rags and rotten shoes, You dirty-bearded, blocking up the way?

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The journey by car from Khiva yesterday was across the desert and the little four door saloon struggled to keep the engine temperature below boiling point. We left at about 9:00am stopping to collect a young German and two British youngsters on the way. The young Brit spoke Russian which was a relief as the car driver was a man of few words, and those were Russian. The drive from Khiva was initially quite easy, despite the driver spending more time looking at the map, the phone, the air-con dials and the stereo controls than the road ahead. Several times there was a near miss, the most serious of which was heading towards one of the big Kamaz trucks. Once onto the A380 highway it was super smooth concrete that went on … and on … and on. I had a vision of riding this on the XT660Z for hundreds of kilometres in the heat and I was glad I was in the car. We stopped at several gas stations, being ordered out of the car each time – which seems to be a local custom. I guess it keeps the casualty list low if something happens. At times the driver turned the heating on to try to lower the engine temperature; we were all wilting each time he did this.

Lunch was in a tin shed on the side of the road. It looked as grubby as my underpants felt. I looked at the options and decided I wasn’t eating anything meat, nor anything that wasn’t boiled in front of me.
Sadly there were no noodles on view so I had a cake thingy that was as plastic as the wrapper. When I paid for it the man behind the desk tried to short-change me, so I counted the change back to him. When I got to three he matched me with the English numbers and made up the shortfall. There seemed to be no bad feeling, just a part of the game I suppose.

I went out into the desert to have a pee, and walked away from the road. There is no other word to express the state of the place than Shithole. Literally and metaphorically. Apart from the faeces, there were hundreds of bottles, many broken, just thrown onto the sand along with tins, wrapping paper, and pretty well everything else that had been discarded. Amidst all this desolation were scorpion tracks. I went back to the tin shed and there was a Somsa (a mutton pasty) waiting for me. Unsure who had purchased it, I didn’t want to offend and found it was microwave hot. So much so that the thick juices burnt my fingers when I bit into the pastry. “Well, if it upsets my guts I’ve got a day to recover”, I thought. Twenty four hours later I seem to have survived.

We carried on for another few hundred kilometres, until we turned off onto potholes, ruts, cracks and diversions through gravel fields. It was never clear which way other cars were going to go, nor indeed our driver. It was a relief to arrive at Bukhara and the driver dropped the four of us at the edge of the old town which was walking distance to my guesthouse. Which wasn’t . When I made the booking it was for one guesthouse, but I had the acknowledgement from another place. It looks like the place has changed hands and has been upgraded as I’m in a hotel of three star quality, at guesthouse prices. I’ve got a bath, but more importantly a fridge. I’ve been increasingly concerned about the number of plastic bottles I’m emptying on a daily basis (I’m drinking 6-7 litres of fluids a day). I went and got a 5 litre bottle from the store next door, stuck it in the fridge and now I’m taking a little bottle out that I’m topping up from the big one.

I had a shower, went out and found the Kalyan Minaret and many other sights of Bokhara. One of those lost for superlatives moments. It is really impressive, especially as the sun drops in the evening.

This morning I went on the usual ramble around the town, ending up in the Jewish quarter without
realising it, and giving the wrong religious greeting to a group of men. Several shouted “Salom” at me and roared with laughter as I tried to apologise. I should have known by the shoes. I found a tea shop at the front of the Moghila Eshoni, and looked across the busy road to The Ark of Bukhara.

Had Stoddart and Conolly arrived in Bukhara 175 years later they would probably have had an ensuite room and had to deal with endless requests to “Mister, Change Money?” As it was Stoddart endured three years in a 6 metre hole full of biting things (probably not ensuite), before rescuer Connolly was thrown in the hole to join him. Stoddarts’ reason for being in Bukhara was to explain to the Emir Nasrullah Khan about Britain’s reasons for invading Afghanistan. [Note to HMG: Learn from history]. Their final ending on 24 June 1842 was to dig their own graves before being beheaded to the sound of drums and reed pipes.

There is no evidence of the graves they dug for themselves in the Registan in front of the Ark in Bukhara, indeed it is currently an area of paving stones. Out the back the bulldozers are destroying swathes of houses around the Ark’s walls. I bet there’s a lot of archaeology disappearing as well. I wandered briefly into this corner of a foreign field before the dust storm drove me off. The visit to the Ark, for which I paid 20,000 Uzbek Som (about $5) for a three day pass lasted about an hour. What I’ll find to do there on the other two days I have no idea. It was interesting to look at the relics, and to see the photos of the hapless pair staring down from the wall of the museum.

It is intensely hot here in Bukhara, and so I beat a retreat to the guesthouse where I was offered an upgrade to the room. The thought of having to get all the stuff out and move again doesn’t really appeal to me. After all, the sheets are clean and the door locks, which is all I need.

A day in the bazaar

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Despite being surrounded by the beauty of the place, I’ve spent a day mostly people watching. It was provoked by meeting this lovely man on my first circuit of the city. He was sat at the South Gate of Khiva. I asked permission to take his picture, and he turned and smiled. I showed him the picture and he stroked his beard and laughed. He is 86. I think this is my favourite picture so far. People are more interesting than buildings. I walked on from him and a man passed me and asked if I wanted to eat with him. I said that Al hamdullilah my stomach was full and he laughed, shook my hand and carried on. That’s not the first time that has happened. Just after lunch I passed a group of builders who called me over for chai (tea). Hospitality to a stranger.

After meeting the old man I found myself back in the bazaar, and as always was intrigued by it all. I found a little cafe, had more chai and watched the comings and goings of the world. It’s a fascinating place and much more lovely than Tesco. Apart from the fact it’s hot, people come and go, there seems to be little argument and there is a pace to it all. Perhaps its just too hot to move too fast. Well it was for me. Forty degrees C today. I’ve been keeping an eye on the liquids and was amazed that I shifted seven litres of fluid yesterday. Most of it goes straight out into my shirt!

Here’s some pictures:

The hottest place to visit was the coppersmith’s workshop. I found where he was working by the sound of beating metal. A little cell set into the old walls it contained several anvils and the furnace. He was sweating more than I was! Again I was welcomed in and invited to sit at his side. The request to photograph was allowed and nothing was asked in return.

Finally, Another shot of some more interesting and friendly people. I’d had lunch and wandered off around the corner to see the motorcycle. Mashura (l) Hamid (father) and Ozoda (r) run a café in the bazaar. When I stopped to look at the Jawa 350, Ozoda came to speak to me. With her father she rides the moto. She was amazed to hear that women ride motorcycles to travel the world. She was fascinated to learn that Lois Pryce had ridden across Iran and of @antsbk riding motorcycles across Tajikistan. Hope I’ve lit a fire!!

 

From the Man in Seat 29

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I’m sat on the night train to Urqench which leaves at 20:25 and arrives at 12:10 tomorrow. Apparently I ticked ‘compartment’ but not ‘air-con’ so I’m rather damp. 
At the moment it’s me and no one else. Bet that changes. (ps the Man in Seat 32 has arrived) 
Today was a transit day so I went out early, checked the train station and went for a wander finding an Orthodox Church with several big gold domes. I got back to the digs for a quick shower, checked out and headed off up the road looking for the last train station on the line which I never found. I did enjoy the suburbs with their vegetable gardens kept neatly, some with vines growing on frames. 

Back at Tinchlik having walked in a circle I headed for the Navoi National Park. Well it’s a bit of a faded national park. The great arching bridges are closed, although the one I walked over had holes in the steps and at times I wasn’t sure if they would carry my weight. 

Pretty well everything was in poor repair with old fairground rides, tatty paint and a general lack of care. There was a very nice three star hotel in the grounds though …


By a stroke of luck I found a cafe that was serving beer. It wasn’t bad having the main requirements of coldness and some alcohol, but the taste was a little soapy. Just as I was about to finish it, a policeman asked to share the table. I was looking for the catch but he just wanted to practice English. I excused myself after a while, and headed back to get my bag. The railway station stuff was a doddle – all I can say is that it ain’t Euston. The train has been here since 18:30 and there are not many lines or choices. 


I can’t wait. I still remember that big train ride across Northern India for three days. There’s already a community feel with kids running everywhere.


(pps the Man in Seat 30 has just arrived …)
At some time during the night we passed Samarkand, changed engines and the woman in Seat 31 arrived. I got up at 05:00 to see desert and was still looking at it at 11:30 just as we crossed a huge river, after which the outskirts of Urganch arrived. I bid the compartment conductor farewell and headed into a huge concourse, dodged the half-hearted taxi touts and headed for the restaurant. The last meal was breakfast yesterday. They’re putting half a sheep on the grill outside.

Once I’d eaten I headed back to the station to find the taxi touts had disappeared as had all of the taxis so the nice lady clippie on Marshrutki 19 took me under her wing, dropped me at the main bus stand and sat me on the stand for Khiva.

What a top place; everyone makes things so easy.

Always a little further: it may be beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow.

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Another great day in Tashkent.

The evening meal remained intact from last night’s roadside diner so after a sumptuous breakfast I set off for Chorsu Bazaar. It was far more than I expected, and there was much less. Let me explain 

In 1993 Pauline and I went through the meat market in Lahore, and it was an unforgettable experience. The stench of rotting meat was overwhelming, and the offal was thrown into an open drain in the centre of the road. It ran black with effluent and sewage. 

Since then I’ve been to markets in Vietnam and Thailand which have been so much cleaner and delightful. All Asian markets are places of fascination. Fresh vegetables, spices, fish, bread, meat and served up by a huge and rich ethnic diversity of people.

I think Chorsu is the best so far; all the sections were signposted and it was beautifully clean. 


No one paid any attention to me (except the money changers who were no problem at all) and I had some good banter with the spice sellers who were insistent on selling me dried tea, both green and black. I tried to explain that dried tea looks exactly like hashish to a British customs officer, but none of us had enough of each other’s language. I went to the end of the market and through an open curtain expecting to find a way out, but instead found a man sitting on a simple wooden bench. He motioned me to sit beside him, and I was about to speak when I realised he was praying. Instead of the formal rising and kneeling he would lean forward and sit up, as he quietly spoke the prayers. I waited for him to finish and I spoke a little Arabic to him and he laughed and we shook hands. A rare and special moment in the hubub of a marketplace.

The meat market was at the back and I braced myself for the odour, but there was none. There was a range of meat including, goat, horse and camel and it was spotlessly clean. 

I headed off into the Metro, emerging at Uzbekiston to be sent the wrong way by the duty policeman. I’m glad he did. I found the canal and the gardens and some lovely back streets where people were tending gardens. From everyone was a greeting. At the end of the road was the local ‘beach’ where several families were swimming or sunbathing. As I turned back onto the main road I found the first of many waterfalls, until I got to the Independence gardens where there was a wall of water


I got a bit artistic with the camera and as I was trying to be clever, a couple stopped and the woman walked into the water, across a causeway just below the surface.


She’d nearly reached the middle when the ever-present police started blowing their whistles. She was out of there faster than a rat up a drainpipe; she was definitely an Olympic sprinter!!

I was flagging a bit with the heat and stopped in the gardens by the statue of the Sorrowful Mother, with the eternal flame. A beautifully carved wooden avenue held endless brass pages of names. It commemorated the names of the 400,000 Uzbeks who died in the 1939-45 war. A somber moment.

I headed back to the Arch of Independence topped with the great sculptures of the storks.


For a capital city it’s a great place, yet strangely empty. I know it’s out of season, but it’s nothing like the tourist traps of European cities; and all the better for that.

Tea in the park, and the Metro home to sleep away the hottest part of today. Tomorrow? A long train journey …

We are the Pilgrims, master: we shall go always a little further.

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It started well. I arrived at Manchester in a downpour and the check-in agent took pity on an old man and gave me a better seat, and a priority check in sticker. Straight through, all the medication and sharps accepted without comment. In the queue in front of me was a Turkish family with a very mature son who had Down’s Syndrome. He was the love of his Mum’s life. His way of communicating was a strange strangled cry, that sounded Wookie-like. The family were sat in front of me on the aircraft, and I tuned out their conversations. What I hadn’t realised was that the lad was the Turkish Olympic farting champion both in volume and richness. The bovine emissions were fairly regular and the young woman next to me and I both took turns at gagging as the stench wafted over us.

It was a relief to arrive at Istanbul and I settled in for the long wait for the connecting flight. Had I realised how sloppy Turkish Airlines were, I’d have booked the one hour transfer rather than the six.

The flight came up on the boards about 22:35 (for the 23:55 departure) and I headed for the gate. After the smooth efficiency of the MAN-IST leg, the loading was an utter shambles. No information, standing in queues and then an official man shouting at everyone and pushing people. I resisted the urge to ‘push’ back. Welcome to the former USSR! At least I got a seat by an exit door. The departure time came and went and at 0115 we started to taxi out. As we got to the runway two women passengers started to batter each other and were separated by the flight crew. I was expecting a return to the terminal to have them taken off, but we continued. Arrival was due for 0600 at Tashkent and we landed at 0800. Many of the passengers burst into applause. Once the fighters had been taken off by the Police, we left and the Immigration and customs checks went without a hitch. The car that was waiting at 0615 was long gone so a young lad brought me to the digs and sold me a house brick sized pack of Uzbek Som for a tiny amount of Dollars.

After a wash and a shave I got the Metro into Tashkent. At every turn there was someone to help. Help with tickets, telling me where to get off. It’s a very friendly place. I found Amir Temur’s (Tamerlane) statue and the first of many gardens

I sorted a local SIM card and headed home through the parks, which are beautifully kept. There was a street market mainly selling paintings and old soviet-era badges. As well as gnomes. That’s solved the present problems!

As I wandered on, there did seem to be rather a lot of police everywhere. Without realising it I’d managed to miss the cordon and was at the front of the Presidential building. A man in plain clothes called me over; he looked like a taxi driver chasing a fare. “Your papers!” He demanded. Not really being switched on, I said “are you a policeman?” “No, I’m a secret policeman”  was the reply. I just stopped myself making any stupid comments about secret policemens’ balls and explained my plan.  I was shown the way and various uniformed and non-uniformed men appeared to firmly and politely guide me on my way. It was well done and without any shouting or cross words.

It’s a nice place. The Metro is a classic of great design and lots of marble. Sadly you can’t take pictures. There is a strange system of plastic tokens. For Som 1200 (about £0.25) you go as far as you want. One station or many. That’s not bad is it?

Pissing up a wall

It’s a bloke thing. You watch males entering a testosterone-fuelled debate where the language and the body language are crucially the same: I can reach higher than you. I remember this activity from primary school; in those days the pissoirs didn’t have a roof. For those of us of a ‘certain age’ the prostate currently limits this activity severely. As does a fall in testosterone. It’s pointless. 

On Thursday I did some work for a very large uniformed public service organisation. Due to a scheduling error I ended up spending an extra hour in the canteen, and boy, was there some pissing contests going on. Both men and women. Strutting, rutting and bullshitting. At the end of it all I was so glad I’ve left the world of that nonsense. 

On Friday I was part of a selection day and watched two young women from a traditional male-dominated uniformed service and was impressed at how they managed the male applicants. Both sharp-witted and articulate they chose their moments and opportunities and demonstrated their abilities.

On Saturday I took a young woman motorcyclist on an assessment ride. We had to deal with the issues of pissing contests first, and the whole maleness issues that surround motorcycling. Once that was cleared up, the ride was based around her needs, her progress points and how she wanted move forward. It was a delightful afternoon and we both learned a lot about riding.

I’ve almost reached the former age for compulsory retirement and the corporate world seems a long way off, and I’m very glad. The whole ruttting and strutting stuff is in the past and I’m glad. Grow up boys; the only thing you have to lose is your egos and the sooner you do the better. 

At Her Majesty’s Pleasure

February 6th, 2017 marks the 65th anniversary of the accession to the throne of Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. Poor old bugger. Sixty five years being a figurehead can’t have been that much fun. As I was in the area, I thought I’d pop-in and give her my regards, even though my views on unelected figureheads are not really in her favour. She was out, obviously not wishing to mingle with the unwashed that much, presumably chastising serfs elsewhere. And much to my relief as well, as I gave up-forelock tugging and genuflecting when I was about seven. She had however, made available a peasant’s cottage on the Estate for me to rest my weary head for the night. ‘Nearby’. Unfortunately ‘a man’ wasn’t available to carry my load to the cottage.

So I set off up the hill disregarding the stalking season warnings (I can’t see the guns being out in a howling gale) and was soon out of the forest and onto the moor with a stunning view across onto the snow-dusted peaks of Lochnagar. The gale was getting stronger as I headed on and I wondered if this was going to be the worst I would experience. Eventually I spotted a clump of trees in the distance, and in them two cottages. The second of the two was open, and had a small store of wood and a stove. There was however, no wifi, and no running water or any visible plumbing for that matter. The matter of the ensuite was resolved when a hole around the back, with a bucket of water, was discovered. Fortunately I’d bought my own stove and some delicious rations. A cup-a-soup, porridge and a packet of tortellini. And a hip flask. A very small and inadequate hip flask.

By 15:00 I was installed, just as three of Grampian’s Finest called in on their way down the hill. They reminded me of the impending blizzard and left. I set to with the saw and axe and built a pile of firewood ready for the onslaught. The waterboard people arrived a little later and once water samples had been taken from the river, they also left, reminding me of the approaching blizzard.

By 16:30 not only was I bored but bloody frozen. The stone cottage was working as an effective fridge, so I lit the fire, and collected enough water for the night. By 17:30 I was even more bored so the Tortellini were cooked and eaten. After doing the dishes, drinking sundry rounds of tea, I started on very wee drams. I had retreated to bed by 18:20, leaving the fire stoked up and a candle lit. I decided it would be unwise to change into pyjamas mainly as I hadn’t brought any. At 19:10 I got up to adjust the dampers on the fire which whistled like banshees in the strengthening gale. At 19:30 I had to wedge the front door shut to stop the rattling. Once I got used to the moans and rattles of the old house I dropped off, waking at 23:05 to find that both the candle and the fire had gone out. The wind was still howling but only a little snow was falling. This did not fare well for the morning. I woke another three times in the night, the last time at 05:10 to the deafening silence that usually means a blanket of snow has settled. At 07:15 I woke again and decided that enough was enough, and started breakfast. Instant porridge from a discount store is nothing like the branded version, so I poured in the last of the Dalwhinnie in an attempt to cheer it up. It didn’t and I then discovered the full extent of the disaster unfolding. There was no salt.

Gelder Shiel

Gelder Shiel

After cleaning the stove and sweeping out the room, I stepped out into a world of white, but only about 2cms deep. And the joy of that whiteness led to the discovery of a record of visitors in the night. Here, a deer; there a fox – and another; and a mountain hare; and isn’t that a stoat’s tracks? The views were perfect, but obscured by the approaching blizzard; Lochnagar was white, the red granite stones alongside the track showing in relief as they were coated with snow on the windward side.

I reluctantly left, looking back and taking photographs of the moor, the trees and the hills. Two grouse startled me, and in turn spooked a pair of red deer who went trotting across the moor with heads held high. I was too transfixed to get a quick photograph. At the high point of the track I was in near white-out conditions, but as I dropped in altitude the snow eased off until back by the castle it was merely light rain.

I stopped to tug my forelock at the security camera as I passed, and headed for the van. It hadn’t been that big an epic, and the rat hadn’t really been fed, but it was my first highland bothy for 11 years. Two day’s walking, a big(ish) load and the realisation that I can get on with being a mountaineer again. A small beginning, but an important one.

The Ben Alder Babes

So when your best mate says “fancy a threesome on Ben Alder?” you get excited. Really Excited. Then you find out it’s him, his missus and you.

“And by the way, you’ll need your own tent … ”

LostAnd at this point you don’t realise there’s a catch. It is (of course) that you’re the navigator. So we meet at Dalwhinnie, and with loads reminiscent of a Falklands’ marine assault, you prepare for a yomp. It’s a big yomp, too. With a 45kg pack you wonder why you are doing this, given that there’s a perfectly good bothy close by. However, he’s a politician. Using the time-honoured phrases “trust me” and “I love you”, you duly turn up with too much kit and a spirit of The Great Outdoors and An Adventure, and set off. After about three hours (broken only by passing BT Engineers repairing a Saudi Prince’s fibre optic broadband) you get to the end of the track. Then you realise that there is still another hour to go.

wtf_004The views are stunning as you crest the ridge at the back of the VERY expensive house. You fail to realise that it won’t look like this tomorrow. You scrutinise the lines and decide on the ‘safest’ route.

The morning dawns and of course you can’t see a bloody thing. It’s a whiteout from start to finish, and there’s always an edge nearby. Somewhere. About there. Where? Oh F***!

wtf_003If in doubt always send the lardy lad off on the end of the rope. Rope???? Oh, I thought you had it? Ah well …

wtf_002With the aid of the GPS and a bit of ‘aiming off’ we got there. Then there was only the issue of getting off, which was almost as bad as the getting there. It was a long journey, but enlivened by falling into snowdrifts, bogs, swamps and other delightfully Scottish Things. Eventually we arrived back at the tents and submerged into an ecstasy of tea, more tea, hot meals and of course a Wee Dram. Bolstered by a surfeit of Dalwhinnie (which we recycled during the night) we slept long and deep until the time to clear the tent, pack and depart came.

wtf_001Of course, the weather on departure day was bright, fresh and crisp. It always is.

Oh and by the way – best avoid Dalwhinnie 10 year old Fine Malt. There’s probably more than a little Welsh Pish in it …

Wait! Wait a minute … What did Renton say?   “But what they forget is the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it. After all, we’re not fucking stupid. At least, we’re not that fucking stupid.” 

Really? Bollocks!

It’s been too long …

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Winter has always been Scotland; the pursuit of the Quality Winter Mountain Days (QWMD) for the log-books, the Friday night dash up the M6 and the bleary return on the Sunday boosted by copious volumes of Red Bull. Then there was the Munro bagging thing, provoked by my mate who now seems to be off bagging continents and countries by airline, and collecting garden gnomes. When you go soft, you go soft … Occasionally there have been stays in hotels – although I doubt the owners of a hotel in Callander would want us back after the epic drying of soaking clothing after one assault on Ben Vorlich that was more like swimming. But I digress.

I was looking at my Munro records and was alarmed that the last entry was 12 May 2007, for Beinn Alligan. That’s nearly ten years. 2007 is memorable for completing the GR20, and the subsequent onset of arthritis in my toes. For several years, walking was a challenge let alone going uphill. 2007 also marked a return to motorcycles.

blog_munro_smalljpgOver the last two years, I’ve been working away at the feet and getting up to four hours of walking a day. That’s one day at a time. Two consecutive days hasn’t been possible, until last week when I managed two four-hour days. There was some excitement, as well as stiffness. That’s stiff knees, nothing else!

It just so happened that three day’s work in Aberdeen has arrived, and it’s a long way to drive without going a bit further west. A plan has evolved for a two day wander taking in the best things of a Scottish winter mountain trip; A bothy, a hill, and the resumption of a way of life.

Choose life …

Which reminds me. Trainspotting 2. What an awesome film. A few nods to the original, and a great pointer to the future. And there’s a link to Munro Bagging – not just Renton’s oratory on Corrour Station “We’re ruled by effete arseholes” which has a poignancy given who has just been elected POTUS – and the reason we do it. It’s easy to resort to the classical responses from Mallory, and the “all of life to me” stuff from Winthrop-Young.

I’ll let Renton have the last word (he was talking about munro bagging of course):

People think it’s all about misery and desperation and death and all that shite, which is not to be ignored. But what they forget is the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it. After all, we’re not fucking stupid. At least, we’re not that fucking stupid. Take the best orgasm you ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you’re still nowhere near it.

Renton? I bet he rides a GS!