Greetings! Last week was a bit of a blur. Ladies' hols means no practice last week (too much information!) And when I was finally ready to practice, it was time to fly off to Edinburgh for the Film Festival. Hehe.
Yup! One of my BFFs, y'know, the one whose wedding in Bali I went to last year... She's just produced her first feature film (WHOOHOOOOO!) and it's been making its rounds in this year's film festivals. Don't mess with this chick; its international debut was at the Berlin Film Fest, no less! So she invited me to join her and her Director in Edinburgh for its screening there.
Her Director is such a talent. He wrote and directed the film, and it's also his debut film. Because I know he trawls the internet after each festival, I'm not putting his name nor the title of the film in print here. HA! Instead, here's a picture of the credits. HAHAHA!
It's a whimsically sweet Taiwanese film, filled with lots of laughs too. I highly recommend it (it also made it to the "Best of the Fest" line-up). I am super proud of the both of them. Feature films are such a monumental task, let alone an independent film and the very first one at that! To have such critical acclaim and commercial success (which this film did back in Taiwan) at the first go is such a job well done!
They were the film festival rockstars, and I got to be their groupie! HAHAHAHAHA! Although my friends were very modest about it, saying how it's nice that the Edinburgh festival is more low-key than the rest.
As Resident Groupie (with a capital G), I got my own festival pass and got to watch the films for free. We had such grand plans to watch so many films... but it gets to the point where you realize: One can't actually watch THAT many films in one day. Er... especially film festival-type of movies. Maybe it's just me and my love of fluffy films. Heh. Although we did see a REALLY GOOD documentary, titled "Restrepo". It's a documentary about the experience of the American troops in the Korengal Valley in the mountains of Afghanistan. It's considered the most hardcore posting in that war - but what's even more hardcore were the 2 documentarians who spent FIFTEEN MONTHS in combat with the troop. It's pretty in-your-face; you're right in the midst of gunfire, and witnessing the troop advance on the ground. It's also a stark look at how POINTLESS and DESTRUCTIVE war is. I could go on, but I won't.
So anyway, on Friday when I arrived, we took a slow walk around town. Edinburgh is really pretty. BUT... in a really oppressive, medieval type of way. The rock walls on the buildings are really different, but I dunno what it is about the place that kinda didn't really "grab" me. I think it's the oldskool stuffiness of the medieval era that conjures up images of oppressed peasants that makes me really uncomfortable. I think.
My photos turned out beautifully though. Check out the Castle. It's right in the middle of town, high above the rocks. The "highlands". HAHAHA (no, that's not really the highlands, I don't think.)
The cobbled streets in town are also really charming.
It almost makes me want to yell out "Rapunzel! Rapunzel! Let down your hair!"
If I needed a defence lawyer, I would go to these guys.
We went and did a poncey thing: High Tea at the Balmoral Hotel. HAHAHAHAHA! They didn't have any cucumber sandwiches, but lots of roast beef, salmon and egg sandwiches. The chef very kindly made a separate plate of veggie only sandwiches for me. I like how you eat your way from the bottom of the tray all the way to the top.
Of course I had to have jam and scones. I dunno, are scones vegan? I made an exception. I also made an exception for the strawberry tarts coz they just looked too good. Oops. :)
And this being Scotland... What should you do but make your way through all the WHISKEY? I don't drink coz I'm allergic to alcohol, but I happily went bar-hopping with my Whiskey-mad friends. There are HUNDREDS of different brews. (Do you call them "brews"?)
Here's a pretty bar we stopped at the first night: Bennetts Bar.
(Those are ALL Whiskeys on display)
So I had the next best non-alcoholic beverage, only available in Scotland: Irn Bru. Pronounced "Iron Brew". It looks and tastes just like Fanta Orange. It's full of artificial colouring, flavouring and sweeteners. Super sweet!
The next day, we had the screening of my friends' film. Before they screened it, the Director was invited to give an introduction, so he went up to the front to speak. The two little Taiwanese chickadees sitting in front of us gasped in awe when they realized he was sitting right behind them. It was too funny! I took a picture of them taking a picture of him. HAHAHA!
The theatre itself is a rarity these days. Complete with oldskool columns.
And after the film, there was a Q&A with the Director. Here are my groupie photos in action.
Then we did more sightseeing afterwards, walking up to the Castle. On the way there, we spotted this Scottish bagpiper group in full regalia. (What are the odds?!)
Further up the trek to the Castle, there came a Marching Band through the streets. Yeah, someone made a comment "Is that the Queen?" which is why you hear me talking back. HAHAHA.
This is what the Castle looks like from right beneath it. I guess it must have helped fend off attackers back in the day!
Of course, when we got up there, we decided NOT to go to the Castle instead coz my friends wanted to stop off by "The Whiskey Experience". Yup... it's a tourist tour of... er... Whiskeys. HAHAHAHAHA! We didn't do the tour but ended up at the bar there instead. I snuck into part of the Whiskey tour and took photos of this jaw-droppingly beautiful room: WHISKEY GALORE.
That was apparently the largest private collection of Whiskeys in the entire world, and one of these big alcohol conglomerates bought it for an undisclosed sum, where it now sits in the middle of Edinburgh, as part of "The Whiskey Experience" tour.
This is apparently all the aromas in a Whiskey. Look at the bottom right - is that a pair of leather shoes?! In a Whiskey?!
Here's the bar we sat at. Again, another awesome display of ALL WHISKEY!
(Kinda makes you wonder: Are the Scots just drunk on Whiskey all the time? ...or maybe it was just my friends. HAHAHA!)
Another pretty street shot just outside The Whiskey Store.
Guess what we did after all that Whiskey? ...Er, we went to the pub! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! We found the one pub in town that wasn't playing the football. (to my American readers, that means: No World Cup!)
And we ended up going to the closing party of the festival at a space called "The Cave". It's a venue tucked under the bowels of a medieval bridge. A really cool space for parties, but it kinda smelled like mushrooms and was claustrophobically damp. Needless to say, we didn't last too long.
What did we do? ...Er... went for yet another Whiskey nightcap at the bar around the corner from the hotel! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
All in all, it was good times with good friends this weekend. I had such a blast. Have I mentioned already how much I'm loving this European experience? It's just so easy to hop from country to country and be in such a different place, I mean: country, altogether.
I've got more updates from this week (already!) but will save that for another day. Today's been a long post all about Edinburgh, so let's just keep it at that. Also... Almost 2 weeks with no proper practice (does the 108 sun salutes from like... er... a week ago count?) I am getting back on the mat tomorrow. YIKES! THIS IS GONNA HURT!!!