I have gone away again. I was in Dundee this time.
I cannot remember going there before for any reason apart from ice hockey.
“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
In another “first”, I took the bus. Previously I have always driven or taken the train. It was an Megabus inter city, so it was fast (outside lane most of the way) and comfortable. Quiet too. I think the last time I took an inter city bus would have been in Thailand more than 25 years ago.
Those buses are also free for people my age. In Scotland. I did have to pay £1 to book a seat.
I changed hotel brand too – Staybridge Suites this time. It is one of the Holiday Inn/Intercontinental brands.
I did not get an upgrade in spite of being a member. On the other hand, it was a nice room anyway.
As was the case in Edinburgh last week, the hotel’s hygiene arrangements were excellent. Again as in Edinburgh, face mask etc compliance by staff and guests was 99% – the perfect record spoiled by one Covidiot at breakfast. The hotel was doing a buffet breakfast – which you could take back to your room (or away to work) if that was your preference – and it was well organised for safety. The same maskless Covidiot could not read the signs, obviously.
Scotland had a further relaxation of restrictions this week, which could have been seen by some as an excuse to ditch the masks and go back to kissing strangers in the street. You know, the Free Dumb Day types. I was relieved and encouraged to see good compliance continuing.
In Dundee I had a great dinner in a place called Gidi Grill. It is Afro-Carribean. Excellent food and service came with good value for money. I had a massive grilled pork chop, with jollof rice. It brought back memories of Ghana.
Unlike my Edinburgh trip, I did a tourist thing! I went to the V&A Dundee – “Scotland’s Design Museum”. It was opened in September 2018, and I had in mind to pay it a visit after the initial cavalry charge had subsided.
Then we had a pandemic. By then the exterior had reinforced my desire to have a look for myself.
Well, patience is a virtue.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2021
I celebrated my 50th birthday in Dundee. The temperature went down to a ridiculously low -10. My brothers and I found a pub where the beer was a pound a pint; the price reflected the ambiance and the clientele. The hotel was good, especially since an email from my company – which never actually did a day’s trading – secured a 50% discount. At dinner my father ordered duck à l’orange. When the waitress approached the table and announced “Duck”, my two brothers did. Happy memories.
In some ways it was a sad reflection of present times that I would want to stay the night in a city just 35 minutes drive away.