You know what’s really amazing? When you can brush your teeth with tap water from the sink. Which you can’t do in Moshi. In Moshi (aka Africa) you have to use filtered/purified water in a bottle to wet your toothbrush, rinse your mouth and clean the toothbrush. Is this difficult work? No. Not at all. But it’s one of those small teeny things that I take for granted every single day in America. So when I got to my layover in Amsterdam two days ago and could brush my teeth at the sink in the public bathroom I was so excited I brushed extra long and with extra vigor. And smiled the whole time.

But anyway, there’s something else (almost) as awesome as drinkable, safe tap water. Edinburgh!

Aside from the dreadful exchange rate, Edinburgh is a gorgeous city. Cobblestones everywhere. Old and dazzling buildings, a touch of wild place in Holyrood. And aside from that there’s the Fringe, which means tons of free comedy shows and street music. (And crowds, but let’s be positive shall we?)

The night I arrived I took a shower (Another amazing thing! Dependable hot water!!) and headed out on the town to see what I saw. I ended up at a free comedy venue and met two wonderful ladies — Ellen (hailing from Texas and studying abroad in France) and Nicole (an occupational therapist from Chile). Having met the day before on a walking tour, they had been taking in the sites that day together. For the night, we became three, giggling hysterically and laughing together over cultural differences and language barriers and sharing bits and pieces of our life stories. It was a wonderful reminder (again) of the people you can meet while traveling — they pass in and out quickly but they make life really fun while they’re there.

Speaking of making friends, the hostel isn’t so easy to meet people at. Maybe if I was a big partier, or more outgoing, but the hostel has about 200 beds. So even though 14 or so people share a room it feels a little more like a hotel. Like it’s kind of awkward with that many people to say hi and introduce yourself and share your story with everyone. There’s just so many people. And, with The Fringe going on, many of them came here for the specific reason to see shows and party hard. They have schedules to keep!

But that’s ok, because I did some exploring on my own yesterday. The second sunny day in a row, I walked about a mile to the start of the hike of Arthur’s Seat, which is basically the top of a very large and wild-looking hill in the middle of Edinburgh. About an hour to get to the top, the place is a little like a “microcosm” of Scottish landscapes (so says lonely planet) — there’s green-topped rocks, miniature cliffs, rocky summits, green rolling stretches and at least one loch. Basically, it was awesome and I have some pictures to share here. Not sure they’re as awesome in picture form as they were in person, but, you know, that’s kinda always the case.

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The hike was really fantastic. After days sitting pretty still in Moshi it was awesome to get moving again. And the city itself helps with that too — the whole place is hilly as all get out. I love it.

The only thing that’s weird here to me is the food. There’s baked potatoes everywhere. You can get cheese on your falafel wrap. There’s mayonnaise to dip your fries in. There’s mayonnaise and tomato sandwiches. There’s baked potato and coke “meal” combos. It’s a little…disgusting.

I can’t really tell if people are fit here (because there’s so many tourists) but it feels like they can’t be. Right?

Anyway, today is rainy so I devoted it to writing some fiction before meeting up with Ellen for dinner. So, im going to get to it!

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