Monday, November 7, 2011

Remember, remember...

Those of you who are up to speed on your British holidays probably know that Saturday was Bonfire Night here in the UK. You might know it better as Guy Fawkes Night. Whatever you call it, it is a pretty big deal around here, and it was loads of fun.

Around 7pm, a group of us left the dorm and headed to Holyrood Park, home of Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags, which is conveniently located just behind our residential complex.

Salisbury Crags
We were situated just below where the rock face starts going vertical.

Dozens, maybe even hundreds, of people ranged over the hills to get a good view of the city. And what a view it was! As far as the eye could see, delighted revelers set off fireworks. I've seen many a fireworks display in my time, but never quite like this.

The whole of Edinburgh was aglow with tiny, distant explosions; little pops of color that would sparkle and then fade as you shifted your attention from one side of the city to the other.

I tried to capture the experience on my camera. You'd be shocked to learn that the iPhone does not make the best video recording device, but I think you can still get a sense of the effect from what I recorded. Take a look.

I apologize for the shoddy camerawork, particularly at the end; some jerks decided to walk in front of my shot. What I hope you got from that is that the celebration was happening all over town, and it was truly an amazing thing to witness from our perch halfway up Salisbury Crags.

It was chilly. 

After we had had our fill of the fireworks (which was long before they were actually finished), we made our way down the hill and started to head for home. It was around that time that the people on the hill itself decided to set off their own fireworks, so we were treated to a series of close-up displays, made all the more exciting because I knew these fireworks were being set off from the side of a mountain, amid large groups of people. Hooray for danger!

But lest you worry, dear reader, please know that I was not close enough to the actual setting off of the fireworks to be in harm's way. So you can put your minds at ease.

When we reached the entrance to our housing complex, we decided not to go home and instead to have a mini-pubcrawl. First we hit up a pub aptly named the Ale House, where a live musician serenaded us as we consumed a couple of pints and a bowl of chips and cheese.

For the North Americans among you, that is French fries with shredded cheese on top. And before you start thinking "but wouldn't melted cheese be easier to eat on top of the fries?", let me assure you that the heat of the fries melts the shredded cheese, making a delicious pile of cheesy goodness.

Not unlike sratchos* 

Once the chips and cheese were gone, it was off to our favorite local pub, the Montague, and then home to watch my favorite Guy Fawkes Day classic, V for Vendetta.

All in all, the best Bonfire Night I've had in years.

*sratchos (n.) - nachos made in a sorority (or "srat") house by melting cheese on top of tortilla chips in a microwave

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