Monday, November 9, 2009

DAY TWO: The Docks of Edinburgh

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."--Thomas Jefferson

21 October 2009

Our second day in Edinburgh we walked down to the docks, and the shopping mall nearby. First we took a long walk down Leith Street where we found about fifteen places we could eat over the next three day—cheaper than the food on the Royal Mile. Oddly enough, we didn’t end up eating at any of these places; we ate on the Royal Mile. It took us a while fo din a way down to the docks, but we finally did.

It definitely wasn’t pristine down there, but it smells and sounds like the ocean and that’s enough. When I saw it I felt home-sick, not because I lived by the ocean, so much as what it represents, that it represents home, someplace I feel peace and wish I could be most of the time.

Before we left for the docks, we asked the lady at the front desk of our hotel about the lighthouse, and she had no clue what we were talking about. It occurred to us that maybe lighthouses aren’t as important to people in the UK as they are to Americans—or at least to my family, we always visit lighthouses.

We didn’t get particularly close to it, but I did find something slightly resembling a lighthouse, and so I’ve dubbed it the Edinburgh lighthouse, even if it isn’t really.

The ocean is like a memory, always constant memory—even when it is right before you. It’s as if you forget how you miss it until you’re in it again, and so memory is turned and all you’re doing is remembering the time before. The cold, the breeze, the salt, the sound of the gulls, and it fills you up. That’s what I thought when I got up that morning, I thought, “I’,m glad we’re going to the seaside, I need to be filled up again.’ I didn’t think it in those exact words, but I realize now that I awaited the healing power of being near seawater, that somehow it really does pour energy and inspiration back into you. I’m guessing that’s why my parents never take us to Kansas for our family vacations. There’s something about the ocean.

We walked down by the docks a little hwile and then stopped into a mall to warm ourselves again. IT was there we decided on tickets for ‘The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.’ My first movie in the UK—in Scotland—FINALLY! (Current plans are being made for ‘Bright Star’ on this coming Wednesday or Friday. I am content.) The movie wasn’t for two hours, so we walked down by the docks into the nicer part of town, an found a Sihk temple, sat by the water and talked.

Then the movie. I loved it. Jackie and Julene didn’t care for it as much, they thought it was strange and said it was ‘dollar-theatre’ worthy. I scoff. That’s an insult, but that’s because I don’t believe in dollar-theatres, and as Charles Ballard says, ‘Movie-snobs of the world, unite!’ Because he and I have had several conversations about how we are definitely movie-snobs, but I think my whole family is, secretly. For example, my Dad, when told that I wanted the Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn movie ‘Charade’, told me I wasn’t allowed to buy the cheap version off of Amazon, because the print wasn’t a good one (in so many words, that is). Luckily, I got around this by getting it for Christmas from my roommate who doesn’t know about such things.

 The idea behind ‘Dr. Parnassus’ was that he believed stories kept the world going, that they enlightened, enriched, and made people better, but the devil believed that without stories, the world would continue and so they made a wager—Dr. Parnassus would have to prove his theory and in return receive immortality—and so he did, for years. But as the times changed, people became less and less interested in his stories. His imaginarium posed such a world: choices. Everyone perceives the world differently—and then there are choices to be made—different for everyone, between good and bad, moral and immoral.

But it raises the question: Do stories keep the world going? Does faith? And is the world the paradise we let it be full of choices that will make us immortal and forever remembered—in one way or another—or will ultimately destroy us? ‘Yes’ On such a deep level that I’m sure wasn’t intended. Our stories are all we have of loyalty, of love, of fights for freedom—and the faith that we harbour by telling them can make us into better people. The world is like a vacation away from heaven and everything we have here is more than we had there (apart from the presence of God, of course), but there are choices that will either get us back safely, or will destroy us. Glorious metaphor, really.

After several long debates about food, we finally settled on eating at Pizzahut. I know that sounds awful, but the Pizza huts here are like California Pizza Kitchen’s—good food, and a nice place to sit. But they’re cheaper than CPK, so better. We came back to the hotel, and Julene and I did homework while Jackie watched the Chelsea vs. Liverpool Soccer game (3-0, Chelsea).

We watched ‘The Thomas Crowne Affair’ and then went to bed in our comfortable and clean hotel room.

It was also my mother’s birthday, but I was in Scotland and so forgot, but I have since repented.

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