A Travellerspoint blog

Hoboing

Dribble dribble dribble, and so the days drip away. But like a steady drip the time accumulates, a whole puddle of it somehow passed. Even yesterday, which felt so long, has somehow gone. In the morning we were still in Pierowall, eating cereal and packing desultorily in the wind-combed sunshine. Then those hours in Kirkwall, frantically interneting, and, when the library closed, grocery shopping all the afternoon. Kirkwall not so much bigger to us than the Lidl store. At last an overnight ferry to Aberdeen. Loud, obnoxious Scottish men yelling the whole night away, playing cards and sticky alcohol and swear words--"cunt" "fuck" "shit"--everywhere until even the child was yelling "shut up! shut up!" A man asked them softly and politely to quiet down, everyone was asleep, but to no effect. As for me, I was too afraid, remembering the German priest on the West Highland Way who asked a group of Scottish lads for a bit of peace during their prayer and was met with a show of knife. The friendliest, most courteous people here, but also some who make Americans look good.

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Wind-combed sunshine

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What little of Kirkwall we saw outside the grocery stores

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Sleeping (or trying to sleep) on the ferry

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A pie a day keeps the doctor away! (They really shouldn't have relied on rhyming "a day" with "away.")

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Why we took a picture of this, I don't know. Is it because we needed more socks or because the ad didn't make any sense?

It's raining again. Nothing to do with me while I'm inside the ship, but in a few hours we'll be shunted out into the elements again, turtled once more with our heavy, dripping packs. Then the rain will feel real enough, not just a cascading blur over the window.

* * *

If I had grown up poor, it is certain that I would have been a shame-faced, hounded, defensive sort of person cringing from authority and wealth and desperately yearning, yearning. Back in the city and our second day of living like hobos bring these thoughts to mind. We sleep in the shelter of a self-pay car park tonight. What self-respecting...oh, but I'm so weary, and I don't want to move. I will just sit here until my foggy mind turns off, and maybe when I open my eyes it will be past 4 am, and we can wedge ourselves back into a corner of the tiny Aberdeen airport again.

It is not overly cold on this friendless night. Judging by this journal you would think we spent the majority of our time sleeping in places we ought not to when it's only that at these moments I have time to write, when I feel the day hasn't been a roaring cascade upon my senses.

We are so far away from everyone we know.

(It is not quite as friendless as I make it out to seem. All the workers have been surprisingly warm and sympathetic--not even the remotest hint of judgment. Maybe they're used to vagrants like us; maybe they can see we're not bad kids.)

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Scotland

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