Category Archives: Edinburgh

The Thinking Tape Box

On August 22, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I grabbed lunch at Pret a Manger.  Ivan and I each had a crayfish and mango sandwich while Lil Dave got a banana and chicken sandwich.  Ivan checked out a few stores to find shoes and finally found some at Cotswold. 

We walked toward the show in a wooden box. 

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On top of the wooden box was a man who was carving wood with a power saw (not sure if this is the correct name.. but I’m sure you get what I mean!).  It was a wood flyer for their show nothing is really difficult.  I got one shaped as a rectangle.

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I really wanted a cool one that was shaped like a purse or one that had an arrow on it, but I missed those.  There was lots of wood left over.  If I lived in Edinburgh, I would have grabbed more odd shaped wood to use for making mailart. 

It was time for the show nothing is really difficult.  It was literally in the wooden box and they were piling people inside.  The show features 3 Dutch guys doing farce comedy.  It was weird and funny… but it was WAY too short at 35 minutes.  Ivan thought it wasn’t worth it since it was 10 Euros per person for such a short show.  The guys were trying to climb the wall… we got to see inside a side of the wall where two of the guys were using the toilet and doing some silly bathroom humor.  One guy climbed down from the roof of the box.  Ivan thought they could have done A LOT of funny things like coming out of the doors more often and doing weird things with coming from the roof.  Lil Dave thought they should have throwing a banana on the floor and falling to make the audience go mad.  There was a guy who was sat near me that LOVED the show.  He couldn’t stop laughing.  I thought he should get out more.. because it wasn’t THAT hilarious.

Ivan wanted something to eat… he was trying to find a place for soup.  But, we actually ended up at a pop up restaurant… not sure of the name, but it did have Thai in it.  The décor of the restaurant was really sparse with a green psychiatrist’s type chair and green cinder blocks that held up a big steel bar that acted as a table.  It was an industrial minimalistic style.  In the back there was a bar where you could chill out on couches and have a drink.

Ivan and I shared wok fried veggies which were pretty tasty.  I’m usually not a big fan of vegetables unless they’re cooked in a great sauce or really seasoned well.  Lil Dave got a banana pad thai.

We stopped off at Boots.  I bought a few products to do my hair better like a round brush.  We’ve been to Edinburgh before.  As you walk around Edinburgh during the festival you definitely see the cool sights of the city.

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I know I’m immature.. but I still giggle every time I read Cockburn street.  I can’t say it in a serious manner.. it’s just funny.  Wonder what they got it from.. I can only imagine!! Actually I don’t think I do want to imagine that!

It was a rainy day.  The weather is so wacky in Edinburgh.  Ivan read that you can experience so many different kinds of weather all in one day.  It’s so true.. it could be really hot at one point and then later in the day it’s raining cats and dogs.  I think Edinburgh is a very cool city, but I would never live here with this weird weather.

It was time for another Fringe show.  This time we were seeing The Thinking Drinkers Guide to Alcohol (try saying that 4 times really fast!!! And if you can-then try saying it five times really fast, and then email me and say ‘oh yeah I see what you mean!’). 

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We were going to get alcohol during the show.. we were given a plastic cup when we walked into the showroom.

The show as very informative which spanned 2,000 years of alcohol.  We got to have a Shpherd Neame’s Bishops Finger Kentish strong ale beer and 5 shots (Jagermeister, Angostura 1919 Rum, Tanqueray No. Ten Gin, Pernod Absinthe and Belevedere Pink Grapefruit vodka) during the show.  Any show that gives you free alcohol is cool in my books.  It was really, really funny as well. 

I’m glad that they gave us a paper at the end with their information, Edinburgh drinking destinations recommendations and a list of the spirits we tried and where to buy them. 

If you ever get a chance to see The Thinking Drinkers Guide to Alcohol and you like drinking and learning stuff (which after awhile you have no idea what they’re talking about – they could be talking about something really messed up like child prostitution.. but it wouldn’t bother you too much since you’re already buzzed!)… go see them!!! It’s fun!

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We were walking along and I spotted a rainbow.  How come nobody finds the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Ok, I’ve never been near the end of a rainbow.. so I haven’t tried looking.  But, you NEVER hear stories of people finding the gold.  I guess it’s only leprechauns who are lucky enough.  Hmmm, maybe I should be dressing up as a leprechaun when it’s rainy and there’s a chance I’ll see a rainbow.

Lil Dave went to meet his Uncle MacDave for dinner.  He wanted Lil Dave to try some local Scottish monkey dishes which I’m sure involves lots of bananas.

Ivan and I went to dinner at David Bann again.  Ivan and I got the mushroom ravioli again – but the sauce wasn’t as good and tasted a bit different.  Maybe it was a different chef or a sleepy, forgetful chef?!  I’m not sure.  We enjoyed all the food: Thai carrot and coriander soup, goats cheese salad (best salad in Edinburgh according to me, and, I’m sure, anyone else who knows how a good salad should taste) and olive polenta. 

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We enjoyed our meal with the lovely Argentinian wine again.  For dessert, we got the hot peach and raspberry tart.  What another delicious meal at David Bann!

It was time for our next Fringe show which was Carl Donnelly: Different Gravy.  Carl Donnelly is an English comedian who I’ve never actually seen.  Ivan thinks he’s funny, so most likely I will think he’s funny.. we definitely have the same sense of humor.

Carl was very funny – he was reading from his unpublished autobiography.  It was a good show – it just seems like he’s chatting with you at the pub.

Our next show of the night, which is our last Fringe show, was The Boy with Tape on His Face.  We’ve seen a few times at The Comedy Store for a 10 minute spot and he’s really funny.  He doesn’t talk and he makes funny facial expressions.  Unfortunately, we got a seat at the side in the front row, but we were couldn’t see straight on.  You really need to be super close so you can see his facial expressions.  Some of the stuff worked, while some of things like a guy trying to hit a golf ball into a hole that was attached to a pole in the air went on too long, or some just weren’t funny.  He got two strangers to kiss, as he usually does.  A guy presses a red button.  During the show a lady announces T Minus 20 minutes… the time of when something will happen since the red button was pressed.  At the end, the guy who pressed the red button goes on stage and he’s blindfolded.  Everybody is given red balloons to blow up.  99 Red Balloons starts playing and the guy gets the blindfold taken off and everybody throws their red balloons towards him.  It was interesting.  Everybody then started stepping on the balloons which was a bit loud and a little unsettling.  Ivan popped a few, I tried but I had my black dress shoes on which didn’t really let me pop any.  The show was alright… he’s better in a 10 minute gig just like Frisky and Mannish.

They were giving out white balloons with the words Red Balloon on it at the end of the boy’s show.

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Hasselhoff Chat Show

Lil Dave went to meet up with his Uncle MacDave on August 21, 2012 to hang out and see his show The Monkey with Banana on his Face (similar to The Boy with Tape on his Face – I wonder who copied who?!).

We walked around the Royal Mile and saw more performance art advertising shows around the Fringe Festival.

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I went to get a haircut.  The lady really got into cutting my hair like she was competing for best Edinburgh hairdresser of the year.  I think the haircut took 30 minutes.  I got my hair short again since with the layers my hair looks really full.  I think I’m going to keep it short for awhile.

We rushed to The Tim Vine Chat Show.  We love Tim Vine who’s known for his quick one-liners and puns. 

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I think he was testing out a game show where he’s a chat show host.  Everybody filled out a paper at the beginning where they stated what they did for a living and an interesting story.  We didn’t fill one out since we didn’t want to be chosen. 

Tim Vine told some awesome jokes.. he’s hilarious!! He even talked to us since we were sat in the front row.  The Chat Show was 4 guests from the audience with interesting jobs (well, some of them were) like a movie promoter?? who’s promoted such movies like Batman?.  The Chat Show part was alright… I prefer Tim’s comedy show instead.  I’m glad we got lots of jokes still.

We had lunch at Italiano on the Mound again.  The roasted vegetables on ciabatta is the best sandwich for sure – I think the pesto makes it! 

Ivan and I did souvenir shopping.

Later, we went to see An Evening with David Hasselhoff.  David Hasselhoff is weirdly really popular in Germany for his singing.  I’m not really sure why though.  He sang a lot of songs like some song from Les Miserables that I bet nobody knew and too many love songs that he sings.  The Germans were getting into it.  It was a rather odd show… there was limbo where people go low and people from the audience joined it.  I didn’t know what to expect with the show.. but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.

For dinner, we went to our favorite vegetarian restaurant in Edinburgh, David Bann. 

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Ivan and I shared tofu, mushroom ravioli, goats cheese salad and a lovely orange cake for dessert.  The wine was a lovely Viognier Trivento Tirbue from Argentina again – it went well with the ravioli.

Next, we went to check out another Fringe show this time a ventriloquist named Nina Conti.  She’s been around for years.  She was amazing and her characters were all very different.  She even took of the clothes of one of her characters which was odd since seeing it without any clothes on made me think of Cabbage Patch dolls.. the puppets looked similar.  I loved the character Monkey and her grandpa was very funny as well.

Our last show of the evening was a play called Wrecked.  This show we saw being advertised on the stages on the Royal Mile.  This play was about a kid who’s dad comes back into his life after a long time since he was in jail.  He was always told that his dad committed a robbery a long time ago, but later we find out it his crime was much more sinister. 

The kid thinks his dad is cool, but things go wrong one day… when his dad almost beats a Muslim to death when he finds out that the guy did his son wrong. 

The crime of the dad was that he raped a little girl… also, he sexually abused his daughter and beat up his mom.  The kid thinks his mom died of cancer, but it really was that she got beaten up so much. 

It escalates when he has to help out his dad get out of a fix and he realizes that his dad is only looking out for himself when he doesn’t save him from a bad guy who wants to get revenge from his twin sister getting raped years ago. 

This play was AMAZING!! Wow, the story was very unique and the acting was brilliant.  I’m so glad we got to see this play and it was definitely the best show we’ve seen at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

We found out that our friend Jo was coming to the Fringe Festival from London for one day with his two friends.  Ivan and I thought it was strange because there’s lots to do in Edinburgh and one day isn’t enough especially since they were driving 7 hours each way.  Also, Jo doesn’t really like theatre.. so we weren’t sure what he was going to see.  Ivan thought he might be seeing an Indian play since Jo is Indian (Indian as in from Indian apposed to American Indians). 

Ivan texted Jo earlier, but Jo never texted us back.  We figured maybe he was sleeping after the long drive.  We wanted to meet up with him for dinner, but he never got back to us.  Ivan knew that his friends were going to see a play at Space… so, we decided to go there after our last show to see if Jo ended up going to that show with his friends.  We really wanted to see him since we probably won’t be able to see him for years (since he’s moving to Copenhagen, plus we’re not sure if he’ll be able to travel to Las Vegas to see us since his wife was born in India… we’re not sure how easy it would be for her to get a visa to come to America). 

Ivan and I waited outside in the courtyard and had a cider.  We saw Jo exit the Space theatre with his two friends.. but he didn’t see us.  So, Ivan and I thought we should secretly follow him.  Jo was chatting awhile with his friends just standing there.. finally, they started walking and we followed suit.  They stopped at another place while Ivan and I hid behind a fence.  So far they still hadn’t spotted us.  Ivan thought I should go up to them and beg for money in a British accent.  I’ve been trying to talk in an English accent since I don’t like my American accent (which is boring)… also, I don’t want our kids growing up with a weird sounding American and British accent.. believe me, I’ve heard a similar combination being Australian and American and it sounded rather odd.

So, I pulled my fuchsia hood over my head (to cover my head) and went over to Jo and his friends.  I said “Can you spare some change?” in an accent that I thought sounded British.  I held out my hand to all his friends first.  Jo said “Oy!” and grabbed my hand since he recognized my voice.  I said “Why are you grabbing me?” and ran off.  I wasn’t sure if Ivan saw this.  I tried to hide in case Jo came running after me.  I saw Ivan pop his head around the fence.  I motioned for him to come my way.  He put his hood over his head and walked towards me.  I told him what happened.  He left and went to talk to Jo.  I was still in hiding.  I came out and we started chatting to Jo and his friends Fish (obviously Fish is a nickname… although it did look like he ate A LOT of fish.. hence the nickname?! Probably not…)and Sunil.  I asked Jo why he didn’t chase after me. 

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He said he knew our tricks and that we’d be there to chat with him soon. 

It was great seeing Jo again since the last time we saw him was in London a few months back.. and we thought we wouldn’t see him for a long, long time.

Ivan chatted with Fish and Sunil while I chatted with Jo.  I got on a cow and didn’t think I should be on it.. so we quickly took a picture.

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I asked Jo a few questions about his recent marriage in India.  It was an arranged marriage (as opposed to disarranged marriage which is just chaos!).  He’s going to be moving to Copenhagen soon and his wife will be coming over in a month and a half.  I’m happy that he’s married now… I bet he’s going to be a dad really soon.  He’s definitely one of the friends who I wished lived in Vegas… we always have fun together.

Credits: Tim Vine Chat Show photo

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Clockwork Intentions

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had lunch at Italiano on the Mound again on August 20, 2012.  Ivan and I each had the tasty roasted vegetables with pesto on ciabatta.  Lil Dave had a banana and peanut butter sandwich (yup, Elvis’ favorite sandwich!).  We got the VIP seats for once which is located right in front of the window which is perfect for 2 people and of course people watching.

Next, we went to see our first Fringe show of the day.  It was the play A Clockwork Orange

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It was based on the movie by Stanley Kubrick.  It was really quite good.. just like the movie with some dancing.  The actors were talented.  Ivan’s never seen the movie, but I thought it gave a good interpretation of it.  I saw a kid in the audience which I thought was odd.. since it’s very violent and disturbing just like the movie.

Ivan thought we should stop for a soup… so we had tomato soup at Circus Bistro.

We walked along the Royal Mile and there’s always stuff going on.  People promoting their shows with weird performance artists and stages where singers or actors promote their cool show.  It’s great to find cool shows this way.

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We did a bit of shopping at Primark.  I bought a few things, but didn’t go crazy like I did the other day.

It was time for the play Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions.  It was six 10 minute plays.  There was a coach who had an awkward confession to make (can’t even remember what it was), a spokeswoman for an airline who doesn’t quite know what to say after one of the planes crashes, a man and woman who want to fall in love – think they’re recording their ad for a dating service, one where the audience was recreating a picture from history.. so we had to act natural.  It was really weird and in my opinion pretty pointless.  A lot of people liked it from the comments I heard afterwards.  Ivan and I thought it was really odd.  Ivan read that it got good reviews.. but I’m not really sure why the play got the good reviews since it wasn’t very good.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to dinner at the lovely vegetarian restaurant David Bann again.  Lil Dave got a banana ravioli dish with a banana salad. 

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Ivan and I shared basil and mint soup, Thai fritters, mushroom & basil ravioli with tomato and basil soup and goats cheese salad with beets and raspberries.  It was another delicious meal enjoyed with a great red Argentinian wine.

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Kemble’s Blackbird

On August 19, 2012, Ivan and I left at 1:15 pm.  Lil Dave was going on a tour with his Uncle MacDave who lives in Edinburgh.  He’s doing a show at the Fringe Festival.

We had lunch at a great place called Italiano on the Mound.  Ivan and I both got tuna, egg mayo and anchovies on a baguette which was quite tasty.  I also tried the local soft drink called Irn Bru. 

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It was a bit odd tasting and tasted like orange soda. 

Our first show was Sarah Jones: Does Not Play Well With Others.  Sarah is an Australian ventriloquist.  Sarah Jones is just starting out it seems… I did see her lips move.  She was funny, but I’ve definitely seen better ventriloquists like Ron Lucas or Paul Zerdin who’ve been around for a very long time.

We went to the post office to mail postcards and packages.  Unfortunately, their system was down so we couldn’t send the packages then.

It was time for another Fringe show.  This time it was Kemble’s Riot.  This play is about a man named Kemble and his sister during the Renaissance period.  They’re both actors and are enjoying success at one of the theatres.  Unfortunately, a fire occurs and burns down the theatre .  There’s two actors in the audience who talk during the play. 

Kemble and his sister decide to gather people to help out financially and build a beautiful new theatre.  The theatre raises the amount of the theatre tickets.  There’s a man on the right side of us who’s outraged of the new ticket price while the lady right behind us says they have to charge since they built this lovely theatre.  The angry man gathers supporters of people in the audience.  The man says “What do we want?” The new supporters chant “Old Prices”  The man says “When do we want it?” The audience replies “NOW”.  Our side was getting annoyed.  Ivan said the man should shut up.  The lady gets us to start clapping and say “We love you Kemble.  We do.”

This was an interesting play to see how people can be swayed when a group of supporters or rioters gathers.  Kemble is cocky and will not back down and lower the prices since he has lots of debt towards the theatre.  Towards the end, the group goes to Kemble’s house to protest.  Our side has now joined the rioters. 

Ivan and I went back to the post office to send off our packages.  

It started raining really hard and we wanted to go somewhere to relax.  So, we went to our favorite café Hunt & Darton for some tea. 

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I love this quirky little café.  The owners remembered us and wondered what word we were doing for our project (project will be done after our trip ends). 

Next, we went to an office for a site-specific play.  We each got a visitor’s badge and told that Ray would be with us shortly.  A few minutes later, it was time to head to the lunch room in the office.  It was filthy with trash strewn around everywhere like it was a boy’s college dorm room.  There weren’t two seats available in the front, but there was one and Ivan said I should sit there.  I would rather sit by him, but it’s always nice to be close to the action – plus, I’m really short so it’s easier to see in the front row.

The play we saw is called Blackbird.  It’s about a girl who goes to see the man who raped her 10 years ago when she was 12 years old.  You start to feel like the girl Una is bugging him about his life when he just wants to forget about it.  The man, Ray,  served time in jail for his crime.  He has somebody and she knows about his crime.

You find out that the two were actually in love.  They went away to a city nearby and the man goes out to buy some candy.  He doesn’t come back right away and Una thinks that he abandoned her there since their situation wasn’t a good one.  She tries to find him around town and tells people that she was looking for her dad and describing him.  She ends up calling her parents because she thinks he’s abandoned her.  We find out that he didn’t leave her and that it was a big misunderstanding. 

This was a very powerful play which you felt really awkward at times since you felt the tension. 

At one point, you hear somebody come to find Ray.  It turns out to be a young girl in a school outfit.  Your heart seems to stop when you realize it’s a school girl and he might be doing it again.  The girl is his wife’s daughter.  The girl keeps wanting to stay with him while he finishes up, but he keeps telling her to leave.  Una thinks that he might be doing it all over again.  What an amazing play.  Very well done with some great acting. The fact that the play was set in an office, and we were literally sat in an office, made it even more powerful. It was almost as if it was real, as there was no stage,  and no theatre lighting – it was as if we were voyeurs on a real situation.

We went to the Henderson’s Bistro for dinner.  It was really bad service and the food wasn’t very good at all.  The waiter was rude and he forgot to bring the wine.  Also, the wine was written as lentil and potato on the board.. but they didn’t have that and just brought us a tomato & aubergine soup.  If they ran out of the soup of the day, they should have changed it on the board. The soup came with some sorry excuse for a pate. 

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We also had the vegetarian haggis which didn’t have much flavor.  I had the smallest salad ever which had weird lettuce (the kind that looks like branches of a tree – no idea of the name).  I would definitely try to avoid this place.

It was time for our last show at The Famous Spiegeltent.  The show La Clique Royal was in a tent.  It looked like the Spiegeltent in Las Vegas for the show Absinthe.  I bet Absinthe copied this Spiegeltent in Edinburgh.  The Queen of England (or at least a guy dressed as her) introduced the acts – She was really funny. Other acts included a hot guy doing acrobatics, a burlesque who showed her tits and milk squirted out of them (too funny and unexpected) and Michelangelo the Balkan Elvis.  It was a very fun and entertaining show.

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Tubular Whiskey Tattoo

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went into the city at 11:30 am on August 18, 2012. 

Our first Fringe Festival show was Jerry Sadowitz doing magic.  He’s a Scottish man who does amazing magic.  I was blown away by his magic tricks.  Ivan told me he was a magician first and foremost and then a comedian.  He’s quite mental and so very funny.  I could definitely watch him do magic tricks for hours… he’s THAT good!

It was time for lunch at Henderson’s.  Ivan and I shared two soups: tomato & aubergine and pea & pear.  Lil Dave got a banana soup.  The pea & pear soup was the better of the two.

We had some time to spare, so we went shopping.  We went to Top Man and Primark.  I love Primark since it’s filled with cool cheap clothes and accessories.  I bought way too much stuff there.

Next, we went to see the show The Vocal Orchestra

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It was an hour of the group making music (yes, the whole song with sound effects & beat boxing) with JUST their voices.  It was simply amazing!!  I was thinking about my friend who passed away during one song that had the group making raindrop sounds.. Claudia Georgette was singing and it made me sad.  She sang a song at the end and it brought tears to my eyes.. I thought her voice was like an angel.  If you ever get a chance to see The Vocal Orchestra.. DO IT!!! You’ll be amazed!!

We had more time to kill.. so went to The Whiski Rooms to try out the whiskey. 

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Ivan picked two good ones: Ardberg 10 year and the Braeval 12 year.  The Ardberg was Ivan’s favorite since it was smoky. Both tasted good – nice and smooth!  Lil Dave wanted to try a banana whiskey, but unfortunately the Scots haven’t thought of adding bananas to their whiskey yet.

The next Fringe Festival show was Frisky and Mannish.  This silly duo we’ve seen at La Reve in London for a 10 minute act.  They are a pop cabaret act.  Recently, we saw them at the Stand up for Freedom show.. and they did their best bits of their show there.  I really like them as 10 minute act.. but when it’s an hour long, it’s definitely not as exciting and a bit boring.  I was looking forward to this show and it disappointed me.

On to the next show…. Tubular Bells for Two.  If you haven’t heard the song Tubular Bells Part One & Two by Michael Oldfield… go listen to it now!  Before this show, I had only heard some of the first song.  Ivan knows the songs VERY well and loves it.  This show was two Australian guys who recreated all of the Tubular Bells by themselves.  This isn’t an easy feat since there are many instruments involved including, you guessed it, tubular bells.  It was really hot down in the basement, but it was worth it since it was wonderful to hear both parts played in it’s entirety (an hour!) live.  These guys are super talented!  I’m glad this was good.. it made up for the last show being bad.

Our last show of the night was The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  No, it doesn’t involve Scottish military men getting tattoos.

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It’s a show filled with dancing, military bands drumming and putting on a show with guns swinging.  It was absolutely fabulous!!  The best was the Top Secret Drum Corps – they did some super fast drumming.

Check out the Top Secret Drum Corps video:

It was awesome seeing all the military bands with the Edinburgh Castle in the background.  I really liked how they projected different things onto to the castle. 

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USA was represented with one of their Europe military bands doing a tribute to comic book characters like Dennis the Menace and Batman.  I thought the Norwegian band was particularly good.  You HAVE to check out the Tattoo if you’re ever in Edinburgh.  I loved the dancing, the kilts and of course the bag pipes!  At the end, there was a firework display.  We loved every minute of it.  Even Lil Dave enjoyed it even though there weren’t any monkeys in the show.

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Mime A Cappella

On August 17, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I had lunch at Hunt & Darton again.  I really love this cool café.  Ivan got the nut roast sandwich which had a lot of bread and I got the same lovely Roughage salad that I got yesterday.  We also ordered regular tea. 

The owners recognized us from yesterday.  The guest today was a gay man in a leotard.  He was going to read do tea leaf readings.  He said he’d get us a new pot of tea.  He probably needed more tea leaves so that he could properly do a reading.  The tea had to steep.

I noticed one of the owners asked one of the patrons if he wanted to pick a record to play.  He picked a great 60’s tune which was Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel.

I saw that the owners reading a poem to the guy who picked the record.. at the end, they stand up and shake their butts and then bend over and point.

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Very strange and cool at the same time.

We poured out the tea and drank it.  The guy, Tom Marshman, told us that we had to think of a question while we drank our tea.  There were plenty of tea leaves to do a reading.  The man came over and told us to turn the tea cup over onto the tea saucer and rotate it fully twice.  Then, we were to look at our leaves and say what we saw. My question was When will I become pregnant?   I saw a puppy dog.. maybe since I keep noticing cute dogs everywhere we travel.  The man looked at it from a different perspective (ok, he just turned the tea cup 180 degrees) and said he saw a lobster.  I guess if you looked close enough….and used a LOT of imagination.

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Ivan’s questions was What kind of business should I go into?  Ivan’s tea leaves looked like a dog standing on a table.  The man thought so too.. and then he looked further and thought he saw an dog on an elephant and I suggested it was like a circus. 

Tom didn’t really have a clue as he consulted his tea leaf reading book (seriously!).  It appeared as though he knew nothing at all about tea leaf reading, so god knows why on earth he had been asked to do it!

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A lobster maybe.. if you turn it 180° it looks like a dog.

He said to me, “Could it be a crab?” since he couldn’t find lobster.  I said I guess so.  He told me that somebody in my life was being annoying.  I think he looked up puppy dog as well and he said I needed to be close to family and friends.  Ok, my question was definitely not answered.. far from it!

Ivan’s circus scene showed that he should relax more and do what he’s been doing.  It was fun getting a tea leaf reading.  We’re not sure why the man was giving these readings.. but maybe him avoiding Ivan’s question “Do you think seeing 5 shows a day at the Fringe is too much?” and saying instead “You should check out my show” was the reason.  Self-promotion (which I’m always doing with the blog) at it’s weirdest and finest.  Tom’s show is about a guy who has great legs called Legs 11.  We told him about our weddings and our honeymoon and gave him our business card. 

It was off to see another Edinburgh Fringe Festival show.  This time it was an all male A Cappella group called Out of the Blue from Oxford University.  The guys danced around and did funny things like dancing around like animals (including Lil Dave’s favorite the monkey!) during the song ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’.  Other songs included California Gurls, Teenage Dream by Katy Perry and Don’t You Want Me by Human League.  One of the guys was an Asian with dyed blonde hair – he reminded me of an old friend of mine named Robert.  This a cappella group were smashing.

Lil Dave went to see the show Monkey Slips on a Banana which was a monkey mime.

Next up was an interactive theatre show called Back to School.  This was soo much fun!!  Ivan attended school in England being British, but since I’m American I didn’t.  It was a ‘site-specific’ show meaning that it took place in a place other than a theatre – it was in an actual school!

First, we were 12 years old.  We had an assembly and met all the teachers. It was funny because we were sitting on little chairs as if we were kids, and all the teachers were speaking to us as if we were kids. We were then split up into classes and our first class was art!

We had to dress each other up using newspapers which was hilarious. My group dressed me up as Gandalf.  I even did a bit of acting saying ‘You shall not pass!’ while putting my staff into the ground (like in the Lord of the Rings movie).  Then we went to another room and had biology, which turned into a sex education class which was also really hilarious!

Then it was down to gym session. Then Ivan and me were split up because our ties were different, and I had drama lessons, which Ivan went to ‘food appreciation’ where he had to learn about the ‘noble potato’.  I got to wear wings in Drama and recite ‘Romeo & Juliet’ with a partner.  I tried to act like Romeo with a British accent.

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With every class, we were a year older each time.

The group got together outside to take a school photo.  Ivan wonders why they used a crappy camera instead of something that produced better photos.. maybe they wanted to be ironic producing a crappy low resolution photo.. not really sure.

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At the end, we had to take a test.  It was going to be 5 minutes long, but it seemed shorter than that and I didn’t end up finishing my test.

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Ivan ended up winning Silliest Student (from being funny & silly) and got an S badge.  They also showed us a video starring a past pupil called Jonathon Ross who is pretty famous in England.

The entire show was a ton of fun and such an original concept..They were running a back to school disco later on in the week, which we really wanted to go to, but couldn’t as we had tickets for The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Our next show was Billy the Mime.  I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it in this blog, but the job I put down when I fill out the Immigration forms is mime.  Ivan puts down clown.  Yes, this has brought on a few interesting looks when I try to do a mime impression which isn’t really that good.  Maybe I should actually learn how to be a mime. 

Billy the Mime was great.. not doing the popular ‘I’m trapped in a box’ bit that mimes just LOVE doing.  He did different bits like Michael Jackson’s Life, Whitney Houston’s Last Bath, World War II and the History of Art. He also did quite a few controversial and very rude sketches, which would probably offend a few readers if I mentioned them. It was very artsy and funny.  I think I have much to learn after seeing a great mime like that.  I’ll have to practice more to become THAT good.

It was time for some comedy.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I really love comedy.  Jimmy Carr was very, very funny. 

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I think he looked at me a few times.. I think it was my Tainted Love TITS shirt with a girl in the bikini that distracted him.  He’s a posh British guy who says very rude things.  We loved it!!  He’s always a delight to watch.

Our last show was Spank!  Ivan wanted to sell the tickets, as we were a bit tired and had already seen four shows that day, but we didn’t have any luck doing that.  So, we ended up going.  It was in a basement room.  There was a birthday party celebration with a few guys in kilts.  One of the funniest acts was a girl who did burlesque dancing. She had a bell that she kept ringing by moving her hips.  It was quite funny.  At the end of her act, she rang the bell so much it seemed to make her go nuts!!!

There was a weird guy named Gary Le Strange.  He was popular like 10 years ago at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  He was making fun of 80’s new wave bands.  His lyrics were very odd and not really very funny.  The audience weren’t interested and started chatting.  The hosts thought he was wonderful (not sure if that was true.. they can’t really say to an audience that an act is crap can they?)… but probably not going to connect with an audience filled with people who were born in the 80’s.  Ivan and I agree that even if they were our age, they still wouldn’t find it funny.  I felt really sorry for the guy since nobody liked his act.

The show is 3 hours long, but we were knackered (tired) and left at the interval.

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Improv Dancing

Ivan, Lil Dave and I got the bus into the centre on August 16, 2012. 

Ivan wanted to check out a cool pop up café called Hunt and Darton Cafe

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When you walk in, there’s a table filled with goodies like sweets like cakes and Ribbon wafers.

Ivan ordered regular tea while I got the mint tea in two big teapots.  I got one with the Queen on it and Ivan got a teapot that looked like a building. 

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We both got the roughage plate which is a wonderful salad with beet, pumpkin, goats cheese and sunflower seeds. 

On the table, there’s a triangle plastic paper which had different things on it like games that you could play with your food and how to drink tea properly.  This is not your run-of-the mill café.  There’s music playing on an old record player.  The table has a real pineapple on it and salt & pepper holders that are Ken’s head on a Barbie doll with clothes on.  The owners Jenny Hunt & Holly Darton wear pineapples on their head.  This is my kind of place.

They have guest spots who do something different everyday.  Unfortunately, we missed the fortune teller who reads your fortune with asparagus. 

I love this café.. why can’t we have a cool cafe like this in Las Vegas?!  We will definitely be back here again for lunch, tea or maybe both. Apparently this café just spends a few weeks in each town, then packs up shop, and moves to somewhere else to open for a few weeks! Such a cool concept!

Next, we went to The Greatest Walking Tour in Edinburgh.  Ivan likes to surprise me and only told me that we were going on a walking tour.  Our tour guide was a man named Cuth and his assistant a girl who wasn’t very bright.  The man told us that there would be a tour guide inspector on the tour.

We were given red balloons with The Greatest Walking Tour in Edinburgh on it. 

 

Cuth had a long, closed umbrella that he used so the tour wouldn’t lose him.  It kept getting caught on things like a lamppost or construction railing.

The group was listening to a story about Bobby the Skye Terrier in front of Greyfriars Bobby pub.  John Gray was a man who worked as a night watchman who died in 1858.  His dog Bobby spent the rest of his life (14 years!) at his master’s grave at Greyfriars Kirk graveyard.  What a loyal dog!  Anyway, the tour guide was asked the name of John Gray which he didn’t know (I just wikipedia’d the information to give you information on the great story).  He realized that the man might be the ‘tour guide inspector’ that he was trying to impress in order to get into the tour guide’s union.  At this point, I realized this wasn’t a REAL tour, but a spoof of one.  I should have known since we were at the Edinburgh Festival which is filled with all types of theatre.

At one point, I noticed somebody was following us who looked like a detective.

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Ivan didn’t see her.

The guy who Cuth thought was the ‘tour guide inspector’ actually turned out to be another tour guide who didn’t want Cuth trying to move in on his tour guide territory. 

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They fight which was funny since it was like watching a video game.  Cuth tells us that he recently broke up with his girlfriend who he still seems to love.

We actually see the real ‘tour guide inspector’ (which was the lady I saw earlier)  later on and she tells us to act normal, so that she can judge him fairly.

This tour spoof was funny with misunderstandings.. but the story at the end was a bit daft (silly).  Ivan and I think they could have written a better plot.. it was entertaining though.

It was time to see some improv at the show Paul Merton’s Impro Chums

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We got seats off to the side in the front row, but we were sat too far.  Ivan and I are used to seeing Paul Merton with The Comedy Store Players in the first or second row (oh, so close!) at The Comedy Store in London.  The Impro Chums consisted of Paul Merton, Suki Webster (Paul’s wife), Richard Vranch, Lee Simpson and Mike McShane.  Almost the group of The Comedy Store Players.  It was funny, but not as funny as The Comedy Store Players.  Funny improv and some singing.  It was my first time seeing Suki Webster live and Ivan’s right.. she’s not very funny at all.  Paul Merton was, as always, very funny… The bit where he has to translate for the foreign language is always funny.  Lee Simpson was doing the language (which he’s always very good at) and he’ll say something very long winded and Paul will say something very short and funny. 

We had to leave the Improv show early to get to our next show.

We hurried to go see the free show The Dark Room which is based on a text computer game.  Do you remember those?  I remember the game Zork.  The host John Robertson would say in a dark, spooky voice ‘You find yourself in a dark room. What do you do?’  There would be a few different options to do like Go North, Sleep or Find a Light Switch.  Each option would lead to more options and sometimes it was a dead end and you die.  Ivan said that it was poking fun at old text-based computer games.  It was a bit weird.  An annoying part was a guy named Brendon Burns an Australian comedian, who thought he knew the right way to go because he’s played before.  He didn’t seem to know anything though.  The show was okay, a bit odd and unfortunately nobody won which according to the host Is a rare thing indeed.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked around Edinburgh.  Ivan went to Top Man and I bought a few things for Ivan’s birthday that’s coming up in September.

Later, we went to the Festival Fun Ceilidh Dinner which includes a 3 course meal with a band playing and line dancing. 

Ivan got the vegetarian meal while I got to try haggis for the first time, Lil Dave got the banana option.  Our starters were the same being organic leek and potato soup which was actually quite big and tasted good.

Ivan got a vegetable tart which looked alright.  I got the Findlay’s Portobello haggis fritter with mashed potatoes.

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It was fried and looked like black rice inside.  Ivan and I both had no clue what was in haggis… I knew it was something gross similar to a hot dog in America.  It tasted alright, but it was really heavy dish especially with the mashed potatoes it came with.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.. but I don’t think I’ll have another go.  We enjoyed our meal with a lovely red wine.

Dessert was traditional Scottish Cranachan with fresh local raspberries.  It reminded me of a parfait and it was tasty.

Everybody seemed older than us.  We didn’t think anybody would know any of the cielidh dances, but we were wrong.  Everybody knew ALL of the moves – in fact I think we were the only ones there who didn’t! We were amongst all the pros!  I had no idea, but Ivan knew a few of the dances.  It didn’t matter though since the band named the The Sensational Jimi Shandrix Experience would teach us the dances. 

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There was a big birthday party group, all Canadian, that was most of the dinner guests.  It was a good thing they were there since they loved to dance. 

It was fun learning the moves although I don’t think I was really that good at some of the dances…plus it would have been nice to have let the food go down a bit, before we started going crazy on the dance floor and spinning our stomachs around like a washing machine on fast cycle.  Ivan wanted to keep going, but it was getting tiring dancing so much.  Line dancing is fun, but it requires a lot of movement which makes you knackered (tired).  I took a break between songs and then we were off to dance again.  One song was super fast and we were going round and round in a circle.  I couldn’t believe how fast the dance was.  The band was right that it would be like running a marathon afterwards.

I had fun at the Festival Fun Ceilidhl Dinner.  I really enjoyed the line dancing and the food was good.  I’m glad I got to try the haggis since I like to try the local food.

Credits: Paul Merton’s Impro Chums photo

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Indian Freedom

On August 15, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8:15 am.  I found out some bad news about my friend (who used to be my boss) who passed away – he was really sick.  So, I was crying during the free breakfast.  The lady who works at the hostel asked me if anything was wrong.  I said no.  I bet she thought I was crying coz the breakfast was bad.. but I wasn’t.. the breakfast was quite good with cereal, cheese, meats and boiled eggs.

I packed my things up (Ivan packed his last night) and we got into a taxi at 9:40 am headed to the bus station.  We got the bus to the airport which took 40 minutes. 

Check-in, Security and Immigration went by pretty fast.  We were early for once.  There was no free wi-fi at the airport.  I wrote postcards and Ivan and I shared a salmon and cream cheese bagel.

The plane left Dubrovnik, Croatia at 12:30 pm for Edinburgh, Scotland.  Our plane landed at 2:30 pm.

We got the bus to the centre of Edinburgh.  Then, we walked around with our backpacks to try to find a taxi to the Airbnb apartment we were staying at during our Edinburgh stay. 

10 minutes later, we arrived at the apartment and met Adriana.  She’s a nice woman who showed us around the apartment and  said if we had any questions we could ask her.  We also met her boyfriend.  It was great that we were able to have things sent to their apartment.  I bought some books for our upcoming cruise and a few presents for Ivan’s birthday next month. 

Ivan and I took showers and later went out.  It started raining which is typical Edinburgh weather. 

It was time for dinner.  Ivan was glad we were having Indian food at Kama Sutra.  He has been missing it since at home we cook Indian every day for lunch. 

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Ivan and I shared pan fried crab with yoghurt, daal, pind de choley (chickpeas dish), vegetables with curry sauce, aloo gobhi (potatoes).  Lil Dave had a banana tikka masala.  We had our food with a lovely Syrah from Spain which complemented the spicy food.  It was a delicious meal.  We will definitely be returning back for more.

Next, it was our first Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Stand up for Freedom.  The show that benefits Amnesty International which is a group that protect people wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied. 

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Hannibal Buress

We saw lots of comedians and acts like David O’Doherty, Josie Long, American comedian Hannibal Burress, The Boy with Tape on his Face and Frisky and Mannish.

The hosts talked about one of the causes Amnesty International was currently supporting.  A Russian feminist rock band named Pussy Riot performed a punk prayer inside a church saying that President Vladimir Putin should be removed from office.  3 of the band Pussy Riot were arrested and are awaiting sentencing soon.  This has brought on international support from such celebrities like Madonna and Stephen Fry. 

If their name was something normal, I don’t think I would have remembered their name.  Plus, I felt that the band had balls for doing something political in a church.  Girl power!  At one point, we were asked to stand up for a video being made. 

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We had to scream FREE PUSSY RIOT!! and asked to throw our fists in the air.  I did so and even pulled a mean face.  The sentencing was for ‘hooliganism’ (seriously, they were charged for this!! I didn’t know people got charged for that! Haha.. just sounds so funny). They have now unfortunately, been  sentenced to 2 years in prison.  Quite harsh!

Credits: Hannibal Buress photo

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