Expat Kiwi’s onward Travels – Part 1 – The Great North!

In case you missed the previous parts of this series, check them out from the beginning of the story or perhaps the Index of posts will be more helpful?

Onward travels from Birmingham

Carla and I spent a week or two in Birmingham, then she had some arrangements to meet friends, so off she went.

I stayed around with Orlando and his friends another week or so. During this time we visited the famous Godskitchen club night on a big night out. This was my first enjoyable experience of House music.

Prior to this, my experiences of dance parties in Hamilton (there weren’t any night clubs yet, other than Fire Cats and that’s a different sort of club) had mostly been trance and techno with a little bit of ambient music mixed in for the chillout zone. In my experience House music had been pretty cheesy with far too much wailing female vocals… House music was mainly associated with the gay scene in New Zealand at that time, which wasn’t my scene.

UK House was an altogether different scene. I was experiencing the Lost Generation… These people were hardcore clubbers who spent their weekends in nightclubs and in recovery and worked through the week, fighting the comedown, in order to repeat the following weekend… I liked it, but not that much. I still preferred Trance and Techno, and later I would discover Drum n Bass, Break Beats, Trip-Hop… and Goa Trance!

I had fun with Orlando and his friends, but wary of overstaying my welcome I decided to head north to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Why the amazing northern cities of Manchester, Liverpool and my genetic, ancestral home of York, didn’t feature on my itinerary, I still have no idea. Perhaps for no other reason than simply not being that aware of British geography or my personal family history at the time. And also probably because I thought I had loads of time to see them later…

So I boarded the National Express coach headed NORTH.

I discovered Glasgow first. I was surprised to find a cool, cosmopolitan and modern Scottish city!

I actually don’t know what I was expecting, and I don’t know if I really got a complete view of the city or if I just stayed in one area and thought that was everything to see.

Kiwi's onward travels - Glasgow
I don’t know if these buildings existed when I was in Glasgow, but you get the point right?

I do recall a night out with some embarrassment. I had connected with a group of Australian girls, had a few beers and went to an Indian restaurant for dinner.

But my embarrassment is not how quickly I shelved my disdain for other expats. That small irony hadn’t occurred to me yet.

At the restaurant, we were met by the Indian waiter who served our table. The waiter, presumably the son of the owners was born and raised in Glasgow and sported a thick Glaswegian accent.

The drunk tourist that I was thought it was funny to ask him to ‘do the Indian accent’.

He was gracious, polite and declined. As he rightly should!

Now I didn’t know this at the time but while the British people absolutely love Curry, they’re not always very polite to the people who make and serve it.

I was inadvertently taking part in a form of British racism.

So, to that kind and patient waiter that night. I am truly sorry for being such a DICK!

Sorry for being a dumbass
To that Indian waiter, Sorry for being a dumbass!

I guess I spent a few days in Glasgow, and perhaps considered staying longer. But it was on to Edinburgh next… My wheels were rolling and I was on my way!

Edinburgh and Castle - Scotland
The weather isn’t very good, but I don’t know if it ever is in Edinburgh

If Glasgow was a modern city, Edinburgh was ancient and full of memories.

The Royal Mile. King Arthurs seat. This was a city that had been on these rocks for a very long time.

I spent a lot of time walking around Edinburgh, just exploring and taking in the atmosphere of the city.

Now, the next thing that happened, I’m still not sure if it was in Edinburgh, or later in a hill station in India… I can’t be 100% sure either way because, time, weed, alcohol, have all clouded my memory… And it was the most unexpected thing to suddenly face miles away from New Zealand…

I came face to face, just for a moment, with a Scottish-kilted Maori gentleman with a beautiful greenstone pounamu, a top-knot and a full face Moku! I couldn’t believe it! I was literally stunned silent.

I didn’t even manage so much as a ‘Kia Ora Mate!’

And then he was gone!

I met a Maori man with a full Face Moku in Edinburgh - I think
A very brief moment of meeting a Maori man with a full face Moku in Edinburgh – I think…

What I do know is that I was up high on a hill in an old Colonial-style city, and I was completely taken off-guard to meet a fellow countryman of the highest calibre… So it was either Edinburgh or the British Raj hill station of Mcleod Ganj in India. I guess I’ll never know…

Some years later I was given my first pounamu by my father, have worn it nearly every day since, and have met a few fellow Kiwis along the way because of it!

 

Part 2 of Expat Kiwi’s onward Travels – Further North – is coming soon!

But until then, why not sign up to our newsletter and be informed as soon as the next post is published!

 

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By Simon The Homesick Kiwi

Expat New Zealander since 1997. I was living in the UK for a looong time, but now I'm living in Crete, Greece with my Greek wife and two cats, teaching English and writing about my Expat Kiwi Adventures. I'm working on playing the guitar better and thinking about making music sometimes. I'll always call New Zealand home but I'm not sure if I'll ever live there again. This is my story.

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