Advice from the Cab Driver . . .


The protestors are already rioting in downtown Edinburgh.

There is a palpable sense of unease in this city that awaits the arrival of the world’s G8 leaders and another Live8 “Final Push” concert Wednesday morning here in Edinburgh.


Many buildings display banners like this one, “Make Poverty History”

For some reason never explained, our bus from the airport ended up with a bus driver who didn’t know the directions to any place in Edinburgh. As a result, we were all dropped at one central location downtown and we hailed cabs to get to our hotels.

Josh and I were both assigned to Allison House, a bed and breakfast about three miles from the center city. But when we told our cab driver the address, he sighed. Then he replied, “Don’t worry, I know where it is. I just need to think how to get you there.”

Most of the major streets in Edinburgh were closed off. The driver kept trying different routes, only to have to turn and try another. He kept apologizing for driving us in the wrong direction. Our three mile trip ended up taking over half an hour, maybe more.

Everywhere we looked were policeman. At several intersections, a row of police cars blocked off the street.

We also saw some protestors, but most looked silly — one young man had pink tulle wrapped around his neck; his female companion had on what appeared to be a skirt made of aluminum foil — rather than threatening. Others just looked like punks spoiling for a chance to rumble. One kid looked to be only a little older than the Dude (who is only ten), but he was already smoking and had multiple body piercings. The scowl on his face said, to me at least, “I’m worried about Africa’s debt repayment.”

Finally, the hotel. As I handed the driver some pound notes, he glanced at the “US Media” badge still hanging around my neck and said:


Allison House

Oooh. And one moor thing. Doan tell them you’re American.

Instead, he suggested that if we went out to dinner or into the city, we should say we are Canadian.

That way, we’d be safe.

“And have a good stay!”


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