Monday, March 16, 2009

The Tale of the Magical Blooming Cactus

Gabriella left yesterday, on the morning flight from Glasgow to Newark, which is also the only non-stop flight between Glasgow and the States during the winter. The price you pay for the convenience of not having to transit through Heathrow is a 4:15am alarm, because the taxi has to arrive at 5:30am since the flight is at 8am. So for the past day and a half, I've been a bit groggy, even though me myself did not go anywhere except downstairs to give her a hug and kiss before putting her in the cab. 4:15am is 4:15am.

It was an uneventful week, with the daily schedule going something like this: eating, drinking, eating, shopping, eating, drinking, drinking, eating, drinking. I now feel incredibly well versed in the Glasgow restaurant scene, having now dined at standouts like Mother India Cafe, The Left Bank, and the previously mentioned Two Fat Ladies, all of which I'll be thrilled to accompany people to when they visit me here in Glasgow (provided you pick up the check; I'm a poor student after all!).

But maybe the most impressive thing we did (in between all the eating and drinking) was a trip to the Glasgow Botanical Gardens. I really, really, really wanted to go this week, because word on the street is that one of the Gardens' rare cacti was blooming -- the first time it's bloomed in
twenty years -- and it has a very short bloom-life. So off we headed to check out the Puya alpestris, a Chilean plant that's just incredible.

And see it we did, along with other items of planty goodness and the rest of our Saturday in Glasgow.

All right, Mr. DeMille, Puya is ready for its close-up. These flowers are only seen once every TWENTY YEARS, and for a very brief time period of a few weeks.

Another of the Puya.

Gabriella attempting to bite the cactus that is used to make tequila.

A very cool plant. I have no idea what it is, other than pretty.



Modest Mouse-inspired street art near St. George's Cross.

Gabriella in a quintessential Glasgow shot: Irn Bru on a windy day on the walkway over the M8.

Looking west from Garnethill. In the distance, you can see the spires of the Main Building of the university.

Me and Gabriella, all cleaned up and out on the town.

It was a quick visit -- just a week -- but it was good to have her here. A week with my baby sister is better than a week without. And then in three weeks, I'll be back in the States, so it wasn't a tearful goodbye, like they normally are. Last time, we were both crying fools outside of hallway to security at Glasgow International. We were those people. So this time was a bit better.

I'm also realizing that the excessive amount of plant pictures are borderline old-ladyish. At least I didn't post all the plant pictures I took. And at least they weren't pictures of cats.



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