Making myself at home – Oban, United Kingdom

I arrived in Oban after a very scary and loud bus ride. I don`t get motion sickness often but the driver Mike thought he was at the Indy 500, I think. Also, this guy is loud naturally but found it necessary to almost swallow the microphone. Even with earplugs it was excruciating. Anyway, we weren`t even half way to Oban when I made my decision to stay on for a few days, if for no other reason but to avoid getting back on that bus again.

It was a good decision indeed. I met Carmella from Ireland who turned out to be an absolute doll. She has quite the reputation around the MacBackpacker circuit and its very clear why. This girl can not only drink but has a heart of gold. Radka from Czech (who likes Vodka) also made my visit in Oban one that I won`t forget for a very long time.

They have a great vibe happening at this hostel. Probably one of the best I have been to so far which may be why I stayed for almost a week. I earned the nickname Tea Fairy because I couldn`t not offer when I was getting some for myself. I thought it would be a great memory exercise if I could remember how everyone in the hostel took their tea and coffee. There are quite a few colds going around and tea is healing. I also had great fun making fires in the fireplace….well, most of them stayed in the fireplace.

I felt right at home here and picked up a few shifts housekeeping with Carmella which was really good for me. It`s nice to feel useful. I met Mark from Ontario who is in the process of writing a movie about hostel life as well as playing host to large groups that come through. Good old Canadian hospitality.

I also “hosted” a few parties which were probably one of the reasons I had such a hard time getting on the bus in the mornings. I had 3 failed attempts to leave until finally yesterday I succeeded. It wasn`t so much that I had partied too hard because believe it or not, I have only gotten one hangover since Ireland. Seems that Scotland is special that way.

The main reason I didn`t want to leave was because I really felt a good rhythm in Oban. I walked around the small town and noticed that for once, people were all walking the same pace. I didn`t see too many people hurrying here. I sat by the pier and watched two seals playing in the water for a couple of hours. I walked to the other side and watched the 50 or so swans (who live here year round) gracing the bay. I sat down beside a lovely woman from Glasgow who claimed to be 73 but she certainly didn`t look it.

I ate some fresh seafood where the owner offered to take me lobster fishing and told me I should take the boat to visit the seals. I asked him why I would do that when I had just spent a few hours with the seals around the corner. He looked surprised noting that they shouldn`t be there and that is unusual. It was a spectacular day filled with nature and good natured people.

I was bummed out that someone had `borrowed` my book (I found it later…I must have misplaced it) and Matt lent me The Alchemist which has been recommended to me several times over the last month. I am halfway through and it is proving to be a very good read.

I met Wendy who tried to teach me the art of Poi but I think I may have been better as entertainment hitting myself in the head with the tennis balls. Imagine my elation when my good friend Renee from Edinburgh walked in with the tour that night! We had a great night catching up and visiting with new friends.

The night before a group of us (some of the boys from Skye showed up again) went to the pub where Carmella works. We drank, danced and laughed. Afterwards, we decided to go up to McCaig`s Tower which looks a lot like a coliseum. The atmosphere was really electric…I mean, besides being almost completely pitch dark, the wind did strange things. The noises were louder than they should be. It would be completely still and silent then all of a sudden out of nowhere a gust of wind would create a symphony of leaves rustling and grass humming. Enchanting and mysterious would be the only words that would explain it properly. It was a memorable night with memorable people.

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