February 1, 2008

Today we had our first business meetings of this trip. We met at a new building in the town of Aberdeen, near the site of the largest man-made quarry in Europe. Nearly all the homes in Aberdeen are made from the granite boulders that come from this quarry, so it’s quite large.

We spent most of the day meeting with our counterparts and saw some of the innovative processes and tools they use for their daily business. It was a good experience for us to see how others groups in the company work. It started to snow during this time but it never really stayed on the ground and quickly turned to sleet and then rain.

In the late afternoon we said our goodbyes and left in a cab for the rail station. Here is where our adventure for the day began. We didn’t get a chance to cash in any dollars for pounds at the airport the previous day so none of us had any local currency. The cab driver stated he didn’t take credit cards but he politely offered to stop at a local bank so we could exchange some currency. The first bank we tried only allowed account holders to do any kind of transaction so we were out of luck. All three of us tried the ATM machine with no luck either. After driving around the city for a while, the cab driver finally decided he would take our American Dollars and change them out later. What a nice guy he was and the first of many helpful cab drivers we had during our entire trip.

Once we got to the rail station, the ATM machines still didn’t want to take our money so we still didn’t have any money to buy something to eat or drink. With the snow stopped and the rain coming down, we sat in a pub for an hour or so and waited for our train to leave for Edinburgh.

View my pictures from Aberdeen

The train ride to Edinburgh took a couple of hours and was quite pleasant after the rain and snow we encountered earlier in the day. Upon arriving in Edinburgh, we were met with colder temperatures and heavier rain with a few snow flurries as well. Luckily our hotel was only a few blocks from the rail station and after a brisk walk through the streets of old Edinburgh with all our bags, we checked into our hotel to relax for a while.

After an hour or so to get settled in, we left for a local Italian restaurant and a nice dinner. It was only a few blocks up the street from our hotel and on the way we noticed a trend in the fashions of the young women. We saw literally dozens of young girls/women dressed in very short dresses/skirts with occasional leggings and little or no jackets or coats. We were somewhat shocked that these people were not freezing in such few clothes since the temperature was pretty low, near freezing or below with the wind chill. We also couldn’t tell if any of these ladies were of the “street walker” variety or if they were just following the fashion of the day in Edinburgh. Either way, it looked cold to me and I was glad I had my jacket for the evening!