29 May, 2010

In Search of Old Friends

Today, I find myself in the far distant north - Scotland. It's like a whole different country up here.

I am an unashamed sassenach

It's also a long way away: yesterday, eight hours on the train from Oxford, to give a talk at a Scottish university this afternoon, followed by an eight-hour trip back tomorrow.  I finished Portal* from start to finish before reaching the halfway-point of the journey...

I couldn't quite put my finger on why this place felt slightly strange.  Then, I realised: it is the complete homogeneity of the local people, in that absolutely everyone is white. It is very unusual, when you're accustomed to the mixed society of the south.  I haven't seen someone of another ethnic background since York.  This is neither good nor bad, just... surprising.

2005 Manluo Yiwu

Let me leave you with something a touch more multicultural.  I've been buying the same cake from multiple sources on Taobao, in an attempt to replace my dwindling stocks bought in Maliandao three years ago.

Can you spot the odd-one-out in the above?

More may be found appended to the original 2005 Manluo article.

*The cake is a lie.