05 April 2014

Indonesian Cultural Day in Glasgow

Last Saturday I joined my friends from Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, China, etc. to watch the Indonesian Cultural Day at Strathclyde University, Glasgow. It was held at the Student Union Building. I was glad I joined my friends, despite being busy with my thesis writing. It was great watching the performances (dances, songs, fashion show), as well eating their (free) native food/snacks. We took the train from Stirling to Glasgow Queen Street. We arrived a bit early so some of my friends moved around the city first. I was lazy to move around coz it was cold so I just followed the others to the venue. At least it was warmer in the auditorium. The programme took about 2 hours or so. After the presentations, I went with my Vietnamese and Taiwanese friends to the city centre. We were planning to go to a hotpot/buffet restaurant at 6, as we thought the performance would be until 5. But it finished at about 3 so we had lots of time. We took some photos along the way, as we were amazed by the old and big buildings around us. Then my Taiwanese friend and I decided to go to the Asian/Chinese supermarket (Chung Ying). As we haven't been there before, we were not really sure where it was exactly. Our Vietnamese friend just told us to go straight down North Hanover St and then turn left. I opened my cellphone with the GPS to at least know the direction. We got there finally and we were happy to find some food stuff which we really needed and could not find in the Asian or local supermarkets in Stirling. There are now two Chinese/Asian mini-supermarkets in Stirling City Centre. Which is great but some of the prices are quite high. There are some items which I could find at a cheaper price at Tesco or Cooperative so I do not buy them in these specialist shops. 

After about an hour or so, we were ready to go back to the city centre to meet our other friends. Carrying our stuff we went back the way we came, but after a block we thought there should be a shorter route. So we turned right, which led us to the city centre side of the Buchanan bus station. Through here we could get to the city centre more quickly. It was still a long walk but anyway, at least we got to the city centre. We were a bit disoriented to find the corner to turn to Queen Street train station, where our friends were waiting. Anyway we got there just in time. A Thai friend was also arriving to meet us. Then when everyone was there, we went on our way to the hotpot/buffet restaurant. It was again another long walk and by that time my feet were aching! It was good one of the guys in our group helped to carry one of my bags.

We reached the restaurant after about 10-15 minutes walk (or it seemed like that to me). There were 10 of us and we got a long table. We enjoyed the buffet and the hotpot. So we had a satisfying time, just enjoying the food and the company. Even with the laughter and the banter, my work and all the things I had to do were just at the back of my mind. Oh well, I just had to put them aside first. By the time we were ready to leave, it was already about 930. 

We got to the train station to catch the train back to Stirling. It was nearly 10pm. In the train, there was an incident with the passengers who were drunk. They were shouting at each other, and for us, we stopped our conversation and sat still. My back was to them so I could not see what was going on, but I could hear the loud voice which was full of the f-word. I quickly kept my stuff just in case ...  hahaha! I was a bit shaken just listening to the shouting coz I was not used to it. Where could you escape if something happens while the train was moving? It was funny or scary coz just before this we were talking about being prepared in case something happens. Like while walking on the street on your way back to your flat or while sleeping in a hotel room. Anyway, my friends seated across me were just staring (in shock) at the fighting group who were just a few rows behind me. My friend later told me that one of the guys was holding another guy by his neck and lifting him up. Oh so glad I did not see it! So scary but finally they quieted down. I looked at the other passengers (locals) and they were acting like nothing was happening. There was one guy at the opposite seat who did not even look up. He was busy with his notebook. Another one was just sitting with his eyes straight ahead. Maybe they were just used to it? 

Photo: Kathy Nguyen

Finally our stop came and I was so glad to leave the train. The quarreling group also alighted and we let them go through the barrier first. 

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