I think it was Tuesday that I started to really see the effects of all the protests in the city, but the days tend to lose their way when you work nights.
We were sitting around the hostel chatting about jobs and stuff when we heard this awful racket outside. Chanting and stomping and all sorts of noise, and we quickly ran to the window. You have to picture a Canadian, an Australian, a Kiwi and an American, all hanging out of a second storey window on the Royal Mile, trying to see what the heck was going on outside.
I finally saw this... "parade" of people walking down North Bridge. They were wearing black, and chanting something. We couldn't hear them very clearly. They were being followed by police officers.
Later on, I had to get down Princes Street. I was very lost in thought (and quite tired), so I was quite a ways down before I noticed there was no traffic except pedestrians. I had noticed the police at the head of the road, though. When I got far enough along, there was a huge crowd of police blocking off the sidewalk. They told me I would have to go around, but before I could get moving, they were all called away. There were sirens coming up, and I turned to see more police cars coming.
When I got past the police, I saw a bunch of officers on horseback, and an entire area of Princes Street Gardens cut off and surrounded by police. There were tons of people rubber necking around, and I will admit that I was trying to see what was going on. I never saw the actual protest, but I could hear some of what they were saying.
"What do we want?"
"Blah blah blah!"
"When do we want it?"
I listened for a bit but I never did catch what they wanted. (As a note for my more revolutionary friends, please enunciate when you're demanding something.)
So that was Tuesday.
I found out that a lot of the police presence yesterday was because of two suspicious packages they found in the city. Neither one was a bomb, thank God, but the police squads were sent out to deal with it anyway. I'm given to understand both packages were blown up.
I'm not quite sure at the mood of the city, which is very frustrating to me. I genuinely like working nights, but I feel very cut off from everything. I don't see a lot of people at night, and my coworkers are either Polish or Kenny, who suffers from "I hate everyone" syndrome. I really must get around to reading the Edinburgh blogs that I have bookmarked on my laptop.