Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Debacle in Shetland: Chaos in the South

After my trip to Sumburgh Head, I needed to head back north to Lerwick in time for some chow, and to catch the ferry back to reality. I had made pretty quickly for Sumburgh Head in the first place, but I decided to snap a few pictures on the return trip. The first occasion was just south of Sumburgh Airport, Shetland's main air artery. So, what would make this particular spot worthy of photographic attention? Simple: the road intersects the runway! And when I say "intersects the runway", I mean that they have barriers that get lowered whenever a plane needs to take off. No, I'm not making it up. You can see it here. Un. Believable. As a terrorism expert myself, I couldn't fathom that there was actually just a meager barrier between a vehicle and the airport. Then again, to paraphrase Deputy Travis Junior from the hit comedy Reno 911(!): "I think any terrorist who would wanna do some kinda thing in Shetland... Has never been to Shetland."

What else was going on the entire time I was at Sumburgh Head? Oh, nothing but a Super Puma doing touch-and-goes. Why? Because it's Shetland, and the rules be damned!

One of my favorite things to do while I'm overseas is to send post cards to friends, loved ones, and even random strangers if the opportunity arises. I needed to get both post cards and postage so that my friends and family could join me in commemorating my debacle in Shetland. I had seen a combination convenience store/post office (many of the United Kingdom's post offices are run as private franchises) on my way down to Sumburgh Head, so I kept my eye out and turned into the car park once I'd gotten back there. Once I saw the sign for the place, I decided that it was a moral imperative that I photograph said sign. Just have a look at all of the different functions that this particular shop in Dunrossness serves! I want to be quite clear, though, that although the sign had me shaking my head, everyone in the shop was extremely friendly and helpful, as was everyone in Shetland. As I noted earlier, Beirut is my epitome of a bad vacation, and one of the things Shetland can consistently boast that beats Beirut like a redheaded stepchild is the friendly and helpful attitudes of its residents.

I can't remember any more chaos off the top of my head, but I will always remember the southern end of Shetland as a sort of Bizarro Orkney, where nothing makes sense and the laughs just keep on comin'. Once I had left the vicinity of Sumburgh Head, it was back to Lerwick with me!

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