A Scots accent gets you everywhere with me, so our gracious hosts, Jean-Luc and Angus, took us around the delights of Edinburgh. Although it has only half the population of Auckland, there are more pubs to drink in and better clubs to dance - although Auckland wins on the steamie front.
After a few quiet bevvies at The Regent, a very pleasant local gay pub, we all decamped to a monthly club night called Mingin', which had us all gyrating on a word-less five hour hard dance track, smoke machines and all. OK, I confess. It's the only time in my life I have taken my shirt off on a dance floor. Of course, nobody noticed cos they were all off their faces, so I gathered it would be safe to make a fool of myself without having to suffer the consequences over breakfast. And no pictures to show off on the net either!
JL and Angus's friends we were introduced to were all way up on the spunk-o-meter and they didn't even wear a kilt. Being such a small scene everybody gets acquainted really fast - and the vast internet popularity of gaydar and worldskins to exchange profiles helps too. JL knew most of the Edinburgh entries!
After such a long Saturday night out it's customary here to visit the local sauna for some detox on Sunday afternoon. It wasn't hugely impressive by Auckland standards (insert your own definition of those here): smelly steam room, cold cruise areas, hard seating in the video room. Only the professional (German) masseur was up to scratch, according to Ewen, but he required an additional £25 on top of the £13 entry!
Of course, Edinburgh does do real culture well too, it wasn't all fun and sleaze. There was a special exhibition at the Castle on the Union of the Crowns: it's 400 years ago since Scottish King James VI became King James I of England too after Elizabeth I died. Plenty of stuff about his life was on display in the Royal Apartments of the Castle where he was born (his mother was Mary, Queen of Scots). As we all know, he was not averse to boys and made several of his favourites noblemen, but that was almost impossible to glean from the exhibition. Only an adolescent infatuation with his cousin Esme Stuart was referred to. Pity, cos he was the most successful homo monarch we have had so far. His own written letter complaining about his wife turning bitchy was quite funny to read (he blamed her pregnant condition). He was obsessed with witchcraft in his kingdom, which sounds like hysteria to me.
Over at the Museum of Scotland (which has a section on the history of emigration to New Zealand, very nice) there was an interesting display of the various torture instruments used on the unfortunate wenches accused of being witches. Safely locked away behind glass, so we couldn't try them out for real!