THE SCOTLAND DIARY: DAY THREE: THE LOCHNESS……..AND FOYERS (part one)

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Foyers is aptly named, as it is the foyer, which allows entrance on to the shores of Loch Ness. (Pronounced Laukh Ness).

This am I was in Artesias waiting by the roadside with my suitcase for the bus to pick me up. I give credit to the Scottish folks in this area that did not bat an eyelash at seeing me by the roadside as if it was commonplace for a hijabi to be waiting by a farmhouse in the outskirts of Inverness to be picked up by the bus.

The politeness of the people in and outside Inverness has been phenomenal. I think they must have read the book of RasullAllahs Khullooq and perhaps kept it as a well-hidden secret of the Highlands for most certainly my dear Muslim brothers and sisters are still searching for it to find out what it says?

The bus picks me up; the driver is most cordial, reserved like the British but not in an unfriendly manner but more in keeping a respectful distance in formality. He drops me off exactly where I am supposed to be dropped off. That is important for someone like me who does not even know which direction is Inverness; leave alone, how to find the bus connection to Foyers.

A man sitting opposite me in the bus is carrying a pot of lovely pink flowers that he has bought from a nursery. As I get off the bus my bewildered expression is obvious and he asks me if he can help. As he walks me to the Foyers Bus stand, I ask him if the flowers are heather, he says they are fire ……something, and the plant is for his niece, he is headed to her place to plant it for her. What a thoughtful uncle! I mull through my brain trying to recall all the uncles I have known both blood related and friendship related as to which one has ever planted flowers for me, and I draw a blank. Do you have an uncle who not only plants the flowers for you but also travels two hours from his home to buy the plant for your garden?

Opposite the foyers bus station is a covered mall named Victoria and going into it is heaven. I enter it and time slows down as I meander through the shops, resist sitting down for tea and crumpets and find a music shop.

The owner just happens to be a bagpipe teacher and is a fount of information about the area and turns out to be a knowledgeable guide of the LOCH Ness. He asks me where I am headed and I say Foyers and he says ‘Oh I live there”………..

I am always more ambitious than what I am capable of doing. Thus I find myself in the gorgeous afternoon, wanting to take two buses to get the cruise on the Lochness when I am hit with what I call jetlag: the inexorable compulsion to sleep which over comes me to the point that I want to lie down on the sun warmed pavement in Inverness and go to sleep. I recognize that this is not a good idea and sooner than I can look for alternate attention distractors, the bus to Foyers turns the corner and advances towards me, 15 minutes early.

Foyers……..not one but many Foyers, are the openings of invitation to the Loch Ness, which gracefully spreads itself into the nooks and crannies of the hills and dales of the surroundings appearing here and there through my bus window playing peek a boo to my sun warmed eyes that are on the verge of shutting down, beckoning to me to come………..

I find myself mesmerized by the appearing and disappearing of the Lochness as the bus meanders along its shores heading towards foyers.

In the afternoon sunlight no amount of imagination can conjure the Lochness monster from the placid surface of the water…….. but as I am to discover it becomes a whole different issue as the sun sets and the claws of night burrow into the water to arouse the sleeping monster in its depths.

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