Manchester England, England

First day in England, exhausted, dehydrated, culture shocked.

We made it to the parking garage with David and Christine in a daze around 10:00am. Exiting the terminal, there were lots of people holding signs, all looking British. Surprise that, ’cause they were British, probably. Anyways, in the parking garage were numerous small cars or designs we hadn’t seen before. In my groggy state, that was exciting. We were able to fit all of the heavy, bulky baggage as well as all four people into their small car, then drove off (on the left side of the road) toward Didsbury and Lapwing Lane. We unloaded the bags into the cute little house in a great location, then Bethany proceeded to stumble through our agenda. I napped, showered, gave Christine and David Xmas/hostess gifts, got orange juice to wake me up, then called home. Bethany did most of those things too, except tea instead of orange juice, and in different order.

Also, I was amazed and thrilled to receive from the aunt and uncle a mobile phone, the first one I have ever owned. I’ve figured out a number of the bells and whistles, but I’m far from as adept at its use than veritably every one of my peers. But I’ve finally joined the commlink-carrying ranks.

Christine and Bethany and I went into town to do some errands in the afternoon. We went to a post office and exchanged some money, then went to a little shop where we “topped up” our phones. That just means add money to your pay-as-you-go plan. We then went home.

I got in touch with Catherine, a friend of a friend with some connection to Edinburgh, and we might meet up in the next few days. Which will be hectic. We’re going on the train to Glasgow (4 hrs) tomorrow at 10am, where we’re staying with one of Bethany’s friends. On Sunday we’re going into Edinburgh (1 hour) for the Hogmanay (New Years) celebrations. We don’t know what we’re doing that night, because apparently no public transport goes from Edinburgh to Glasgow between 11 and 6am. Hmm. So, we’ll either find a non-drunk, safe-seeming ride back, find out that public transport in fact does run, find someone to crash with in Edinburgh (optimal), or stay up all night (perhaps in shifts?) until trains or buses start running again. It’ll be fun.

Regardless, for dinner tonight Christine and David took us out for “curry”, which in the UK apparently refers to all South Asian food. It was tasty, and I had two half-pints (that makes a full pint, doncha know) of Cobra, some Indian beer. Not bad. Beer. I know, I don’t drink usually. But here it’s legal, and it’s how people live. I’m just a cultural chameleon, adapting to the lifestyle around me. Ha. I wish. Anyway, the meal was great, the beer made me loopy (only a pint…what’ll I do when I get to Scotland?), and we walked home through the cold. Well, slightly cold. It’s about the same as it has been in the Northeast States: cold, but not below freezing. We returned home, sorted out train things, and now to bed. Ugh. So much to do in so little time. It’s crazy.

So, here are my top British snapshots of the day:

  • a man with a dog in Barclay’s (the bank). The dog sniffed my leg, and the guy said, apologetically, “He’s just givin’ you a wee sniff”, at which I smiled.
  • the postman in the post office who called all female customers, young and old, “luvv”
  • the predominance of brick and stone in the architecture
  • seeing that the toilet and shower were in different rooms
  • seeing how teensy the backyard (“garden”) is, surrounded by garden walls and other houses
  • beer with dinner with aunt and uncle at age 20
  • policeman in airport wearing one of those silly helmets
  • tiny cars driving on the left side of the road

That’s all for now. Hopefully, sometime I’ll be able to get some of the pictures I take uploaded to here as well. Busy day tomorrow. Cheers all!

-10:11 GMT

8 Replies to “Manchester England, England”

  1. Alex, yay!!! i’m so excited for you!! i hope your christmas was pretty sweet. also, toliet and shower in separate rooms…that’s a new one!! have fun!!!

  2. This sounds so familiar!! I’m glad you’re having such a great time. I’ll keep you on my list for email updates from Morocco! Heather M

  3. Hi Alex! This is so cool. I love all the details about your experiences. I am waiting with bated (sp?) breath to read the next episode. Will he sleep? Will they find a way back to Glasgow or stay up all night?

  4. Dear Alex,
    What fun and very interesting to read your first three blogs! We shall eagerly await new postings as you have opportunities to update.
    Happy Hogmanay and best wishes for the upcoming months sojourn in one of your ancestral; lands.

  5. I’ve just started checking out your blog, and look forward to doing so often! I hope you are enjoying all the fresh experiences
    there. I was just in the U.K. and noticed that environmental issues seemed higher in the mix of media signals than in my neck of the U.S. I’m curious to know if you find that also. Good Luck and Happy New Year! – Liz

  6. Once you get familiar with Scotland, I’m going to have to come visit you. I’ll drag Zaq and Daniel along…we’ll bring Monochip! It’ll be amazing! I miss you so much already; are you positive you want to stay over there? I’ve heard the men don’t wear underwear under their kilts, y’know…

    Kisses! -‘Chelle

  7. Being the ignorant cousin that I am, I don’t know why you’re in England. Is it just for a vacation ? And for how long ?
    Did you know Manchester United was #1 in the premiership ? That’s the English soccer first division championship. You never know, it could help in a conversation… 😉

    Imagine an american totally nuts about his NFL, Basketball and Baseball team all year long, well multiply that by 100 and you get an english soccer fan.

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