Fun Times in Manchester

Trip Start Apr 25, 2008
Trip End Jun 25, 2008

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, April 25, 2008

Officially left Cork and now on the first leg of our 2 month holiday! Yesterday was absolutely hectic packing up our life in Ireland but it all got done relatively smoothly. Only frustration was the Post Office where we had to go to transfer money with Western Union to pay for our visa for Vietnam. We had learnt to not go during lunch time of 1 - 2pm as it would be shut so when we turned up at 2pm and there was a queue outside a closed office we weren't surprised. Each person at each kiosk seemed to be as incompetent as the next and clearly had no idea what they were doing with the Western Union form that we had filled in. We eventually got down to the man at the end who vaguely seemed to have some idea but had to fill out another form as we had put our NZ address as contact details but apparently you HAVE to be an Irish resident to send money from Ireland and even though we thoroughly explained how we were leaving the country for good in a couple of hours and therefore wouldn't be able to be contacted in Ireland anymore we had no choice. I know there's going to be a problem with that in the future - especially since we weren't given any receipt and we won't be able to be contacted if anything goes wrong.

Jiveen picked us up from the airport at midnight and we went to his flat in West Didsbury and went out for a drink. As soon as we leave Ireland we realise how much culture and more of a lifestyle is prevalent in every other single country we go to. Walking down the street from Jiveen's flat there were cafes, international cuisine restaurants, interesting bars and an atmosphere that we were unfamiliar with in Ireland. Apart from the stumbling drunks. We went to the drawing room which is this tiny bar which this wife and husband have established and where drawing classes etc will also be held so it attracts quite an "arty" audience. Couldn't even IMAGINE a place like that in Cork.

The weather was extremely mild which was a nice surprise, especially for me since I packed for summer weather - Saturday was warm and sunny so we had fun walking around the city of Manchester, the architecture is amazing like London but it's not as crowded which is nice. They have a "wheel of Manchester" which is like the London Eye but apart from that it was quite different from London. We saw the oldest pub - it was built in the 1500s apparently - then we went to Urbis which is AWESOME, it's free and has art exhibitions all the time. We went to the Manga exhibition which is japanese animation basically but they showed it all forms of fashion, advertising, animation, movies, books etc, we really enjoyed it. It's so cute!

Also went to an Arts Centre which is in this old building off the beaten path so it's not very crowded which is nice and the building has little galleries where the artist works as well as exhibits their work. It was VERY cool - some absolutely amazing handmade unique work that I was very tempted to buy but couldn't justify in spending pounds and then having the trouble of transporting it around with me back to NZ. Photography wasn't allowed for obvious reasons even though it was very tempting.

Went to Afflecks which is a very alternative building with crazy stores, it was very cool, more targeted towards teenagers but I still loved it. What I saw of Manchester seemed very arty, alternative, laidback, young and hip which is what I really loved about the place - although it could have just been the places we happened to go to! Got a sandwich and ginger beer from my beloved Pret store while Jiveen and John chowed down sandwiches from the outdoor market and kids ran around in the water fountain since it was so warm. We met up with some of Jiveen's friends and went to the Human Works exhibition at the National Museum of Science and Technology - no photography was allowed for obvious reasons so I don't have any proof I went apart from my ticket. It was pretty interesting once you get over the gory fact that it's actual human bodies being displayed - after a while it got a bit too much and I was happy to go outside for some fresh air but it wasn't horrible or anything, it's just that being surounded by human flesh and bones etc is a bit intense when that's all you've been looking at for 45 minutes.

That night we went to Cachumba, a restaurant just down the road from Jiveen's place that his flatmate had recommended, we couldn't find it on the first walk down but persisted with it and eventually found the restaurant that you can easily walk past since it's not obvious it's open or what's happening inside. We were told it was african food but definitely was indian - ordered small dishes and ate with rice and it was sooo good! The flavours were incredible and everything tasted delicious, definitely would even give the bodhi tree a run for its money! Although it's different types of food so guess can't really compare. Ate to our heart's content and Jiveen and I even got dessert - mango and apple crumble I think it was with custard, how could one resist?!

Next morning it was off to the airport to fly to Tel-Aviv. Next stop: Israel!
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