Big up to my London crew...
I have now visited both Liverpool and Manchester and I'm now back in London. We found a much quicker train ride that went directly back from Manchester's Piccadilly station to London's Panceas Station instead of the gruellingly long trip we had on the way up. It took a little over 3 hours this time. The trip up seemed to take 5-6 hours all together and we had to switch trains twice.
We stayed at an old historic hotel in Liverpool called the Britannia Adelphi which I thought was pretty cool. It had really high ceilings and was like staying in an old mansion. The bathroom was interesting. The bathtub was huge, one of the only ones I've ever been in where I could stretch out completely. But, it had no shower curtain.
Liverpool and Manchester seemed pretty interesting from what I got to see of it. It was much more modern than the picture of it I had in my mind. I felt the people there could understand my accent a little better than than some of the people I've talked to in London. I did a bit of shopping in Manchester, I got some cool euro style printed t-shirts that were on sale. I think I got some really good photos while I was in Manchester as well. I like to just wonder around and come upon things by chance, its turned out well so far. I think I've taken about 400+ photos so far. Its going to take me awhile to sift through them all. I hope to have a lot of quality shots.
I thought a lot about Morrissey and the Smiths while I was in Manchester since that's where they are from. I noticed on the train ride up there all the factories and shipping docks. Morrissey often talks about the working class England of the North and how they are taken for granted by London and South England. He seems to have a lot of contempt for South England. During the concert he even said "I hope you all travelled from the North of England and not the South" with a sarcastic sneer.
The retail prices seemed quite a bit more reasonable from my brief obsvervations in Liverpool and Manchester. Their seemed to be quite extensive construction going on in both cities. I know both are normally at the top of the league in the Premier soccer league as well. We tried to go on a tour of the Boddington beer brewery in Manchester but it wasn't open at the time. I noticed that the brewery's address said it was located in "Strangeways, Manchester". I remember that from the name of a Smiths album, "Strangeways, Here We Come."
Tomorrow we had planned on going to Stonehenge and possibly back accross the country to Bath. I was thinking today I may want to hang out in London an extra day. It really has a lot going on that I'd like to see but haven't had a chance to yet. It would be a lot of riding on trains again for a few hours of looking at a big rock. I definitely want to see it but maybe not this trip. We'll see what happens. Also, Kevin really hasn't really seen much of London at all since he was sick the day I went to see everything.
We are staying at a hostel for the first time which is located close to the British Museum in northeast London. We are actually just north of Soho were I spent a lot of time the other day. This is the first time both Kevin or I have stayed at a hostel. It is very cheap but doesn't offer many accomidations. We are thinking of switching to a hotel room tomorrow instead of the other hostel accross town he had booked. Also we are figuring out its much better to stay in the same hotel on consecutive nights so we don't have to carry around all our junk in our back packs.
I have become fond of Stella Artois while I've been here. I just drank a 500ml can I purchased from a little shop on the way for 1 pound 39 pence. Its kind of cool how you can walk around and drink on the streets here. The big beers I've seen a lot here are Stella, Carlsberg, Strongbow, Guiness and Carling. I've seen many others of course but those just come to mind as the most frequent. I was surprised to see people actually drinking Budweiser here as well. There is no way I would drink that if I could have Stella or Carlsberg instead.
Something I have been thinking the whole trip is how apparant it is is that England is fond of the US. I'll give some examples. On the BBC statios 1,2,3 and 4 that I've seen you can always see a US show in syndication on. It is a cool fad right now to wear t-shirts featuring a US state. I've seen many people wear cowboy boots as kind of a cool fashion item as it is for people in the US to wear the euro style shoes. Of all the music I've heard the entire trip probably 70% of th music has been from artists from the US. Part of that I know is becuase US just produces more music but it is very obvious that England loves US music. At Reading a Guns and Roses song came on and everyone just went nuts.
I would like to update my opinion on British smoking habits. I know for sure I did see a lot of people smoking marijuana, but a lot of it was also that it is much more common for people to roll their own cigarettes. On every pack of cigarettes there is a huge sticker that says "Smoking Kills." It seems very common to smoke. I think I saw something on the BBC where they were thinking about outlawing it in public places like New York but they haven't been able to pass it yet.
Well I can see the light of the end of the tunnel and I will be ready to get back and sleep in my own bed by the time the end of the trip comes. Just 2 more days in England before the flight back on Sunday morning. I like to keep ragging on Kevin about how all the hotels I reserved have been lavish so far but then we come to one he reserved and its kind of a dump. Oh well, neither of us had stayed at a hostel before so its an experience. Its a good clue when its $45 and all of mine have been $100/night. Actually, the $100 per night is a very good price, that's only 55-60 pounds so I've been happy with the quality so far for that price. Well, I'm going to find something to eat and possibly get another Stella Artois before I go back and try to sleep in that hostel which unfortunately has no TV in the room and a shared bathroom for several rooms, thanks Kevin.