As I was headed to Manchester, I went to the bathroom (as one does) and my button fell off my jeans in two pieces. I used my belt to keep my jeans on until I arrived. I checked into my hostel and had to charge my phone before heading out. While in the room, I was able to tell the score of the soccer (football) which was an England vs Wales match in some European league thingo, thanks to the cheers and moans of the sports bar across the road! Thankfully England won which means everyone was in good spirits afterwards!
As my broken button jeans were my favourite jeans I promptly headed to Primark to buy some more (or maybe it was H&m). Either way, I really didn’t have a budget for jeans at this point in my trip so i went to one of those places because they’re nice and cheap. So cheap in fact I ended up walking out with two pair of jeans 😜. Not the wisest move I’ve made but I like them!
As I walked out however, the weather that had been a little overcast as I went in to the store, had changed drastically and the shopfront and street/ tram stop was flooded, and it was pissing down. I trudged through ankle deep water, flipped my hoodie over my head and scurried back to the hostel (about 5 minutes away). I passed by an ambulance, with paramedics attending to a man who was lying in the wet gutter totally unresponsive. I questioned whether he had actually passed away, because it wasn’t really looking good. Kind bystanders held umbrellas over the paramedics and unconscious (or deceased) man and I scurried on past, deciding there was nothing I could do to help at this point and while standing and pondering this I was just getting wetter.
By the time I got back to the hostel, I rung water out of my hoodie and was absolutely soaking. Luckily I was still wearing my sopping wet broken jeans (not my new ones) so I just threw them out, and got myself dried and changed. Of course, once I had done this, it stopped raining.
I ventured out again and I met up with a lovely friend who I had met in a hostel in Norway. She was a Manchester local and we walked around the northern quarter a little in search of somewhere for dinner as we caught up. I passed by a decent amount of really cool street art!
We hit the jackpot with an awesome place that did gluten free everything! I had gluten free garlic bread pizza, gnocchi, and beer. The beer tasted like real larger too! Not like a shitty pale ale like most are, or cider which I’m not a fan of (unless it’s the Spanish cider from the Cideria I went to because it was surprisingly great)!
I noticed a lot of homeless people here too (there were virtually none in York, or Inverness) and these homeless people were rather proactive with their begging. Walking the streets and approaching people to ask for change. While I usually spare a sandwich or meal etc for homeless folk in need, I didn’t really appreciate the confronting nature of their requests, and I also am way over budget and should really save every last cent that I have for food and accommodation for myself. I did however spare some sunnies and the odd bit of change to the folks who looked like they had lost hope. For those who requested in an intimidating manner or tried to get into my hostel as I entered, I didn’t give up my change.
The next morning I went out to grab some breakky and found a cheap cafe which gave me a free coffee with my order (yay). The waitress then asked me if I want a latter? I said “excuse me” thinking about the sentence over in my head again to work out what would be former to have something be the latter of it. She asked again “latter”? And with a blank look at her, she explained, “like a milky coffee, you know, latte” and u realised for the first time on my travels through all sorts of different countries, an accent had thrown me, and it was bloody English! Ha!
After breakky I wandered the shops and then part of the glass roof of the shopping centre fell in! Craziness! Workers looked up puzzled as they blocked off that entrance to the shopping centre and got the glass cleaned up.
I wandered around Manchester and went to a main centre square of some kind. There were roadworks all around it which kind of detracted from how pretty it could be, but it was still nice.
I then came across an art gallery and with free entry and time to kill I went in to have a look. The lady at the front gave me a site map with basic info about the exhibitions in each room. A couple looked really good and I headed off to that first. After a good 15 minutes of thinking I was very geographically confused, I realised it wasn’t me at all, but the map she had given me was either out of date or too early, and none of the exhibitions listed were on display. I saw a few cool pieces but mostly it was art that didn’t appeal to me greatly.
I noticed that the local Mancunians LOVE their adidas. Probably a good 70% of people in town were wearing all sorts of styles of them. I had some English-African lad in his black adidas tracksuit, matching shoes and SnapBack, ask me if I was single and just general cat calling as I walked past. I rolled my eyes and carried on. Even if I was into men, that certainly wouldn’t be the way to pick me up. While I haven’t experienced it a lot on my trip, I did feel it here. The attitude of many of the locals is much more forceful in general.
I wandered through some markets which were selling all kinds of delicious food and then later I met back up with Jess (my friend I had met in Norway). We also met up with two of her friends who were so lovely! The four of us went to dinner and a drink, in Manchester’s famous gay village. We met up with another of their friends and the 5 of us carried on to one bar for another couple of drinks, and we ended up at G-A-Y (a local gay bar in the village). We were frisked on entrance which I am curious to know if it’s a recent development since the Orlando shootings (only days before). This was the first weekend since it had happened. I forgot to ask if it was a new procedure or if it were the norm. With none of us having any weapons we were all allowed in (yay) and had a few more drinks and danced away. It was great to see a good mix of gay men and lesbian women there. In Australia the “gay scene” is very male dominated however this was probably an even mix! It was great to see and maybe the scene in Aus will merge to this in the future too. I called it a night around 3am and as Ellis lived in the same street as my hostel we walked together (being approached for change by homeless people along the way).
I caught 4 hours of sleep before I had to drag my ass out of bed and catch my bus!
The city itself didn’t really jump out at me like others did, but I absolutely loved the inclusive nature of the town (seeing rainbows on the pavement and billboards for lesbian weddings) and the gay scene in town. While I liked Manchester, it was definitely my company that made my time there what it was. Thanks guys, until next time!