FIRE!

…just kidding.  My hall was rudely awakened this morning around 7am by the fire alarm.  So all of us filed outside and stood in the cold (and I mean cold) for about 20 minutes while they took attendance before finally letting us know it was just a drill and that we could go inside.  One poor girl had been taking a shower when the alarm went off and was soaking wet wearing nothing but a towel in the cold! I felt so bad for her.

The past few days have been fun, lots of orientation events and meeting new people.  Some highlights:  On Saturday Andree-anne and I explored the campus and Fallowfield, and wound up at Revolution for dinner.  The waitress warned us that it would be a half hour wait for food, but our meals came out within 10 minutes of ordering, so I don’t know why she was trying to scare us.

chicken, chorizo, cheese, and bbq sauce toasties with coleslaw and a rocket salad - yum!

Revolution's bar area

Afterwards we met up with Debbie and went to the Jabez Clegg, a pub where the International Society was hosting a world quiz night.  We got there too late to participate in the contest, but we sat with some other girls and racked our brains for the answers, just for fun.  It wound up being a really fun night and we met people from literally all over the world!

Sunday we decided to try out one of the restaurants on the Curry Mile, a stretch of road near my hall that’s pretty much consists of East Asian restaurants.  I love curry, so I’m definitely going to try out all of them before I leave (that’s actually probably impossible, there’s a million restaurants packed into that one block).

chicken briyani with curry sauce - sooo good

the tray of sauces that came with our meal: raita, mango chutney, onions, coleslaw-y stuff, and something that tasted like sweet relish

the interior of Lal Qila

Andree-anne and I then went on a complimentary city coach tour of Manchester, which was provided by the Purple People.  They had a tour guide who narrated our journey, who wasn’t bad.  Here’s some pictures so you get an idea of what went down:

Super long line up to get on the coach! Luckily we'd gotten tickets the day before so we got to skip the line.

The Midland Hotel - famous for being where Mr. Rolls met Mr. Royce

I sat in the window seat and tried to snap as many photos as I could! It's hard in a moving vehicle with grainy windows though

gorgeous windows of Manchester Town Hall

there are references to Dalton, Joule, and Rutherford everywhere in Manchester!

I love the mix of contemporary and modern architecture. In the background is Manchester's tallest building, housing the Hilton hotel. The architect lives on the top floor and has an olive grove.

the architecture all over the city is just gorgeous

we've been warned numerous times that the "black top" cabs (the yellow and black ones in this pic) are the only safe ones to get into

we stopped at the Salford Quays

across the water is Media City, the new home of BBC North

home of the Red Devils

so much merchandise!

I can't remember what this building was, but it's gorgeous so I had to take a picture!

After the tour we were feeling cold and a bit nippish so we went to KRO bar and took advantage of their 2.95 pound coffee and cake deal.

carrot cake and hot chocolate - perfect with all this chilly weather

Whew, this post has ended up being really long.  I’ll save the night events and what I’ve done so far this week for MBS Orientation for another post!

Cheers

Betty

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Errand’s Day

What a day!  Of course I woke up late today and missed breakfast, but I had an apple left in my room so I had that with some tea.  Soonafter I left to explore the campus and get my student card, bank card, and cellphone business sorted out.   The International Society had a helpdesk set up and they were super helpful, telling us where to go and how to go about doing things – they even had a sheet made up comparing all the features of all the different banks!  Of course as an Asian/accountant I chose the free one from Barclays.  You have to get a letter from the university stating your current address and proving that you are enrolled in full time studies to open up a bank account, which thank goodness they told us about and told us where to go to get it.  The carding office and letter place were in the same room luckily, so about half an hour later all that was sorted out.

Barclay’s on Oxford Rd. was a mess today!  Students everywhere.  It took about an hour for us to get out of there, and we have to go back next Thursday to get our card because they were too overwhelmed today with students to process everything.  Apparently you need a UK bank account to get a cellphone, so I guess I’ll be reliving my pre-cellphone days for another week.

After that we hopped on a 143 and took it to the end of the line as we were told to do and found ourselves in the midst of Manchester Market!

the hustling bustling Manchester Market, open daily

At this point it was about 2pm, and both having had little for breakfast the smells wafting from all the tents were too delicious to resist.  We both bought chicken pitta (yes pitta as they call it here pronounced PITAH, not pita with an e sound) and soup.  I got jerk sauce on my pitta and the pumpkin and sweet potato soup, which was amazing.

chicken on lettuce, tomato, and onion with jerk bbq sauce. Notice the pigeons waiting for us to drop morsels of food, which we sadly did

sweet potato and pumpkin soup, which also came with strips of warm pitta bread

After we were full and happy it was time to do what we went there for.  Primark!  As explained to us by the Int Soc girl, “it’s like… Walmart?”, to which we immediately went “ohhh, ok!”.  Oh my goodness Primark has become my new favourite place to shop, everything is so cheap!  The bags and accessories are the first thing you see when you enter into the 3 floor colossus, and was hard to resist.  I bought some necessities, as well as a cute little quilted and grosgrain bowed coral purse, which I, in my defense, need because I don’t have any purses right now that allow me to keep my hands free.  I love it!

Today's spoils, courtesy of Primark

The leopard print fleece throw is probably my favourite purchase of the day though, my room is freezing cold at night!  Plus it covers up most of my horrendously hideous duvet cover, which I did not pick and very much regret ordering online as part of the bedding pack.

My very much detested "Augusta Blue" duvet cover and pillow case. It looks (and feels) like sheets you'd find in a hospital

After dinner in the dining hall I went to the U of M’s Student Union building, where they were hosting a Ceilidh Celtic dance session for international students.  Very sweaty, very fun.  It was probably more fun laughing at our inability to grasp the steps than when we did figure out how to do it, although it was incredibly satisfying when we were able to do a dance properly.

Ok, time to head to bed!  Nighty night.

Betty