Glory, Glory

Glory glory Man united,
Glory glory Man united,
Glory glory Man united,
As the reds go marching on on on!

I went to a soccer game for the first time last night: Champions League Manchester United vs. Basel.  It was seriously, SO. MUCH. FUN.  I’m not a soccer fan in the least, everytime FIFA World Cup fever begins I don’t even bother trying to watch a match because I know I don’t like soccer. But this game honestly has completely turned me around.

My ticket! Yes you're reading that right, I paid only 17 pounds thanks to the UMSU.

I got my ticket from the ticket booth at the Student Union as soon as I heard it was only 17 pounds and tons of other exchange students were also going.  Watching a Man United game was on my list of to do’s while in Manchester, but I was fully aware that it’d come with a price.  I don’t even like soccer, it just seemed like attending a game was necessary if I was going to be in Manchester so I was prepared to shell out some money. The fact that it was so cheap was icing on the cake.

Getting there was pretty straightforward: all we had to do was hop on the 250 bus and get off when we saw everyone wearing a red t-shirt/scarf get off the bus.  It was like a carnival atmosphere just walking to the stadium!

tons of scarf carts and food trucks lined the streets around the stadium

Old Trafford - home of Manchester United

Inside it was just as hectic, with vendors trying to sell souvenir scarves and and just as many food carts.

tons of police were inside to make sure people didn't get too rowdy

We had to climb eight flights of stairs (that was my workout for the day) to get to our seats, which were in the second to last row, but I’ve got to say for the price we paid they weren’t bad at all.  I’ve been to tons of hockey games while sitting in the nosebleed seats, which is alright but it’s a little hard to follow the puck.  Soccer is awesome!  The field is massive and the ball is huge in comparison to a puck so it doesn’t matter if you’re not front row, you can still see everything.

my view of the field - I thought the massive slanted ceiling would be obstructive but it really wasn't, you just couldn't see the other side of the seats but who cares

I said it earlier, I’ll say it again.  I was so surprised I got into the game as much as I did.  A quick run down: the first five minutes of the game looked like an even match between the two teams, but as soon after Basel started to just looked sloppy.  Manchester completely dominated the play and kept everything in their end.  The times where Basel managed to get it over to their half of the field and shoot the ball, it wouldn’t even make it to the net, either going way over or off to the side.  The best scoring chance they got was when one of the players had a clear shot at the net and aimed for the top left corner but hit the bar instead.  Manchester got two goals like two minutes apart and it started getting almost boring to watch because Basel was just a mess on the field and it seemed obvious that the home team would win.

with Manchester dominating the first period, all the action was on my end

Holy cow though, second period got me right back into the game.  Basel came back with a vengeance and Dominated with a capital D, quickly tying the game 2-2.  It stunned the crowd, but everyone seemed to think that Manchester would pick it up and soon reply with a goal of their own. But no.  Manchester took a penalty so Basel got a penalty shot (kick?) …and scored.  Game was now 2-3 for Basel, which was sooo upsetting for me, because everytime I go to a Canucks game, they always lose.  I was really hoping to be part of a winning home team for once.  The game started getting so intense and I was so into it, doing the whole oohhhHH…. oooHHHHH??!… OOHhhhhh… thing when we got a chance, another chance, but missed.  Time was not on our side and Basel kept substituting players or just taking their sweet time to toss the ball went it went out of play to kill time. It really seemed like we were going to lose.  But – in the last minute, literally with something like probably 25 seconds on the clock Manchester SCORED.  The crowd went nuts, me included, with everyone hollering and screaming on their feet.


The 4 minutes of overtime ended scoreless, so game over.  I was really surprised when everyone started leaving after those 4 minutes, I just sat there for a bit until it was obvious people were trying to get past me, at which point I was like, “what? It’s ..over? Oh…”  I guess I’m used to watching sports with a clear winner and loser like hockey.

Such a fun game to watch, I really didn’t go in there expecting to enjoy it but I’m so glad I did!  The experience was well worth the money.  I thought about buying a scarf, but I really would never ever wear the thing again.

My goodness, getting back home was a nightmare though.  I’ll save my rant about transit in Manchester for another day, but I’ll just have you know it took me nearly 2 hours to get back to my hall, when it only took about 25 minutes to get to the game.

Overall though, great night!   And I can now officially cross it off my bucket list.

My Bucket List

watch a Manchester United game 




…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!



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.



Woke up quite early today to finish packing up and to get to our coach at Heathrow that was to take us to Manchester Airport to be picked up by “Purple People”, who would send us on another coach to be dropped off at our dorms.  I basically slept for the vast majority of time on the coaches, and luckily was dropped off right next to an awaiting University of Manchester coach.  The purple people literally had purple t-shirts that read “PURPLE PERSON”, which I found pretty hilarious but didn’t bother taking a photo of.

Key collection and whatnot was pretty straightforward; finding my room was not, but somehow I managed.  When I opened my door I was so surprised.  My room is massive!  At least double the size of my room at home with a huge bay window at the far end of the room.  I absolutely love my room, it’s got so much storage space and even has a sink so I don’t have to venture out to the washrooms with morning breath and messy hair.

the view from my room

the view from my room

The building itself is definitely very old, I think it was founded in 1900 and the brick building’s architecture reflects its age, which I find charming.   The dining room is especially gorgeous, with high ceilings and massive windows framed by light green curtains, and is furnished in light coloured oak dining tables and chairs.  I’m so glad I chose a catered hall – no need to scramble for food, and I get to eat in this gorgeous room!

I did a Tesco/Lidl run with Debbie after I had dinner in the dining hall (nothing special about the food here) and bought some necessities like toothpaste and soap, as well as a little pot of bright yellow chrysanthemums to brighten up my room.

Getting around on the bus system tonight was horrible.  The transit system here in Manchester seems archaic, with multiple operators going the same routes so if you want to buy a bus pass, you can either buy one from a single operator and only use their busses, which hopefully run all the routes you need to take, or pay a ton for one that works on all operators’ buses.   I did a bunch of research (read: googled it) and decided on the Stagecoach bus pass, which was confirmed by Debbie to be the one recommended by the University itself.  So tomorrow I’ll go buy that and hopefully also set up a bank account as well as a phone contract.

Alright, bedtime!  Cheerio for now,