Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

4 Jun

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Two mechanical problems and one medical emergency later I have arrived. And only two hours late. Waiting for me outside is my friend Jenni. We were roommates on a cruise ship 18 years ago and haven’t seen each other since. Funny that neither of has aged a day.

We exit from the airport I notice that all of England is so excited that I’m here that they’re flying the Union Jack everywhere and have scheduled huge parties for my arrival. Wait, what? Something to do with the Queen and diamonds? She has enough diamonds so I choose to keep believing it’s all for me. I think, ‘goood thing I’ve practiced my wave’ as I wave to my subjects as we exit the car park (English for parking lot).

We make a stop for a quick lunch and head on over to the hotel to check in. We’ve booked a hotel in Manchester for one night as it seems a shame to land at the airport and immediately high-tail it out of town. So Jenni and I decide to explore as she’s never been to Manchester. You see, it’s two hours away from where she lives which, in England, apparently means it’s so far that you must plan the trip for a year, get your shots and a visa and write your will before making the long trek.

After checking into the hotel we head up to our room which has the most beautiful view. We notice that there is one double bed which is fine as we are women and don’t have that whole issue men have with sleeping in the same bed (what’s strange is that we women understand this). The only issue we have is that I have a bit of a cold and Jenni is a singer by trade (Want to hear her? Click here). Not a good combination. Jenni runs down to the desk to see about changing rooms and I take a couple things out of my bag to freshen up. After about a half hour (gettin’ a little worried. Did I scare her off already?) I hear a key in the door. In walks a man I don’t know. My first thought? Wow, these hotels in England are great! They come with a free newspaper, free breakfast and a free man! And good looking at that. He looks at the room number to be sure he’s gotten the correct one (a good indication is that his key worked). We both stumble with our “uh’s” and “oh my’s.” I say I think I know what happened as Jenni walks up and comments that she met him down at the front desk and he must be following her. Actually, as Jenni was getting us switched from out room the desk assigned him to this room. We had a lovely 20 minute conversation – his name is Ian, he works in construction and is in town on business. He performs with the local Gilbert and Sullivan Society (oh so very British) and his co-worker Mark is joining him at 6:30. Oh and he’s totally flirting with Jenni. We bid our farewells after talking about meeting in the bar later. Not a problem if he’s not there as the front desk has graciously left us with a key to his room.

After settling in our room Jenni and I go out to explore Manchester. We board the tram in front of our hotel. The doors close and nothing happens. Then we hear an announcement. “This train will not be moving until further notice due to an incident. All trains will stand still until cleared by the Manchester police.” (Uh-oh, they’ve found me!) No worries, within minutes we are one our way.

After visiting Manchester Cathedral and a few other sites we sit outside a pub taking advantage of the great weather. There we meet Julia and Sara. Julia is an actress and Sara has just come from a job interview. While some Americans might think of the British as stoic and snobby, the people I have met so far are well, quirky and pretty darn funny. Julia keeps asking me to speak so she can imitate my accent (and getting me to speak is such a difficult thing to do). Sara tells me that she thinks she will be offered the office job she has interviewed for but she is also thinking about going to Tibet to teach English instead. Hhhmmm, what to do? Julia is waiting to meet her date for the night. A man 18 years her junior ( you go girl). It’s their seventh date and she has shaved her legs (just sayin’). We wish them luck and head back to the hotel for an early night of jet lag recovery. We stop by the hotel bar to see if Ian and Mark are there. No luck (we decide not to use the key to Ian’s room).

I go to bed thinking about what a difference a year and a half makes. If you read
“I’m from the Government and I’m Here to Help” or “
My Schizophrenic Life” you will understand how grateful I am to be able to enjoy this adventure.

Tomorrow – travel with me to York (nothing New about this one) and the beautiful city of Hull (as their catch phrase says, “Hull is not dull”).

Note: The woman who gave up her seat on the plane has contacted me. Her name is Carly Ulrich and she just felt like doing a good deed. How about today you do a good deed in her honor (or as we say in England, her honour)?

More about the British in “Closet Patriots”

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One Response to “Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?”

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  1. On a Wing and a Prayer | My Own Adventure - October 30, 2013

    […] Read on in “Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?” […]

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