Sunday, 3 September 2006

We're in Manchester - Sunday

We're HERE!
we arrived fine, not quite as tired as we thought.  Passport control asked for a few documents to verify Joe's student status and then we were IN!  So simple in Manchester compared to Heathrow.  While we were standing at one of the "booths", I overheard a couple next to us who were saying very similar things as we were: she was a PhD student too, according to her passport, coming from the US too!  Studying visual anthropology; we'll  have to look for them at the orientation events. 

By the time we walked out of passport control, then through the "nothing to declare" , our luggage - all 4 huge bags - were right there!  Our newly-applied Episcopal Church shields definitely helped us identify the large black bags.  It was all much easier and navigable than Heathrow ... and now it's done!

The taxi driver could fit everything in his big black car and was quite happy to talk with us about his own version of important things in Manc : the home of Karl Marx and Engels; and an early suffragette here; and in Gorton - the largest automobile mart in England. 

The Holiday Inn Express was WONderful !  We arrived in time for a quick bite of buffet breakfast (croissants, yogurt, tea - of course) and then hit the bed, actually 2 beds.  We had booked for 2 twin beds and then put them together.  The room was big enough for the luggage (just barely) and a nice window opening onto nearby Debdale Park's small pond.  Hot water for a shower after a 2 hour nap felt just fabulous.

Then we were off to be good ole Americans - consuming Americans that is!  My colleague RevS and her husband took us to lunch at a local pub and then shopping at Comet!  Comet is like Besty Buy with all appliances and electronics you could want.  We needed a bunch!  We'd done some research on line from home so when we saw them in person we were pretty quick to decide.  In about 20 minutes we got cooker (or stove - electric cooktop and oven in one unit), a frost free FridgeFreezer (there is a range of small fridges and small freezers not combined that you could get, as well as non-frost free -yikes!) and the most important - washer and dryer!  We had been warned that it was not possible to receive next-day delivery in England and that was true - we'll have to wait til Friday for the cooker and fridge and then until next Sunday for the washer& dryer.  At least we got started shopping on Sunday.  One good thing, since most of the appliances are smaller (and therefore more energy efficient) than we'd get in the States, they're actually not that expensive even with the exchange rate of almost 2:1.  We still need a TV and DVD player, microwave, and electric teakettle.  

Getting the bed and mobile phone (what they call a cell) are still on the ToDo list, but we're off to a good start while at least not being too tired.

We forced ourselves to stay awake thru a dinner at a bad "chain pub" near to the hotel and then watched a show called "Songs of Praise" which is just like televised hymn-singing from around the country.  Glorious!  Great church, happy people, something more uplifting than 60 minutes on Sunday nights.  

Then at about 11 we got to sleep for real and it felt great - at least until about 5 AM when we both woke up - instead of forcing sleep, we turned on TV for about an hour and then fell back to sleep until 9 AM and had about 15 minutes to got to breakfast buffet again! 

Day 1 finished!  What will the next bring??  

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