Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Day One of my Here, There and Everywhere Tour of the United Kingdom

My thoughts as Emirates EK019 was on its descent at Manchester International Airport? I survived the long 15-hour plus trip.

I am not a stranger to long flights. I have done this so many times before. But I hate it because I have travel sickness. So part of the trick there is to get an exit row set and preferably by the window or next to the aisle. Wasn’t able to get those seats on the first part of the flight (was in the middle seat of exit row) while on the last leg I was on the aisle. That helps when stretching or when I need to get up and walk around.

On the way to Dubai, I struck up a friendship with Rasheed, a Pakistani who is married to a Filipina and both work in Saudi Arabia. He sat next to me and was drinking Gatorade Green Fury (the limited edition flavor with Leo Messi on the label). I asked him if he liked it and he said it’s the best flavor Gatorade has. He was pleasantly surprised that I work for Gatorade. Plus, I showed him my hand carry luggage that had the G logo on it. So we passed the time by chatting about our respective lines of work.

Once on the airplane, we were in different sections as I sat in the middle of the plane while he was all the way in the back.

Had lots of films to choose from the flight's excellent selection but I chose to watch that 1980’s film, The Outsiders starring C Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, and Matt Dillon. Also in the film were a young Diane Lane and early 80s singer, Leif Garret. I bought the book a long time ago when I was in high school and saw the film later on. It's like a who's who for young and upcoming actors. Imagine that power cast now. And it was good seeing it again although I can now see the flaws in the script, the pace, or even the acting. But still it's right out of those Casablanca type films that I love.

The food as always was excellent. Excellent service. One of the stewardesses is even a dead ringer for Scarlett Johansson! Passengers were lining up to have their pictures taken with her. I wanted too but inabot ako ng ka-torpehan.

I didn’t have to wait much for the Dubai layover. Just an hour. Sat next to a couple from Leeds who talked about football too.

Watched X-Men: Days of Future Past for the first time as I missed it during its showing in Manila. Loved it! Thought that Bryan Singer did a great job. And the food was even better on this flight.

The sun was setting when the Emirates flight descended into England. Got to see from the window the sun going down.

While getting my passport stamped at Immigration, the Officer asked me about my trip and I said I was off to Liverpool to watch a match. And he got excited real quick that we ended up chatting for several minutes as the queue behind me wasn’t amused. Turns out he is a LFC fan (but he isn’t originally from Manchester though as he is from some other place that I couldn’t make out). He got real thrilled for me when he saw the letter where I am to avail of a hospitality package from Liverpool and Standard Chartered (Thanks, Ms. Nimii and Anne). "And a derby," he exclaimed! "Now they have to win to make it special for ya."

The one-way ticket from Manchester to Liverpool cost me £14. Took the train at Platform 2 (Heald Green, Gatley, East Didsbury, one stop whose name I didn’t get, Manchester Picadilly, and Manchester Oxford where I switched to another train that went through Warrington Centre, Widness, Liverpool South Parkway and lastly, to Liverpool Lime Street where I got off).

People were most helpful in pointing me to the right direction (the maze of corridors and platforms). Strangely though, one of the security officers working the exchange station for the trains wasn’t sure what platform I should be on for the Liverpool Lime Street stop. Luckily, one couple who were on their way to the same destination pointed me in the right direction.

It’s about 9:20pm when I arrive in Liverpool. And my first meal on English soil? Burger King (at the train station). Haha.

The hotel where I am staying for four days in Liverpool is the Britannia Adelphi that is about a three-minute walk from the train station.

The hotel reminds me of L’Fisher in Bacolod City. It has the same feel and ambiance to it. It has definitely seen better days but really who goes on tour to stay in a hotel? Sucks thought that there is no wifi in the room and I have to work at the lobby to make use of the internet. Walking along the corridors of the sixth floor, I can hear some of the floorboards creak. The lift is painfully slow that if a zombie were after me I would have been a meal for the bastard before the doors close shut.

Got a few hours of sleep before I went down early in the morning to use the internet. The lounge sure is quiet.

So it’s officially Day One of my Here, There, and Everywhere Tour of the United Kingdom. Will get up early for breakfast then head to Anfield where I will take the Stadium Tour after which I’ll take one of those Beatles taxi tours.

Check you all later.

With Rasheed at NAIA

My train ticket from Manchester International Airport to Liverpool

No comments:

Post a Comment