Last Friday, I made a day trip to Manchester. I planned to visit three museums as well as a library before my day was through. My first stop on the trip was the Museum of Science and Industry. This proved to be a much bigger museum than I thought. In fact, there were five, multi-leveled, buildings dedicated to science and industry of England. All the museums that receive money from the government are free, they just pester you the whole time for donations. I honestly could've spent the whole day in there it was so big. The first building was dedicated to the cotton industry, and I watched a great presentation of how cotton process in the factory. The second building focused on coal and had a traveling exhibit on 3D printing. I even got to see a 3D printer make a mini Eiffel Tower Model. The third and fourth buildings were dedicated to trains and the power of steam! They had a whole depot full of trains from different eras. It was very cool, I've always liked trains since as long as I can remember ( Big Thomas the Thank Engine child right here). The final building housed cars, planes, motorcycles, bicycles and every other transportation you can think of.
I spent about 3-4 hours in the Science Museum and still felt rushed. I decided to nix one museum visit and headed to the John Ryland's Library. It should have been named "The Hogwarts Library" because I felt like I was studying potions. It was absolutely beautiful. I'll let the pictures do the talking.They had a collection of hand mirrors dedicated to famous literary heroines. Each mirror represented a literary heroine and had a quote inscribed on the glass. I'll let you guess and see which heroines I took pictures of!
After the Art museum I realized that everything closes up at 5 so I waited around at the station until 7:30 when my train came. The passenger car on the way home was a madhouse. No one was in their reserved seat and no one cared. I ended up standing awkwardly in the middle for a couple of stops. To make things worse there was a stupid snack trolley that would go up and down the car so I had to keep moving with it. Everyone standing were like vultures waiting for a seat to open. Once a person gets up to grab their things, everyone's ears perked up and waited for the moment to pounce. A fight almost broke out over a seat. Moral of the story: get to the train early.
As for my program, it's going well. It still is a hard transition from going to classes everyday, all day to just two hours, two nights a week. My Monday class is like a history/sociology class and we've been looking at British society during the post WWII era. The government was very controlling of people's lives, much more so than in America. In regards to music, we are focusing on the BBC. There was no other radio channels in Britain except for the pirate radios at night.
"Covers" is very crucial in my studying because that's how The Beatles made it big. They weren't trained to play music, they would sit and listen to a record over and over and pluck the chords out. This leads to my second class on Thursday. In this class, we are focusing on popular music and how to analyze it. Analyzing music has been based on classical music and uses terms and methods geared to classical pieces. For popular music, one can't analyze a song in the same way. We are looking at the popular song as a text and seeing what messages/ signs we receive and how the recorded sound works as a code.
I wanted to put in a picture to break up the writing so here is a picture of me one Halloween. Enjoy.
Fashion: The 80's and 90's are alive and well in Liverpool. All the girls have choker necklaces. In addition, 95% of the girls wear fake eyelashes, and penciled eyebrows daily. Sometimes I feel like I'm on an episode of Saved by the Bell or Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Food: I haven't tried much English food yet apart from Fish and Chips (which is still delicious). Most English food I've seen is taking ingredients and putting it in a pie. They put everything into a pie. As for restaurants, they have quite a few kebab shops and Asian take away restaurants (their way of saying take-out). But they all serve English food as well. I could get some egg rolls, fried rice and a side of fish and chips if I wanted. Also, milk is still delivered daily to some houses.
Dialect: Maybe it's because I've listened to The Beatles talk billions of times, but I'm pretty good at understanding most people. Better than some of those around me. It's a degree of how "scouse" they sound. The really "scouse" accented people I can't understand. Usually, these are the bus drivers, postal workers, and security guards. They'll ask me a question and I can't even understand a word of what they said. I usually just nod and smile. I've been meaning to tell everyone that my bus driver looks exactly like George Clooney. I'm not kidding, a perfect duplicate. I'm serious, as if they were copycat twins. I'll have to get a picture of him sometime so you can see for yourselves.
They do have different words for many things. Shopping cart: Trolley, dish soap: washing up liquid, stamp: sticker to name a few. Instead of saying 'excuse me' they say "sorry." 'How are you' is " y'alright?" or "you ok?" This one took me awhile to get use to hearing. I remember the first couple of times I responded "Why do I look sick?"
Shopping: They have quite a few second-hand (called Charity) shops. These are quite popular and I've been to quite a few. Downtown, they have a really nice outdoor mall with all the high end shops. It's like Great Northern with no roof, walls and is much bigger. Most of the produce they have in the grocery stores don't last very long. They are much stricter on preservatives, additives, farming conditions for animals than the USA. Most food put on the shelves is good for 3-4 days then goes bad rather quickly. They shop for food quite frequently for the freshest meats, vegetables and bread. Me, I try to stretch it two weeks. I'd go crazy if I'd have to walk there every 3-4 days.
Liverpool and the Country: There is quite a divide in feelings in the England. Most of the south, especially London, consider the North to be poor beggars that aren't too bright. The south, in return, is viewed as posh, snobbish and outright rude. And both the North and the South don't care about anyone from the middle of the country. Everyone here is takes much pride in being a Liverpudlian.
As I said above, I'll be adding some observations to the ends of my blogs in the future. Before we get to trivia, Here's another Halloween picture!
Peace & Love,