Liverpool: Liverpool

You know what, I really like Liverpool. So far this
whole city has been one pleasant surprise after another. My host is alright
too- but then, they’ve all been great so far. He literally gave me the key to
his house on the first night and told me I was free to go in and out as I
pleased. His trust in strangers is remarkable, though of course I wouldn’t have
much places to run to if I decided to take off with the flat screen that he
doesn’t have.

Seriously, I could see myself living here, and I don’t say that easily. The
town centre is a little focused on expensive fashion, but once you set foot
outside of it, you find yourself pausing to take a good look around on just
about every corner of the street. The city declared itself "Capital of
Culture" last year, resulting in the most amazing of spectacles (Seriously, watch that), with the
effects still very noticeable just about everywhere you turn. Bars, clubs,
venues small and big, are all centered on music. No square is left without some
artwork that makes you tilt your head, and even the underground scene is very
easily spotted. Just last night I stumbled across what seemed to be a cross between
a tea house and a squat, which turned out to be an artist community and the
center of a whole complex of studios and rehearsal rooms. I stayed there for a
while, enjoying the atmosphere very unlike the usual cold cleanliness that make
you wonder if you have nowhere better to be. Even the waitress, Spanish and
heavily accented, had quite an attitude. What more can you ask for?

Modern as the traffic-free centre might be, the rest of the city is mainly
composed of bricks. I came to realize yesterday just how much I like the
impression brick walls give. The dock warehouses have been largely abandoned
and are in a state of decay, which makes them look all the more authentic. With
the external hoists now gone and most windows broken, what is left is the silent
witness of what was once a heavily industrialized zone, one of the most
important ports of England
until the independence of its colonies and the development of cheap air

Amidst all this, you will find yourself running into medieval buildings as
well, although both (yes, two) cathedrals were built in the 20th century.
Things like churches and um, churches. Museums too, and quite interesting ones
at that, covering subjects like slavery, music history, modern art and Liverpool

Also, something I’ve been missing terribly in Ireland.
A dead honest, in-your-face, I don’t give a shit attitude. Because showing it or
not, strangers just don’t give a damn. Regardless of their willingness to help
you if there’s a problem, they really don’t care who you are and where you’re
going, and they ask you how you are only if they really want to know. Back on
the west coast of Ireland,
it was a standard way of saying hello and always made me stammer confusedly
that I was quite alright, thanks, as if they could care less. On top of that,
the crowd here is very young. 15 to 25 young, with all consequences to be
expected: Maarten can’t keep his eyes to himself. Hey I just came from a
country of fat stout drinkers, mind you. Besides, I’m 24 and barely- wow I’m sad.

There’s supposed to be an SM club here as well, but I haven’t found it yet.
Not that I’ve been looking (actively), but I noticed they seem to have
forgotten to put it on the tourist map. Curious. I don’t think I would have the
balls to check it out, anyhow. But you never know some wind might drag me in
and provide an interesting experience or two. Something to tag on the list of
experiences before I die. I think you’d like to see me do that, too.


Encouraged by the experience so far, I think I’m going to focus less on
moving on, and more on staying put where ever I find myself. Not just to explore the city, but spend
some time with my host, as well. Share a few ideas and you know, get to know
each other. The few times I bothered with this have proven to be rather
pleasantly surprising.

Besides, all this distance is having its wear on me (ohh here comes the
complaining again). My left foot is killing me. My big toe seems slightly
misgrown and has been giving me trouble for years, so I have to tilt my ankle
slightly as I roll it forward while walking. Nothing anyone would notice I
hope, but with the weight of my rucksack and the daily distance I cover, the
muscle doing the tilt is getting very sore. So I walk on the outside of my
foot, again hard to notice, but it’s causing me blisters. Walking is getting a
little awkward at this point, as I’m sure you can imagine.
Secondly, there’s something you wouldn’t expect at first. Let me give you the
gist of what I’m carrying, though:

  • Leatherman pocket knife.
  • Digital camera.
  • A belt pouch (Official
    Guinness merchandise!) carrying my wallet, cell phone, travel log and
    important papers.

  • Rucksack, with in it my
    clothes, sleeping bag, and small things like batteries and whatnot.

There’s a hip bag I have with me as well, but that’s of no
concern right now. All this allows me to adjust easily to my plans for the day,
keeping what I need on my body without the need to transfer stuff from my pack.
BUT, and here’s the catch.
Even my lightest attire had about half a kilo attached to my belt. When traveling,
I think I’m holding about 30 kilo in total, food included. And with the pack’s
waistband, almost all of that rests on my hips and abdomen. And bladder. And Christ
that’s annoying, you have no idea. In the suburbs, you can’t just pick out any light
post and go at it merrily whistling the Power Rangers theme, not in
conservative Britain.
They can seriously arrest you for that, and here, they will.

Blah my host was so clever to give me the "office" to sleep in, which
means I can sit here without disturbing anyone. Inevitably, the result is 2am and I’m still up.

Okay so here’s a few updates.
The map is starting to come together nicely, I think it’s going to look quite interesting by the time I’m done.
I started a new "Tourist Pics" folder to put my pictures in, as the first now has over 200 pictures in it. It already has a few nice one of Liverpool, if I do say so myself.
I’ll be going northeast from here, probably to Manchester / Leeds / Newcastle or yeah whatever. Note to self – contact addresses. Like I ever read this.
In the unlikely event of getting to know someone here, I might stick around a little longer. I don’t see why not. All this running is exhausting and has proven to be utterly pointless, so let’s try it another way.


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