Newcastle

21 Nov

While in the UK, I managed to head up north for a few days to see some friends of mine from China. You might remember Kate from that trip to the Leshan Buddha? University of Newcastle had sent three students to Sichuan University at the same time I was studying there, and I figured that I should go say hi, seeing as we were in the same country and all. Besides, I thought it would be nice to see more of England than just London.

Believe it or not, but my round trip train tickets to Newcastle cost me exactly the same amount of money as a round trip bus ride from Paris. The mind boggles. That being said, the train was incredibly comfortable and the countryside was basically the Shire.* I can’t say much more, since this was the day after the election and we had spent the entire night partying.

For whatever reason, the north of England has a shitty reputation. I don’t know why, I found it lovely. I mean, it was sunny and cold, but still awesome. I could see myself living there if I found a job.

Kate in the Dene.

The city center in Newcastle is pretty nice. I had a few hours to kill on my own since Kate also had this weird thing called “class” that she needed to go to.

Newcastle University campus.

Monument for Earl Gray. Yes, that Earl Gray. He’s famous for voting reforms and some tea.

Afternoon tea at Marks & Spencers. The scones were to die for.

Hey, that bridge looks sort of familiar.

 

We spent most of Friday on campus, since Kate was volunteering to help out at the Beijing International Film Festival. Four independent films on Chinese society in one day is a little rough, but fascinating. They started out with an emotionally gutting film about a woman desperately trying to become pregnant after her daughter was killed in the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake. My favorite was definitely “Beijing Besieged By Waste”, which was about trash disposal around China’s capital.

Skype Q&A with one of the film directors.

To be honest, my time in Newcastle was very low key, which was pretty dang awesome. I got to hang out with some friends I hadn’t seen in ages and wander around the north of England (nicer than advertised!). All in all, an excellent trip.

Kate with her newly fixed bike. Note the vivid blue skies, London.

At the train station.  “Oh shit, I don’t think we took a single picture together.  Quick, let’s do a Myspace pic!”.

This somewhat lackluster post (sorry guys, but it’s a Wednesday) marks the end of my UK posts.  After this, it’s all knitting, Paris in the fall, and weird music videos.  And possibly an essay on French children’s TV, because I now find myself in a position to talk at great length about such things.

 

*Not seen: hobbits.

 

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2 Responses to “Newcastle”

  1. Kate Pitt November 22, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    Yay! We’ll have to search for hobbits next time you come :o) Glad the blue skies got a mention, they were pretty sweet that week. Happy Thanksgiving btw! Xx

  2. Dad November 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Earl Gray is the most famous of Englishmen – pray before the god of that created Earl Gray tea. Can’t really fault the statue as they did put him on a very high pedestal. Glad you got to see Kate and the beauty of Northern England. Turkey day was all about cooking and eating – dinner turned out especially good this year – no exploding mash to liven up the day. Looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks for xmas.

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