Shopping Madness in Manchester

Sep 27, 2010

The last time that I went to Manchester was back in February. It was my 3rd layover, a chilly 2 degrees, and I was the sickest that I'd been in years. I knew 10 minutes after take off that I should have called in sick for the flight and I was forced to spend the next 7 hours suffering.
Flash forward 7 months, and I was finally returning to Manchester... this time in far better health. The flight was surprisingly calm for a normally chaotic service. As the 380 only started flights to Manchester at the beginning of the month, it's still quite new and exciting and the novelty is far from wearing off. As we landed we could spot what was probably a hundred people gathered for a chance to see the big bird touch down. We bragged non-stop about our beautiful plane, much to the delight of our enthusiastic passengers.
I'd been up since 3 am and could barely keep my eyes open, but I was determined to venture into the city and make the most of my layover. I met up with a group of girls and split the cost of a shuttle bus to take us directly into the city. I was on a mission to shop and didn't want to be held back by the others, so we agreed to split up and do our own thing.
I spent awhile wandering the city in the cool autumn air. It was 10 degrees but my Dubai-acclimatized body was absolutely freezing. I stopped in several shops for a quick chance to warm up. It was a Saturday and the streets were packed with people. Stalls of fruit and handicrafts were scattered around and I was tempted to buy every pack of strawberries as they were about 1/4 of the price that they would be in Dubai. Instead I opted for one pack of blueberries to eat for breakfast the next morning. I was starving so I found a food court and headed straight for Subway. Apparently my accent is difficult to understand, because I asked for a turkey breast sub, not toasted and received a toasted chicken sandwich instead. Oh well. Once I'd finished eating I smiled as I saw trees with orange leaves (I love fall!), hugged a man holding a "Free hugs" sign, wandered by the cathedral and ferris wheel and took more of the same photos that I've already took.
I'm desperately trying to eat healthier, but I was cold and in need of something comfort food, so I headed to Starbucks to grab a nice warm hot chocolate. I justified it by the fact that I hadn't sat down once on the flight. That's just as good as an hour on the treadmill if you ask me!
Finally, I was ready for the main event.... PRIMARK!
I recently discovered this shopping paradise that makes UK flights so much more exciting. They have every item of clothing that you could possibly ask for, for ridiculously low prices. I grabbed a basket and quickly started filling it with everything. Sweaters, mittens, scarves, socks, boots, pajamas, and an endless supply of nylons to wear to work. Once I was finally satisfied that I'd grabbed enough, I headed to the checkout and forked over a large portion of my meal allowance. I get paid to shop around the world. It's times like these that I love my job. The rest of the girls had caught the shuttle back at 6:30 pm, and I'd told them not to wait if I wasn't there. It was now 8 and I was glad that I'd took my time and enjoyed my day. Hauling my purchases down the street I headed for the train station, passing by rowdy fans shouting "GO UNITED!" as they geared up for a game night.
I hopped on the train and made my way back to the hotel where I threw my bags on the floor, took a bubble bath, and then crawled into the amazingly dream-like bed. All in a day's work!


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