Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Newcastle, reverse culture shock, Greggs pasties and drugs and jazz.

Returning from Provence was a trek. Instead of taking the train from Marseille - Montpellier as was planned (due to train strikes on that exact date), I had to explore a few of my options:
  1. Stay in Provence. Okay, so it's a lot warmer, the food is better and it's maybe even more of a place i'd like to live in than Newcastle, but I still really miss home, my friends and my family. This was not an option
  2. Covoiturage from Aix -> Montpellier. A car share website just like CouchSurfing, where you apply to people's pre-given routes/destinations and organise a possible carshare together, for a small fee given to the driver to cover petrol.
  3. Staying in a hostel in Montpellier the day before my flight. This was my preferred option, but unfortunately due to the time restrictions of actually having responsibilities for once, I couldn't miss my B2 French class. It's a shame, because it's a city I would have loved to explore.
Those were genuinely my only options around this time of year, so me and a friend from class who coincidentally booked the same flights/dates & times/UK destination chose to try out Covoiturage. It was awesome. We got picked up at 7am just outside of Aix, had a bizarre conversation with one of the passengers who was about 70 and travelling on her own until I ended up falling asleep and woke up to being poked awake when arrive at the airport.

I would recommend it to anyone who wants to save some money, or save their journey because of some higher uncontrollable problem such as striking for sure!

Coming back to Newcastle (via Leeds and York) was surprisingly different than I expected. As I approached Durham on the east coast line, I began to see snow and as soon I arrived in Newcastle all hell had seemingly broken loose.
Newcastle Central Station was packed with travellers like me, waiting for delayed services to Scotland and even more central parts of the Arctic Circle.... Buses were running skeleton services and, despite the snow and rain being pretty gruesome, there were still middle aged women prancing around in t-shirts and belts (can't bring myself to describe what they were wearing as even mini-skirts).

Such things are quite ordinary up here, but after living here for around 20 years, being away for just 4 months and then coming back, these things become more glaringly obvious and slightly bizarre.

I'm not about to bad-mouth my hometown, and home for most of my life so far, but there really are things I bloody hate about this place. I'm not giving up on it so easily though, and i'm not sure i've been totally bowled over yet by the promise of moving to Provence after my graduation.

Anyways moving on, someone commented on this blog congratulating me for not posting 'self centered' tit-bits of my travels 'like most year abroad blogs', but I have quite a few cool things to tell, so here's a self-centred recall of one of the best. I don't want to blow up my ego after all.

We went to see Mr Scruff in a nightclub in Newcastle, he's a electro/jazz/reggae/funkywhatever DJ who is absolutely amazing and I would love to see again. The nightclub wasn't too packed which was awesome, there was brownies and a tea stand as well as normal alcohol at the bar and we all dropped a whole shitload of drugs just to top it all off. The best jazz is jazz with a side serving of mandy, after all.

We danced on the bar, talked to random people about absolute rubbish and pulled out some absolutely wicked dance moves (As usual, of course) and a great night was had even though the moustaches we were gonna wear fell off for most of us!

Apart from that i've just been hanging out with friend and seeing my family again. Tomorrow it's Halloween and I have my costume sorta planned so i'll let the interwebs know how that went and if I managed not to fall into a gutter in Newcastle or not. 

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