After having the warmest welcome of my trip in Cardross, Scotland, where my friend’s family hosted me for five days, I left for Liverpool, England. It turned out I had a day to kill before visiting my Aunt and Uncle in Belgium, so my mom really graciously offered to buy me a Liverpool hotel and a ticket to the Beatles tour (thanks, Mom!) My 18-hour stay in Liverpool was one of the best I had in England. And the Beatles has been one of my top three favorites for at least 10 years — I was all over the tourist attractions, no matter how shamelessly they catered to the Beatles-obsessed demographic.
On my last train to Liverpool, the man sitting across from me was grading essays, and I asked if he was a professor. He turned out to be Tunde Zack-Williams, Professor of Sociology at the University of Central Lancashire, and one of Britain’s most regarded experts on politics, conflicts and race relations in West Africa. We had a great conversation about current events and his work in Africa, which involved spending a year in the diamond mines for one of his books.
In Liverpool, I randomly met two girls my age who were visiting from Southport — they showed me all over town. Even with a tourist-y feel in some areas, I loved this city. It was slower paced than London, very walkable and full of British welcomes. Something I noticed while out with my two temporary tour guides: I tend to listen and smile more if the accent is anything different than what I’m used to. I wonder if that’s reciprocated?
Anecdote from a Liverpool taxi driver:
Possibly true: the taxi driver said he was once arguing with a bartender over getting four cokes. There were a dozen behind the bartender, but she said they were reserved. So he argued and argued. Until John Lennon reached over his shoulders and grabbed four of the cokes, reserved for The Beatles — before they were big. Lennon gave him a quick smile.