Imagine a city where within ten short strides you are in a fabulous bar, great restaurant, cool shop, or art gallery. Where you can nip to a late night shop for a pint of milk, and meet up with your friends – all without having to get into a car, drive for an hour, get stuck in traffic. Oh, and where you can nip for a civilized drink or get a bottle of wine on your way home. Sounds like a dream if you like in Dubai. But this is a normal day in Manchester.
Yes, having spent the last 7 days in the best city in the world (other than New York) I am feeling very homesick. Manchester is worlds apart from Dubai – well of course, you may snort. Visually there’s no comparison – yes it has the slick skyscrapers of Dubai, but it also has the most awe-inspiring gothic and ancient architecture. It has culture in spades (none of that here) but one thing which it has bags of, which you can’t really explain or quantify is this: personality.
You can feel it in the air when you’re walking down Market Street – gritty and dirty it might be, but it has a swagger (quite literally at times) and vibrance which is palpable.
And it’s so easy to get anywhere, and get things done. I think I achieved more in the first few days of arrival than I could in weeks in Dubai. Everything is within walking distance (such bliss after 6 months of having to get in the car to go 50 yards!), if you don’t want to walk then there are trams, buses, trains, all in addition to taxis – which is all you have to work with in Dubai.
I’m sure I’ll get back into the swing of things here in Dubai soon, but Manchester, I miss you.