April 02, 2005

day in the city

The good weather is on its way this side of the waters.

I spent yesterday in the city centre with my friend Mark. I like that, when you get to the stage of knowing the city, it's best places, where to walk, just a feeling of belonging to the buildings and streets. We found a good place to eat in a fancy restruant under the ground, almost like a victorian, gothic, medieval, sumptuous place in a cave! Saw a film at an older cinema, where all the kids makes lots of noise, and the popcorn is sweet. Then we walked the city, along the canals, exploring old derelict industrial buildings. Amazingly enough a guy from church cycled by while we were peeking in the windows of a giant old mill - although its the second biggest city in England, you always bump into someone. As we got to the new developments along the canal - the up and coming corporate apartments for the young wealthy (UK style gentrification). It's all very nice (stones throw away from the council lowest economy appartments) - new architecture and bridges alongside the old wharf and canal boats - in a part called Jupiter. Passing by there was a young guy leaning out of his boat barge listening loud to old jazz. It was still sunny but setting by now, and we chatted accross the water to him, hearing his adventures of being blown out to sea and his engine breaking, and how he has pulled the boat by hand over the last nine months to get to moor there in Birmingham. He invited us over to the boat, so we sat in, listening to Arabic chillout music and drinking water - cause that is all he had - he was a penniless! His small barge boat was called "The Black Pearl" after Jack Sparrow's ship in "Pirates of the Carribean" and there I left Mark and our new friend Tom Farrow. Finally on my way home, there was an old aquaintance from Iraq at the bus stop that I hardley ever go to. I had known him from working with Sister Margaret a few years back. He still hasn't been home, has endured all the Iraqi war knowing it to be a big business game, but is settling into life, albeit uncertainly. He teaches Math at college now, is trainning to be a teacher and is making all the changes needed to live in a new culture and be a new person in the new life he has to live. He's doing great, but he just seems sad, and no wonder.

Anyway - it was a day in the city, and I loved it.

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