44 Days Abroad: Bristol, UK

I had been in the air for nearly ten hours when I arrived at Amsterdam International. I decided to leave at roughly five o’clock Eastern time from Toronto Pearson International. The logic behind leaving mid afternoon was that I assumed I would end up sleeping for a few hours once in the air. That assumption did not pan on out as intended.

I had a quick layover in Amsterdam, only an hour or so. When I boarded the plane headed to Bristol I looked like a zombie. My hair was a mess, my eyes had huge bags under them, and my mental processes had about a ten second delay before my body responded. A lady sitting next to me asked me something and I distinctly remember me looking at her for a good while before I figured out what to say. She probably thought I was high.

Arriving in the U.K was disjointing at first. I wanted to sleep, but people were just waking up. Going to bed when the sun rises sucks. I managed a couple hours once arriving at our destination. It took over a week for my sleep pattern to somewhat normalize .

Bristol is a mixture of bohemians, families, students, hipsters, and new wave hippies.

Bristol is a city ripe with change. The city is going through a rapid gentrification process. Homes are hitting record prices. There’s a sense of optimism throughout the city.

The roads are an absolute mess. The city wasn’t constructed with the foresight that the city might need rapid transit, parking, or multiple lane roads.

My cousin lives in Easton, an up and coming borough of Bristol. The shops and food are diverse, offering a true sense of multiculturalism. Late at night we depart down Stapleton Road towards St. Mark Street. We cut through back streets and alleyways. The graffiti on the walls are bright and artistic, we hope to catch a glimpse of a Banksy. We end up a local pub called The Greenbank filled with just about every sort of person. I even spot a young couple on their way home with a baby in a carriage.

The Greenbank had just recently been re-opened. I was told of the establishments long unsavoury history of being a place someone could hire a prostitute from. I see no signs of anything I was previously told about this establishments past.

Having had the opportunity to visit areas deemed undesirable on this trip, I believe that people are like places; our reputations often proceed us.


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