Days 5 & 6: Fog, Glass, and Water.

Monday; September 7th, 2015

There are some pretty bumpy bruises on my Achilles tendons from walking all over the city up and down the slopes yesterday. The metro station by my flat was down for foliage maintenance, so I decided to try walking the entire length of the city. Pretty worth it, especially since I got to check out the Quayside Sunday market, the current exhibit at the Baltic, and The Factory Kitchen at The Biscuit Factory art gallery. That’s at least 8 miles of walking that I probably didn’t need to do, especially since I realized on my way home–fifteen minutes from home–that buses were taking metro tickets as valid passes for the day.

Balls.

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Figure A: Shitty Cell Phone Picture of a Series of Very Cute Foxes
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Figure B: A Shitty Cell Phone Picture of the View From My Seat

The whole experience made for a very satisfying day trip though. I found a vendor at the Quayside who sells sheepskins for pretty cheap. I might pick up one or two on my next trip down. Makes me wish I’d packed my own from Tucson into my luggage…

Note: The Biscuit Factory itself is most definitely not shitty. Very cute. Will likely try to visit again before I leave.

Made a trip down to Sunderland today to book a One to One Glass Blowing Experience and realized there were half day options. Mid October, I’m going to finally be able to try my hand at the the art closest to my degree!

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Figure C: Shitty Cell Phone Picture from Sunderland

I found the silhouette of the tree striking, but I’m shit at taking notes when I’m adventuring on my own so no idea what the name of the piece is… my bad.

Being in Sunderland with that fog that rolled during the AM made for a very Silent Hill 2 kind of a morning. There were some railings that reminded me of the scene were James meets Maria by the water.

The whole thing could easily have become very not okay since I almost slipped on one of my steps down to the railing in the picture.

I admit to looking around for corpses in nurse outfits.

Ya know. Just in case.

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Figure D: Sunderland’s Silent Hill 2 Aesthetic

Luckily, the sky blue itself a little bit before noon. I made use of my A+B+C zone metro day pass and went down to Cullercoats. Gotta get your money’s worth, right?

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Figures E: Shitty Cell Phone Photos of Cute Houses On The Coast
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Figure F: Shitty Cell Phone Photos of The Beach at Cullercoats

With skies this clear, I feel like I definitely got my money’s worth. Right before I hit the coast, I ducked into one of the cafes on my list: Beaches and Cream. Such a cute little coffee and ice cream shop. I could very easily see M. and I getting afternoon tea here some sunny weekend soon. 🙂

I ordered a fruit scone with cream (no jam. That’d be cannibalistic?) and wow. The fat content in the butter and the cream here is higher and better than what’s available in the US. Absolutely worth it to consume and really hits the spot a lot harder and a lot more accurately than their counterparts in the US.

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Figure G: My Cute As Shit Order from Beaches and Cream

Despite the caption, it definitely didn’t taste like shit. Mostly, it tasted like cute and butter. Excellent.

That butter and cream makes me wish the US wasn’t trying so hard to make literally every food healthy. The body craves fats and sugars for a reason, and eating sugar-free and fat-free versions of things doesn’t help stop that craving. In fact, there are studies that have shown that those kinds of workaround diet foods make the cravings worse. It’s been my personal philosophy for the last few years that it’s better to get the full fat and full sugar (within reason) versions of the foods you crave than to get the workaround versions. The trick is in eating slowly and limiting portion maximums while you’re shopping. The slow eating makes sure you can note when your body has satisfied its craving and stop. Limiting the maximum possible portion size available to you inside the house is my fail-safe to address my own self-control issues.

But what am I saying? I also miss walking into a grocery store and being able to find really healthy options though. I want my whole grain pastas, my no-sugar-added fruit juices, my abundance of almond milk options. Another downside is the everything-being-packaged trend at the grocery stores. A lot of plastic gets wasted every time I grocery shop if I don’t go to Grainger Market or another vendor for my shopping instead. In fact, I stopped by Grainger Market today and heard someone in the passing crowd comment on how weird it was to see a stand where you whisper whisper “pick your own fruit by hand and bag it yourself” whisper whisper. Cute.

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Figure H: Shitty Cell Phone Picture of a Cute as Shit Grainger Market Stall (From the day before. Anachronism!)

Another observation: Newcastle is one of the last handicap accessible cities I’ve ever been to. I don’t frequently see obese people walking the streets, so the sizes of seats and walking spaces are justifiably slimmer than what I’m used to seeing… but I do see people with walkers and wheelchairs every once in a while. Those images come back to me every time I pass into a building with unavoidable stairs leading up to its single entryway.

This particular thought has been increasing in frequency over the last few days: if I didn’t have this hair though, no one on the other side of a checkout counter would be friendly with me. The stereotype of Americans being friendly is something I can see as true now that I have a point of comparison. I miss Tucson more every time I go out and travel in public and try to smile at someone. Most people look back with suspicion. Someone actually got up and changed seats on the metro late this morning when we made eye contact.

Plans for the night? I’m rewatching White Collar on Netflix and continue knitting my lavender beanie. Maybe I’ll post it up where when I’m done.

Meanwhile, I’m daydreaming about the next day’s plans. I’m thinking I might spend most of the day at Cafe 1901 with the ol’ Gaskill’s “Linear Systems, Fourier Transforms, and Optics.” What a wonderful little book, no fuss no muss blue cover filled with the most beautiful math I’ve met so far in my life. Be still, my beating heart.

Ah…

Always,
Jam

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Days 5 & 6: Fog, Glass, and Water.

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