- Created on Friday, 27 April 2012 09:57
- Written by Saad Ahmad
We possess a strange habit of exaggerating things and making assumptions without getting the facts right. This gives rise to confusions and misunderstandings which keep on multiplying. This phenomenon has engulfed the perceptions regarding foreign countries as well. There is a small portion of people who have travelled to different countries of the world and knows a lot. Then there is a huge chunk of people who wants to go abroad but knows nothing about it. They believe that foreign countries are brimming with entertainment and that their worries will disappear as soon as they embark on this journey. Then we have a certain unfortunate uneducated class who believe that foreign developed countries possess streets of gold!
Anyways, coming to the main discussion, a local student asked me whether he should go to the UK for education. Since I had a great experience in England regarding the studies over there, I told him that it’s a good idea and worth a shot. His next question was which place and institute should he select. He was a student of HND and wanted to go for a top up year. I did not want to complicate things for him and so kept it simple by suggesting him one of the highest ranked institutes that offered a Top-Up year course, and from which I studied myself… University of Northmubria. “But that’s in Newcastle.” “Yeah, so what?” was my instant reaction. What followed was not a surprise but quite irritating, “Yaar, Newcastle is just a village.” Staring at him blankly, I drifted into the memories of the good old times that I had at Newcastle…
And I am there in Newcastle, one of the cleanest cities of England, a lush green city with an enviable infrastructure operating to its full potential. I am walking in the city centre, Northumberland Street, enjoying the diversity that exists around me. A classic Newcastle day, with the sun shining bright and the North Sea Wind blowing mildly, welcomes me to this lively street that always has something to offer. Artists portraying their art on the street, guitarists and violinists injecting a pleasant melody in the environment, magicians doing their tricks with utmost professionalism that attracts the curious onlookers, and many more that will make you think you have stepped foot in an enchanted territory. Unwillingly, I move on forward and here comes a prestigious mall named Eldon Square. As soon as I step in, I am greeted by retailer brands of all kinds and of the highest repute. Debenhams, Hollister, Apple, Clarks, Next, Starbucks… to name a few. Retailers offering a variety that will ensure that you’re glued to the shop unless a friend pulls you out! Once out from the shop, you can’t stop yourself from admiring the ‘little’ mall offering such a lucrative deal of presenting the best retailers in a limited space that is so well maintained. Just as I’m about to leave, thinking I’ve seen everything, a crowd grabs my attention. I walk up to the area and see a group of talented individuals that are competing in a break dance competition. It feels as if they’ve jumped straight from the set of Step Up (movie) to the mall of Eldon Square! I’m admiring the skill of the dancers when all of a sudden the picture blurs and fades out and here I am at Newcastle Business School. A tall round structure enclosed in tons of steel and glass that will make you stare at it in awe and astonishment. Boasting an investment of millions of pounds, the structure is standing with its chest puffed out staring into the horizons, envisioning it to be there with the top universities of the UK. Northumbria University, truly presenting itself as a modern university equipped with state of the art facilities and competent faculty that promises excellent education and supportive learning environment. And as I stand there feeling proud to be a student of this institute.... *flashback*
I’m visiting Europe’s largest funfair/carnival (self-proclaimed), The Hoppings! It is one of the many mobile-theme parks that move around the place. It is a platform for many thrill-rides. And when I say thrill rides, don’t picturize the rides of your local park here. We are talking about rides climbing up to 80+ feet and coming down at a speed of 100+ km/h. Rides that will subject you to such levels of G-force that you won’t be able to move your hands... to wipe your tears! And it’s not about the rides only, the lucky draw competitions and the food stalls make things livelier. I am walking down the track, impressed by how well organized the fair is, keeping in mind that it hosts 80+ rides that need top-notch maintenance to comply with the safety standards. I have not yet seen a quarter of the fair and
In a typical cold Newcastle night, I see artificial lights illuminating the surroundings as a caravan is approaching with a swarm of spectators around it. It is the New Year night and the party is headed towards the destination from where the fireworks will be launched. I stand gazing at the sky waiting to be lit by fireworks. Although not impressive as the London and Sydney nights, Newcastle still provides a good round of magnificent fireworks. And soon with a bang, off goes the fireworks lighting the dark sky in different colours leaving you mesmerized and astonished. With the sparks dancing in the midnight sky, the scene fades away
I find myself in the middle of a vast shopping mall splattered with big retailer brands on a two floor mammoth complex. Roaming around in an area known as the Blue Mall, I find out that there are three other malls of about the same size incorporated in this huge building. I come across a digital map of the building that helps in locating shops and pinpoint your current location. It gives you a proper idea of what exactly you’re dealing with. And that, my friend, is The Metro Centre… one of the largest malls in the Europe. If Eldon Square offers big brands with vast variety, Metro Centre offers four times as much. From shopping to dining, games arcade to cinema house, this complex provides ample entertainment. An investment of two hours from your precious life will be required if you want to see the whole mall (both levels). Boasting to be Britain’s largest shopping mall, the Metro Centre stands towering above other malls of the region in majestic grandeur. With all the scenes of these beautiful places circulating in my brain, I am pulled back from the world of imagination...
“So as I was saying, Northumbria must be a good university but I have to consider the location as well, and Newcastle is just a village.” With that he got up and left. I just smiled, shook my head and resumed my day dreaming... A trip to Sunderland for one of the most thrilling air shows of England, a trip to Belfast from Newcastle, another one to Edinburgh, South Shields carnival and the beach, Whitley Bay’s funfair and the foggy beach, the vibrant nightlife of Newcastle, watching the Millennium Bridge rise from its slumber, enjoying a football match between Newcastle and Arsenal at St. James Park, returning to Newcastle via Keswick after beating the race against time to witness the sunrise at Lake District, a visit to Angel of the North, the remote calmness of The Reservoir.....