Roaming in Birmingham


I arrived in Birmingham late last night in pouring rain. My Airbnb host already went to bed. My instruction is to find a safe box at the right of the door and open it with 4 digits.

Now imaging a dark rainy night you look out your window. Then a light suddenly stroke and you saw a ghost like figure across the street in your neighbor's garden. What is he doing there?

Fortunately I found the key and got in before the neighbor called the police, which was not as easy as it sounds when you do it in the rain and darkness. It's almost an escape room game challenge!

Downtown Birmingham reminds me of China. The crowds, the high rising buildings, the shops and cafés are all to familiar. If everyone on the street dyes his or her hair black, I could be easily fooled to believe it's my hometown. Even the library building has it outside covered in the round shapes resembling ancient Chinese coins, which is a bit ironic.

Birmingham was once Briton's canal center. Today the canals serves mostly as a tourist attraction. But I a bit further than tourists usually go, saw the relics of the city's industrial past covered by graffiti. For a British crime TV series lover like me, going through a dark and quite passage under a bridge built a hundred years ago without anyone in sight made my heart skipping a beat or two.

At the end of the day, I met Henning for dinner. In his typical German way, he instructed me to meet at the Starbucks at New Street and forgot to add "Station". There are at least a dozen Starbucks in the area and two of them are on the street called New Street. It took me 40 minutes to eventually find him. He was starving. It was nice to see him again.

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