The highlights of my Thursday night in Manchester:
19:00 – Meet up with other international students in front of the Students Union building at the university campus.
19:25 – Over a pint of Guiness, Torben, a german computer science student, confides that there are 100 student-only tickets for the Manchester City vs. Manchester United match going on sale right here at the Student Union the very next morning at 9:00.
19:45 – After some consideration, we find that the best plan probably would be to stay up all night and wait in line for the tickets from 5:00. We tell some of the others who find reasonably amusing, but not really feasible.
21:20 – On to the next bar, somebody said there was a party at the Copacabana ..?
22:07 – The Copacabana turns out to be, in spite of its brazilian name, a Salsa bar. Half the exchange students never made as far here, the party seems to be breaking up and there is very little salsa mood.
22:31 – The wonder of mobile technology: A quick phone call and the rest of the gang, including Torben, has been located: While standing in line to enter the salsa club, they were invited to another club called Tribeca Bar in Manchester’s Gay Village.
22:49 – A small delegation led by yours truly find our way to Sackville Street and the “Best of the 80’s” night.
23:40 – The party mood is definitely increasing. The gathered group of internationals are having their fun.
00:00 – Focus returns to the original plan: A group of seven decide to go for the all out party plan: Christopher, Torben (both Germany), Catarina (Italy), Mary (USA), Felipe (Chile), Anders (Sweden) and me. First time check says 9 hours to go. Catarina sets her mobile phone with a electronic countdown.
01:00 – Most of the exchange students that are uninterested in the football have left the bar. Anders decides that he needs serious amounts of alcohol to go through the next 8 hours. He promptly starts flirting with the gay bartender. 6 shots later he positively the centre of attention.
Shots aplenty: Drinking shots with Mary and Anders
02:00 – The bar closes. Attempts to find another bar ensue.
02:17 – Several flirtatious interviews led by Anders and Mary turn up very little.
02:20 – Actually, nothing at all. “This is England, mate:” It is basically impossible to acquire liquor after 2 am.
02:45 – Further attempts at acquiring alcohol finally subside. A growing hunger is felt among the members of the expedition.
02:59 – A kebab shop is located and invaded.
03:07 – Anders hurls abuse at the shopkeep for the horribly dry grilled chicken that he has been served. Reaction among other customers range from amusement to silent terror.
03:10 – Exit the kebab shop. Since Torben lives in a hall of residence right next to the Student Union offices, we plan to go there and occupy the common room. Apparently, they have foosball.
03:47 – They do indeed! And ping pong and a pool table as well! All for free for Moberly Hall residents! Mood is on a rise after the missing liquor debacle.
04:21 – In the middle of our third game of foos, somebody knocks on the door. Naively, I open the door and activate the alarm. On the other side of the door are three battle-hardened campus security officers. The look back at me just as goofishly as I must have been looking at them. The alarm is generating enough decibels to wake people up several floors above.
04:27 – The security officers rather sheepishly have taken full blame for the incident, though they haven’t actually turned the alarm off. They just aren’t used to people being up and about at this hour, so they decided to lure us into activating the alarm. While they wait for the alarm to go off (apparently more or less by itself), we tell them of our quest to win tickets for the coming clash of Manchester’s footballing finest. The officers then ask us regarding our allegiances which include Fiorentina, Bochum and Duisburg – alongside both Manchester teams.
Group photo w/ Moberly Hall Security team. Standing: Security officers, Torben, Sophia (who stayed up ’til 5 am but didn’t want football tickets), Felipe. Crouching: Christopher, Anders, Mary and me.
04:57 – We decide it is time to join the growing queue. We arrive to find 27 people already in line. Most look very tired and grimly determined.
05:04 – Our overtired in-jokes and weirded-out topics of discussion continue unabated.
05:27 – Only three and a half hours to go. Mood is still good.
06:20 – There are now 63 people in the queue, and it is growing steadily. There’s a strange discussion about italian pop music, and I forget the name of Eros Ramazotti. My point fails.
07:01 – Anders is furious about the fact that americans have something called a water butt.
07:18 – They open the doors at last. We are now allowed the relative comfort of sitting on a dirty wall-to-wall carpet while waiting. Most people fall asleep immediately, some play cards. Anders has spent his final reserves of vodka-induced energy after having run on the fumes for probably several hours.
Inside at last..
08:06 – Excitement mounts as several important looking briefcases are carried into the ticket office.
08:10 – Excitement soon dissipate into the usual monotonous waiting as anything much fails to happen.
08:52 – They finally start selling the tickets!
09:07 – Ticket in hand, we leave the Student Union (and just for the curious: No, we weren’t allowed to buy more than one ticket each – The ticket number is tied to our student id number).
09:13 – On the bus going home: I really am getting too old for this out all night stuff…