24 Hours in Liverpool

I am not a good road trip companion. On any given trip I will a) fall asleep, b) seize control of the radio/iPod and refuse to take requests, and c) complain. This last trip to Liverpool to complete the last of Moira’s UK residency paperwork was no exception.

“Tom, I’m SO BORED. How much longer to Liverpool?”

“A while. You have movies on your iPod.”

“But I’ve seeeeeeeen all those already! I don’t want to watch them again. Can we stop at this next exit for coffee?”

“The girls are behaving beautifully, by the way.”

The barista who took our order at Starbucks was from Florida, by the way, and got into a conversation with Tom about their native land. It led me to consider the sort of life choices that would lead an American to work as a coffee slinger in an industrial park Starbucks located far from any military base or university, and also to remember the sage words of Matt Paxton: “We’re all just five or six bad decisions away from pooping in a bucket.”

I digress. We got to Liverpool and took our seats among those undertaking the task of proving they have a legal, upstanding case to live in the United Kingdom. Surprisingly, they were able to start processing us a half-hour in advance of our appointment at 11:30 and we were done by 1pm, so we had plenty of time to wander the downtown area. We had reserved a hotel room in the city anticipating a much, much longer time processing, but we didn’t really need it. I’m glad we had it, because it gave us time to make THIS happen:


That’s what happens when you send a fashionista through the Beatles Story Exhibition gift shop, friends. The exhibit was so-so (I can’t even guess how tired the employees must be of hearing “Sgt. Pepper”) and a mite overpriced, but mostly worthwhile because now I get to caption photos with things like “Twenty years ago today / Sgt. Maggie taught the band to play.”

We also ate sushi–high-quality restaurant sushi–for the first time in a while. I have a thing about eating sushi from restaurants more than 30 minutes inland, but Liverpool was nicely ocean-accessible. Moira had her first sticky rice and Maggie grabbed my hand and physically redirected a prime piece of ahi sashimi into her mouth. Initially I howled about the cost, as after the exchange each piece ran about $2USD, but Tom convinced me to just be happy she voluntarily chowed down on raw tuna. She also sucked down miso like it was going to be outlawed tomorrow and stole at least a third of my serving of tekka maki and asked “More shoyu for rice please?” This is the same child who won’t eat MEATBALLS, oh no, but a nice piece of tuna wrapped in rice and seaweed? Done and done.

We’ve also joined 2008 and scored ourselves two iPod Touches (there’s a long story about why we don’t have iPhones but it isn’t interesting and boils down to “OH MY GOD, THEY COST HOW MUCH HERE?!”) so this was Tom’s first real chance to test out city-specific app guides. Our self-guided tour of prominent Liverpool sights–all relating to The Beatles–was a lot of fun. I’m also really glad we had them, because after I bitched about being bored in the car we had this conversation:

“Where is the 7D?” We refer to our camera by model name out of respect, and you would too. That thing is almost its own person.

“I thought YOU packed–”

“OH NO.”

That calls for a FailFace! Take it away, Margaret!


So we only had our iPods to take photos this trip. A little grainy, yeah, but we got some good shots. Not good enough that I’m willing to forsake the DSLR on future trips, but good enough for the sort of bright-light still shots we’d be taking. Like…this:


Well-played, iPod. Well-played.

We left town roughly 24 hours after we had arrived, and while we hadn’t expected to make Liverpool a long weekend destination I’m reconsidering. The architecture downtown is fascinating, with a lot of old-fashioned stately buildings next to angular modern structures, and feels a lot like Baltimore–revitalized in some areas, particularly the waterfront, and all urban grittiness in others. It’s worth a deeper look.

And for what it’s worth, Moira’s residency permit came this morning–less than 48 hours after her processing appointment. I’ll give the Brits this: they know how to manage bureaucracy.