' Cardiff, Call Me Back!






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Cardiff, Call Me Back!
By Anil D'Souza

February 21, 2012

It has been two years and 5 months since I boarded the Jet Airways flight to UK and I cherish every second I lived in and toiled in the lovely city of Cardiff - a small city - the capital of Wales. United Kingdom comprises 4 countries - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and I had just touched down in the capital city of the second most scenic country of the UK.

A city with a population of about 4 to 5 lakhs, Cardiff was love at first sight for me. People advise to have a closer second look to negate the effects of the first sight, but this second look made me love her even more. Of course London tops the list for its sheer magnificence and royalty, but Cardiff is a place where one longs to come back. It’s a home.

I had enrolled into Cardiff Business School and was expecting a hectic schedule and the curriculum did not disappoint me. It was indeed hectic and yet so much fun. Faculty in this school is so knowledgeable that one can blindly believe in them without further thoughts or research, unlike in some of our schools and colleges in India. I remember very vividly one of my favorite lecturers, after reviewing an initial draft of my thesis just casually asked me to check on the wordings of the quotes again. I had picked it up from one of the journals and when I went back and checked there was a difference. I had mentioned some other author altogether. Such is the mastery in their respective subjects.

I have lived here for almost 2 and half years, grown as a person, made “to the grave” friends and to say the least “those times may never come back, but I so wish they do come”.

Cardiff is predominantly a student town. My hostel stood next to a huge park called Bute Park on the banks of Cardiff’s most beloved river Taff. I have taken numerous walks with friends when I was happy, alone when I was sad, have jogged when I thought I was developing a paunch, have played cricket and there is a photograph on my facebook profile which is one of my prized possessions, had barbeque parties and many more. One good thing about the UK cities and towns is that the government spends tax money on projects like parks, gyms and other leisure spots, where people can unwind and it also keeps the city green. Bangalore is called the garden city of India, but not even 5% green when compared to Cardiff. I may be a bit harsh in comparing Bangalore to Cardiff, but Bangalore is going the wrong line when it comes to greenery as opined by a few former residents.

There is a small coffee house in the park. An ideal routine would be an early morning walk round the park and end up at this café for a cup of caffeine with cream on top. Every time I walked by this café, I used to remember our very own Chandrayyas hotel, where we kids used to eat Uppit-Avlakki and drink a glass of malt after playing cricket in Gandhi Maidan or Nehru sports club, Kundapura. Similar experience, but different countries- a fact which sometimes keeps me thinking and wondering for ages. Strangely I miss them both now. Now that I am in Dubai, I have to find some spot soon.

Every city or town in UK has a town or city centre, where all the big brands of the world have an outlet or two. In my opinion, if you have seen one town or city centre in UK, you have seen them all. The most famous and sought after stores are Primark, Marks and Spencer’s, Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC etc. Vehicles are not permitted within the city centers and the atmosphere is that of a mela. Initially, I used to get the feeling of “Vodlen fest”, but gradually it became a part of my life. Weekends are crowded as people spend their time outdoors and a sunny day would attract more business. Sunny days are very rare and we were actually let off the lecture one day, to enjoy the sun. We Indians have plenty of sun around back home and this seemed a bit weird at first. As I understood the weather in due course, even I used to long for the sun and understand why foreigners just drop their clothes off when they find sand and sun. It is perfectly natural. For a human being who wears at least 3 layers of clothes for 11 months out of 12, places like India and other tropical destinations are a welcome break.

If any couple is planning for a UK visit, be sure to keep all your money back in your lodge, and gentlemen try to get into a pub and gulp down a pint or two as beer is cheaper than water. A little care should be taken before entering the pub/bar as there are numerous gay bars around. Homo sexuality is a bane in this country and elsewhere in the world, but again it’s a personal choice. Cardiff also has many and I can proudly say even I was hit upon. At least people have shown interest J

One of my personal favorites in Cardiff city centre is the Cardiff market and the Cardiff Council Library. City market welcomes people with fish on the left and fruits on the right. What more can a man from coastal Karnataka ask for? I could only afford window shopping in the fish stall as fish is pretty expensive and I do not know how to make fish curries. This market has a line of meat stalls, vegetable stalls, key repairers, pet shops and cheap eateries. There is a small shop crammed with books and by books I mean good books for dirt cheap rates. A little further down the same line there is a record shop called Spillers- world’s oldest record shop and down the same lane there is the council library- a six floor high building with books and it is free- walk in with your id card and become a member.

The most attractive attraction of Cardiff is its bay. Cardiff was once upon a time, the world s largest coal exporter and fittingly it had a bay, where ships from all around the world came in to buy coal. Coal mines are mere attractions now, most of them becoming heritage sites. There is a small museum in the heart of the city centre, which concentrates only on the city’s history and culture. It is equipped with modern technology which gives a feel and touch of the olden Cardiff. The bay is manmade and an awesome place to spend the morning, afternoon and even the evening. There are boat rides, speedboat rides and hundreds of places to eat and gamble. There is a bowling alley which has looted at least 100 pounds from me.

Personally I like Italian food and Cardiff offers plenty of good Italian joints. Bella Italia, Signor Valentino and the most famous Pizza hut. Second in the list is Chinese and again every street has a Chinese takeaway. Sitting in the college library, during exams, student cohort of our university might have turned over thousands of pounds for these small Chinese take ways. There are plenty of Indian restaurants like Ambala, Mirchi, Spice route and Chillies. There are also plenty of Spanish, Mexican, Japanese restaurants located in the city centre.

There is a beach; just miles away from Cardiff called Barry Island. It is the preferred destination during the short summers. But the water is icy chill during the peak of summers, or at least I think so. A group  of friends had a mighty eventful outing and I am sure every one of them will be have a smile on their lips and some maybe on the floor.

Travel across Cardiff is easy and cheap. I was a proud owner of a bicycle. The cheapest mode of transport is bus, 3 pounds for a day pass. Trains are pretty cheap, but ticket rates depend on the destination you travel to. All across UK , there are Mega bus and National Express services which are cheap. All my travels to London, during my internship were in either of the services and did not cost me more than 10 pounds back and forth.

There are places like Cogan, from where a friend and I had an eventful cycle ride. Docks are located here and there is a bridge connecting it to the bay. A little rain during the walk, a nice Italian lunch at a restaurant overlooking the bay would be icing on the cake. There are places like Bath Spa, Swansea, London and many more located in close proximity of Cardiff. I believe I can narrate Cardiff in a series of articles, but the reader would get bored reading my ramblings. Well I wish and hope I end up in this city somehow and I seriously advise travelers to spend some time in this laidback-bustling capital of Wales. Many of the photographs in this article are captured through the efficient lenses of my very good friend Alex Thomas. You can visit his Facebook profile and enjoy the man’s handiwork.

 

Anil D'Souza - Archives:

 

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Comments on this article
neil rodrigues, mangalore/londonThursday, August 23, 2012
Well its interesting people taking a trip on the English Language. Both our English and the education system is courtesy of the british. so what difference did it make. for those of u who think UK learning and education sysyem is better.... Here is my advice, Your Kids are in much better places in Indian schools than in the UK. The education system here has devolved and with it remaining less complicated, the scope of work people do has changed too. Think abt it, if millions of Indian migrants like me are working on good jobs here, surely india has something tright and we shd give some credit to it.
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elizabeth, Yorkshire Dales National Park, UKFriday, March 09, 2012
I don't know how I got onto this article, but I have read all the comments at the end too. I think the photos are lovely - this island is very beautiful. I live in the north, in a rural area with very few people - isolated really.

I was drawn to reading your article Anil, because you mentioned Bangalore. I was in Bangalore in 1994. The streets were paved with marble! There is something wonderful about the spontenaity of hectic traffic, life on the streets, the colour and vibrancy of many people going about their daily affairs there, that makes life in England seem "bland"! I loved it. I want to go back.

About the quality of English you are all dicussing. All the English is "formal", it's "English on it's best behaviour" and that's because it's a second language for you. It's good to use simple words and short sentences and to relax.

I enjoyed it all.

Thanks!

PS - I was a second language English teacher - now retired.
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Rashmi D'souza, Abu DhabiTuesday, March 06, 2012
Hey Anil, lovely article! Reminded me of our good old days in Cardiff as students.
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nisha, bantwalMonday, March 05, 2012
Anil,Good article.But why to compare the eduction system in India and UK?How many people educated in Kannada medium schools are in top level positions even in countries like UK.
Nisha
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Arjun, IndiaTuesday, February 28, 2012
Ignorance....why you have to compare any western country with India.... despite all it's odd and corrupt politicians, India has more people of character and big heart than rest put together...yes we have lost natural forest coverage due to vested interests...
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Deepak Rao, Birmingham/ MangaloreMonday, February 27, 2012
There are 4 photographs that look distictly as if taken at the Jephson Gardens in Leamington and not Cardiff
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A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.Sunday, February 26, 2012
Beautiful pictures. Great article.
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arnold, kemmannuFriday, February 24, 2012
Awesome experience...
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Severine DSouza, piusnagarFriday, February 24, 2012
hey anil its a great article it just took me 25 years back in cardiff.it was a home for me.beautiful pictures the people are great.pls give more article like this
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Chetan Kumar, Bangalore/PuneThursday, February 23, 2012
I think everyone is entitled to their opinion and while we may not agree with it, we must atleast respect it. I dont think anyone here cany deny the fact that Western education system, if not better, is more practical in its approach than the Indian education system which continues to pay emphasis on bookish learning and is not very diverse in the subjects it offers.
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Anil Pinto, Mumbai/Abu DhabiThursday, February 23, 2012
I am quite enjoying the tirade between geofrey, herbert and dsilva. In fact I am enjoying it more than the article :)

Good article, although I don't appreciate the toning down of our Indian Education System - but then, I haven't studied abroad - so, can't say much.
Comment on this message     

Asho naik, Thursday, February 23, 2012
thanks fr publising this.I ashr duing 2004 for sort priod of time.photos remind me old days.jt butiefull place.thks again
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Herbert, MangaloreThursday, February 23, 2012
Fair enough D`Silva - I got your message. I was wrong. But I don`t appreciate the fact that you intentionally (it appears that way anyway) misspell the words in your comments, and thus lead the readers to the wrong path and spoil their English as well!
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Marina Pereira, Mangalore/LondonWednesday, February 22, 2012
All said and done, end of the day there isn't enough sunlight and warm days to enjoy this beautiful country as it rains throughout the year even during the so called summer 'June - August'
Comment on this message     

lobo, ManagloreWednesday, February 22, 2012
Geoffrey, hathill
I know author made a mistake when he compared India with UK. I can see how much you love India. Its your point of view.Whatever, You accepted that you were bit rude. I liked it. Actually I loved it. There are only few people who accept their mistake . I would appreciate if your next comment says “Nice pics Anil ”
For the time being guys stop this grammar-spelling-“G”. Enjoy the article instead of pin-pointing the mistakes.Just take a chill-pill
Comment on this message     

geoffrey, hathillWednesday, February 22, 2012
Correction, Lobo, Mangalore, it’s the practice not mistakes that makes man perfect and thanks for the advice. Yes I was a bit impolite in my comments, but tell me who started it? If you go through the third paragraph of this TRAVELOGUE kind of article, do you think comparing Indian teaching faculty with that of UK was necessary? Don’t we often come across inefficient faculty in the west as well? Again my point is the comparison was unwarranted and I was just paying the author back in his own coin.
L. Dislva, Udupi, as for my ‘capital’ crime, well, you’d better advise the entire worldwide web not to commit this error in their site addresses.
Comment on this message     

nasir hussain, karkalaWednesday, February 22, 2012
EXCELLENT
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L Dsilva, Udupi, ManipalWednesday, February 22, 2012
Herbert,i was talking abt grammer and not spelling. Anyway i asked Geoffrey if there is any grammer mistake in my comment correct it and read. Because i know im not perfect in English grammer and spelling. I think u didnt read my last sentance. And now if u find any spelling mistake u please correct it read.Also try to understand the content of the message instead of pointing out spelling.
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reena, MangaloreWednesday, February 22, 2012
It is good of Anil to share his experience and feelings about a beautiful place. It makes me sad to see that our once beautiful Mangalore city is losing its natural beauty. Buildings have replaced the beautiful green coconut trees. Years and years have gone by and many politicians, leaders, corporators have come and gone but a Town like Mangalore which was famous for fish and fishing was once a main source of livelihood does not have a decent fish market. The fish market at State Bank junction is filthy and stinking and the poor fisherwomen are make to sit in that place whole day.
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Dr Vasudev, Muscat/UdupiWednesday, February 22, 2012
Agree fully with you. Cardiff is just beautiful, people very friendly etc. There are even lovely places like Breacon Beacon, Mumbles beach etc. Enjoy maadi.
Comment on this message     

lobo, ManagloreWednesday, February 22, 2012
When a write starts to write I feel he/she is least bothered about the mistake because his/her full focus on will be on content. Content of the page compensate for the mistakes. I do agree that some people are very much precise about the grammatical and spelling mistake.Mistakes makes man perfect
geoffrey, hathill You could have been bit polite while pointing out authors mistake. At least appreciate his effort
Anil Dsouz’a: Good article and nice pictures.
Comment on this message     

Herbert, MangaloreWednesday, February 22, 2012
L. D`Silva: Referring to your comments above, you have spelt the word "grammar" as "grammer", so you too should not be correcting Geoffrey!
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sKC, IndiaWednesday, February 22, 2012
Hi Anil
Really liked it. I lived in cardiff too. Newport road, city road and worked in Fidlers road. Been arround the vallys and had forgotten many places thanks to you on sharing the pics which recalls those days.
Good job .
hey during the period I came across a good friend from Magalore Samuel Sequira we both worked in Spar atnear the Cardiff central.]
thanks for sharing
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Vijay, BangaloreWednesday, February 22, 2012
Wow! lucky you. Very nice pictures.
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L Dsilva, Udupi, ManipalWednesday, February 22, 2012
Geoffrey have you forgotten when you refer Noun you should use first letter in Capital Letter. You have been using your name and place name in small letters. First you learn grammer then comment on others.If there is any grammer mistake in this comment please correct it and read.
Comment on this message     

Anita, KinnigoliWednesday, February 22, 2012
Universities students usually get jobs at corporate offices. Are they good job opportunities for those who study in Wales if they decide to live in and around Wales? Are they visa restrictions to work when studying?

Do students continue to live in Wales after graduation? How are the immigrants treated? Are they treated well and feel comfortable to travel? Is it safe for women to travel alone at late hours on their own.


Wish you will write a blog on living, jobs, integration and Indian community in Wales.
Comment on this message     

geoffrey, hathillTuesday, February 21, 2012
Sheena, UK, I don't know about you, but I for one can't judge the content unless I read it. May be these mystic apes that you are referring to, have this special ability.
Comment on this message     

Sheena, Mangalore/UKTuesday, February 21, 2012
geoffrey,hathill
grow up... geoffrey..if you do not like the content of the article just do not read it or just follow the example of ''Three wise monkeys''{ three mystic apes} for your own good.
Good article...beautiful pictures..
Comment on this message     

Yogesh, BombayTuesday, February 21, 2012
Hey dude! Very well written with nice pics! Read ur others posts on Konkani and Cuisine...nice! Pls keep them coming !!!
Comment on this message     

Shwetha Deep, Mangalore/SydneyTuesday, February 21, 2012
Hey Anil wer r u...good one as usual :)
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Kt, From London lives in SwanseaTuesday, February 21, 2012
Nice blog. Come and visit the Gower in Swansea if you havent yet. More incredible scenery at your doorstep.
Comment on this message     

Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle/DombivliTuesday, February 21, 2012
Well written...and beautiful pictures...
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geoffrey, hathillTuesday, February 21, 2012
Looking at the pictures, our Ranganathittu looks more picturesque scenic than Cardiff. Coming to the article, one would expect a more grammatically correct writing from someone who’s spent 2.5 years studying in the UK. Just wondering what would that professor’s opinion be about this piece, who had detected the misquote in author’s thesis.
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prajwel, mangaloreTuesday, February 21, 2012
anil, a great article, really well written, just took me back to my 7 years of cardiff, cardiff is turely a second home,great people and great place
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