Sweating in Leeds- I Can Get Lost in a Telephone Booth

If you look at the picture I will try to tell a story. This is Leeds City Center. I was trying to find a place around it! It is the story about me being capable of getting lost in a telephone booth if it has two exits!


Photo Credit Alastair Wallace / Shutterstock.com

When I reached Leeds in the evening, after finding the Park Plaza hotel (which I managed to do without too much trouble) my next task was to find the conference venue. It was called Cloths Hall Court. I had a paper map in my hand and after looking at it, of course proceeded in completely opposite direction. Then I asked a police personnel about Cloths Hall. He asked which street and I told him Quebec Street. So, he sent me back towards my hotel.

After meandering on one or two streets, I managed to see a building named Cloths Hall Court and I was happy again for this too was just two minutes walk from the Park Plaza. However, the door was locked and a notice said if you need assistance, call this number and there was a phone next to it too. I thought the place was closed in the evening and I would come there in the morning again.

Later I walked around a bit, picked up a pizza and walked back to my hotel room. It was nine at night by now. I tried to work with my paper. After an hour I realized that I was fast asleep holding it! I didn’t blame myself for this as I had reached London in the morning after spending a good part of the night at the Indra Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and the rest of it on the plane. And then I traveled from London to Leeds on a Megabus (super fares, 10.50 pounds as I had booked in advance via the internet and 5.50 for return on a Sunday morning when they changed the clock) with very small seats. So I didn’t blame myself at all if I fell asleep while trying to read my own paper!

Then I woke up early the next morning (spent some time with the paper) and ran down to the restaurant to have a breakfast. Thinking that I knew the venue, I gave myself just about 7-8 minutes to reach, after all it was just a two minuets walk.

So, I walked down the Quebec Street and found the building, only it was still locked. I was wondering what my institute would do to me if I failed to find the correct venue and missed my paper presentation after they had shelled out all that money! Whatever came to the mind, nothing was pleasant.

Then I decided to ask for help. I asked a young girl who was passing by if she knew where the entrance to the building was. To my horror she pushed back her hair and took out her earphones. I could not see she was listening to music and was quite embarrassed to disturb her. She had no clue about the entrance but gave me a million dollar suggestion. She said, “Why don’t you walk to the other side of the building and see if the entrance is from that side?”

I did exactly as she suggested and of course there was a sign announcing the conference. I still had two minuets till my session started and I was anyway the last speaker. The good folks at the conference registered me quickly, gave my name tag and I found my room without too much trouble. And to my relief there were just a few people inside the room. All the vistas of not being able to present my paper disappeared and some of the participants were even more nervous than me!

PS. If you are in Leeds, UK you would probably like to check out the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Saltaire, UK.

7 thoughts on “Sweating in Leeds- I Can Get Lost in a Telephone Booth”

  1. When I first came here to Scotland, I needed to buy a phone card to make a call back home. 9pm at night there was not a soul in sight, and when I saw a girl approaching I asked her if there’s any shop around. She switched her ipod off and told me that all shops are closed but there’s a garage down the street. Now I’ve been living here for 4 months and I still haven’t found which garage she was talking about!Talking about Megabus, here’s the super saver deal – I booked my return ticket for Edinburgh to London (and back obviously) for just 2 pounds, nearly 6 weeks in advance.

  2. hehehe…Happens to all of us once in a while!BTW, while looking at the picture, the first thought that came to mind was that it would have been so nice if we had been even half as serious as they are in the UK about preserving architectural heritage. We revel in pulling down old structures and replacing those with rather drab new ones!

  3. Anuj, that 2 pound fare is unbelievable! And thanks for sharing the story.Sidhu, to me this happens on every trip when I am alone and multiple times 🙂 But when I come back the stories are fun to remember! My colleague from the UK university told me there was a time in 1960-70s when thy were pulling down old buildings in Oxford! Fortunately later sense prevailed.

  4. And, that’s why mankind has invented hand-held portable navigation system… Never leave home without it. I have uploaded few photos of my recent trip to San Diego (my favorite CA city) here: http://atulks.myphotoalbum.com

  5. Atul, I don’t think they are so common in India and I wonder if they cost a ton?Saw your pictures and I must say thy are lovely. But can one see your camera information too on the site? I was curious what kind of camera you use.

  6. Mridula, Aren’t you much into post-processing?An interesting write-up. I luv the Tele-Booth analogy. 🙂 I too have a friend like you. He who always keeps equipped with GoogleEarth, even to reach the next street.

  7. Akhila, believe me I was almost in tears before the trip at he prospect of finding my way. So much so that a colleague of mine (who was there with me on this trip post Leeds and it was his first visit abroad) actually asked me, “Hello, which visit is this for you.” I sheepishly replied, “Fifth.” Then he added, “Look at me, this is my first visit abroad.” That gave me some courage but then I was glad for company after Leeds as that meant I could enjoy the view whereas he could find the way!

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