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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse


Google Map really is a wonderful technological creation. I distinctly remember that it was in my first term at university (2005) when Google installed a satellite version of its map system. I have vivid memories of navigating on the bird-view with some of my college mates as we were trying to locate our respective homes. We were so impressed that we ended up playing on it for hours- classic student procrastination (!). Google Map is very sophisticated now with its live street view view and street orientation. One can literally ‘walk’ anywhere on earth on Google Map and get a feel of what it is like to be in places without physically being there, which is great for trip planning. Recently, as I was browsing Google Map for a forthcoming trip, I got so distracted by all the places around me that I ended up ‘travelling’ all over the world, including places that I had visited, and reminiscing past destinations of my travels. One such place was Manchester, where I had lived and worked for several years and which I hold very fondly in my heart. I started from my old residence, which still looked exactly the same as I had remembered. I then ‘walked’ out of my old door and started roaming my neighborhood. I saw the river channel that ran close by, the bench on which I used to sit and read, the bar that was opposite my flat, and the barber’s on the northern quarter. I then ‘walked’ out to Piccadilly Gardens, one of the most beautiful places in Manchester, and it was buzzing as usual (judging from the photograph). I then ‘walked’ towards Arndale and saw all the shops that I used to visit. The football museum was one of my favourite places (for obvious reasons!), and I used to go and sit on the gardens outside many many times. I then ‘walked’ towards hotel ibis nearby where I used to have lonely drinks on my own. Across Piccadilly I ‘walked’ towards St Peter’s Square and saw the nice memorial for all the war heroes of Manchester. Opposite was the famous Midlands hotel where I used to have social drinks with my mates (nice contrast from ibis). Further down, there was Deansgate, another landmark of Manchester. And for the final leg of my ‘walk’, I went down the long and impressive Oxford Road to Manchester University campus, my old place of study/research. Along Oxford Road I ‘walked’ past countless stores and bars, some of which were new but I still managed to recognise many places. I then ‘entered’ my old student block, Vaughan House. It had recently been refurbished and looked quite different from when I lived there in 2009/2010. Nonetheless, I could still see my old window on the ground floor where I used to live. I also ‘walked’ towards my old faculty, the beautiful and grand Samuel Alexander Building, and it brought back many memories to me, happy and unhappy. I then ‘walked’ down Rusholme, the (in)famous curry mile where we habitually had our departmental colloquium and social dinners at the curry restaurants there. Finally I reached my favourite place in the whole of Manchester, namely Platts Field, a huge and beautiful park where I used to go for walks and relaxation as it is very much a natural oasis in a big urban city. Such was my ‘walk’ through Manchester on Google Map, which made me feel that I had returned home. I do like Manchester, as I spent several formative years there where I developed from a freshly graduated student to a mature postgraduate academic. It was a funny stage of my life, and I am so glad to have been able to re-experience on Google Map. I hope to re-visit it one day. 

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