1. Take a 4.30AM coach to London
There is a saying that goes, go big or go for the cheapest option that requires you to stay up till four in the morning and then attempt to get sufficient sleep on a moving coach before you reach your destination the next day with the expectation of being a fully functional human being. But hey, at least we got to witness the 5AM spring sunrise.
Also, if you’re worried about getting bored on the five-hour journey, here’s a brand new interesting game called Don’t Fill Up the Plastic Bag. Rules are simple. Bring along a plastic bag. Try not to fill up the plastic bag, particularly with any form of liquid substance. And if you manage to do that by the end of the journey, you win! It’s fun, I play it every time I get on a coach.
Tip: bring Broccoli on a well-deserved vacation!
2. Go sightseeing around the town of Cambridge in a semi-zombie mode while attempting to absorb the surrounding intellectualness by osmosis
If the first thought that comes to mind when you step on Cambridge soil is, “Oh god, I am quite literally surrounded by people who are brilliant enough to get into Cambridge” accompanied by a festering feeling of intimidation, don’t worry, you are entirely not alone! The town itself is a neverending knowledge hub, always has and probably always will be. Every single college building and/or structure has its own story, all of them involving students and scholars from the past (some even the present) and their quirky endeavours, like taking apart a bridge to see how it works and fighting among each other for the erection of a clock tower. We even walked past a pub with a plaque on its outside wall stating that that pub was the exact location where the discovery of how DNA carries genetic information was announced at in 1953. An incredibly large portion of knowledge that we’ve learned since primary school was actually (figuratively) outsourced from this intellectual English town. And then you can’t help but compare that the stories that you tell your friends when they visit Manchester are along the lines of “yes, that’s the Tower where they have this thing called the Tower Challenge where people basically race to drink alcohol to the top”. Gotta love Manchester.
And when we were done visiting the various colleges scattered all around campus, convinced that I’d definitely walked down the same alley more than twice, it was time for Ee Min, Yee Lin, Ash and I to pay our respects to our English law overlord that was the Cambridge University law faculty. It was to us as Google is to the Internet.
Other activities you can do include: roleplay as if you’re in The Theory of Everything if you’re into that sort of thing, marvel at the strict rules the university imposes on grass-stepping (and learn the methods to decipher which patch of grass is steppable-on [hint: benches]), take selfies with a marble statue of Isaac Newton
3. Play extreme dress up to attend a Cambridge Formal Dinner™
Only to be served Indian food. But it was certainly the precise ambience for our outfits and one-hour of pretending we were important people, especially so sitting opposite our robe-clad Cambridge friends.
4. And then, clad in the very same formal garments and adornments, escape the cold by entering a random common room and play Cards Against Humanity
We learned a thing or two playing this game. Or three. We all had slightly traumatic Google histories on our phones that night.
5. Squeeze six people into a room, three in another and two in the smallest one
And at the same time, seize the opportunity to educate a fellow friend on the comprehensive list of everyone’s birthdates until one in the morning.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of things to expect when going punting for your first time:
- A lot of initial panicked shrieks of boat instability
- Getting rare close-up views of ducks in their natural habitat
- Having a death-like grip on your phone/camera when taking photos after hearing recounts of friends of friends’ gadgets vanishing into the depths of Cambridge’s scholarly canal
- Bumping into other boats with intensities ranging from saying hi and waving to strangers from a different boat to reflexed cursing and punters squatting down to brace for the impact
- Which led to several canal congestions along the way
- Realising the next scaled-up activity to do is, of course, attempt to punt ourselves and temporarily relieve Yi Chao of his skilled punting duties
- Also realising moments later that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea and punting was actually a lot harder than it looked
- More bumper car situations
- More canal traffic jams
- Taking selfies at the end to commemorate a moist and exhausting day of punting and paddling
7. Eat diabetic waffles and attend a busking concert at Market Square to reward yourself
8. Eat sushi on the train back home
Fully utilise the table seats you booked beforehand by buying a gigantic sushi set to share with your friend. And then for the next two hours back to Manchester, sporadically play Contact with your friends while also simultaneously playing Don’t Fill Up the Plastic Bag.
Photo credits to respective owners. Special thanks to Ze Kai and Yi Chao for bringing us around despite being so busy. As a token of appreciation, here’s £20 from us. Just kidding. See, this is why you should always read the fine print.