Birmingham, as befits the city that in geographically roughly central to the UK is well serviced by transport links. This means the motorway network centres on (and thus gets jammed up) the west midlands. The main (west) railine to the north passes through and it has an international airport as well.
As all these elements come togther in an area south-east of Birmingham, it is not surprising that the NEC was built there. The 'NEC' to most people in the world is a giant Japanese manufacturing company, but in the UK most people would think of the 'National exhibition centre' first. Car shows, Crufts (thats the doggy one) and numerous trade shows take place in the 21 halls of the NEC every day. Anyone for the 'National fair of plastic extrusion equipment show 2009- LIVE !' ??
Enough of this rambling...the tip here is not to confuse the 'NEC' with the 'NIA', which is not an American crime fighting unit, or an acroymn for 'No idiots allowed' but is actually another large arena. The NIA is located in the centre of Birmingham - not out by the airport.
Not really a danger, but I was rather surprised to be sitting in a hotel bar on Broad street, and found out that it really is 'Broad street'. Apparantly some of the more choosy 'ladies of the night' book hotel rooms of week-end and set up for business in the lobby. Nothing unusual about this in most parts of the world, but a surprise in this neck of the woods. Management turns a blind eye : after all, they have paid for their room and any approach along the lines of 'are you doing business here?' would probably meet with a slap around the face and a lawsuit for denegration of character. On the other hand, a old tart sitting in the lobby with a full bottle of wine to herself, enough make-up to open her own perfumery and wearing enough fishnet to catch a shoal of cod does not make for a pretty sight.
When I ask for a special offer in a hotel - I expect something for rather less than is the rack price, rather than something that is whole lot more.
Birmingham is increasingly becoming a ghetto bad man area! Birmingham has 3 times more gun violence than New York City - and that IS a fact. Im not saying this to scare people away from birmingham but you got to be warned! Now you have been warned and now you know, so don't say I didnt warn you!
By the way when you call 999, call for an ambulance not for the police, in fact don't call the police at all, they're a bit crap in this country!
If you get on a bus and you havent got an 'in date' ticket or you havent paid the right fare and you get caught by bus conductors you will get taken off the bus and get questioned by police and get a fine which should be around £20 but if you do it a few times and they realise you could face a bigger fine.
When you phone for a taxi, always ask roughly how much your fares going to cost, otherwise you may get ripped off or have the taxi drivers robbing you of some of your money.
Also always have spare change on you if you are gettin a taxi and don't be pulling out your notes otherwise they could try and rip you off.
When you get in the taxi tell the driver you know how much the fare is going to cost roughly and thats all your paying. If when you get to your destination the taxi driver decides to bump up the price of your taxi fare, pay the amount you was told and refuse to pay any more.
Be cautious of this especially if you have been on a night out and your a bit er, tipsy!
Most of the public transport runs an exact change policy on the buses so always make sure you have plenty of loose coins for the bus journeys.
You dont want to have to give the driver too much money if its a cheap journey.
Broad street (not so-called because of the number of broads who inhabit the place), is a pounding, throbbing world of loud bars and even louder clubs. With frontages flung open on any night when the temperature gets above freezing, it is not exactly a tranquil spot.
If you have bought a hotel room along this road, then unless you are the 'clubbing' sort yourself make sure it has quadruple glazing or is above the twelveth floor to ensure any chance of a good night's sleep.
Generally Birmingham isn't a dangerous place and I have never had any trouble while visiting. However like most cities there are reports of theft and muggings.
DO NOT walk about while on your own at night and watch out for gangs in some of the surrounding boroughs. During the day it should be very safe if you are in areas where other people are around and there are quite a lot of police and security in the city centre.
Whenever you are going to eat into restaurant and like either wine or beer with the food, make sure that the place is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. If not, you can buy those from grocery store. Bit strange system, but may make sense to someone, not me though.
Becareful you don't get mugged. It is such a big city and especially at night you never know what might happen. Always try to go around with a friend just to be on the safe side :)
Lol don't you just love the picture :)
I dont think there are any special warnings or dangers apart form the obvious, which is not to briadcast you are a tourist, Girls, dont walk around late at night on your own, and keep personal beelonmgs out of site and secure.
Do not flash your cameras or Camcorders in certain locations as it will attract undesirables but if you need reassurance pop into a local police station or ask any police officer they will kindly give you any crime prevention advice.
you could be longing to see this town like me... maybe because I passed by it twice without ever having time for it... a pic taken while running to the station...
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