Let’s call Monday “Museum Monday”.
The British Museum is a gigantic repository of human history. We spent hours there, but still had barely any time to see the entire thing, so I’ll just cover the cream of the crop.
As you enter, you’re greeted with the Rosetta Stone. Yes, THE Rosetta Stone. The tablet that provided translations for Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Unfortunately, the Spanish version costs $59.95 extra.
The rest of the museum was a cavalcade of ancient artifacts found and sometimes looted by the British from Greece, Rome and Egypt.
From Greece and Rome, many statues missing limbs and ruins from the Parthenon.
It also seems that the British robbed the Egyptians of all their mummies. Including mummies of cats, baboons, alligators and fish.
Fish. The fact that they mummified fish proves they had nothing better to do.
The second museum on the agenda was the Imperial War Museum, a sobering reminder of the horrors of war guarded by two gigantic howitzers and a piece of the Berlin Wall. The Museum covers the entire 20th century’s war history, starting, of course, with World War I, and ending with current international conflicts. It’s laid out in such a way to give you an accurate, progressional history of war and international relations in the past 110 years, as well as give you insight into life in the Trenches.
Our final stop was The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, a large repository of several thousand paintings, including Monet’s Waterlillies and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Unfortunately, photos weren’t allowed in the gallery, so you’ll have to go see for yourself.
After doing the touristy bit nearby with Big Ben ( it’s not that big [that’s what she said] ), we met up with a friend of ours for dinner and drinks. The woman who served us had the thickest cockney accent I had ever heard and it took all my will to not crack up.
Tuesday started with a return to stereotypical tourism through the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. The ceremony was filled with an awful lot of pomp and a bit of circumstance. Why so much razzmatazz for a simple guard switch? Tradition I guess.
We boarded a train to Windsor Castle, the Queen’s weekend home, sponsored by Nintendo. It was all quite good, but paled in comparison with Edinburgh castle and The castle at Neuschwanstein (Sorry, jumping ahead a bit. Spoilers!).
Upon returning to London, we met up with a few other old friends and proceeded to Brick Lane for dinner. Brick Lane is a long street surrounded on either side by a plethora of Indian Restaurants.
Now, you might ask me, “Ganesh, you’re an economist. With all this competition, how do the individual restaurants distinguish themselves from one another and attract customers?”
I would answer, “Pimping.”
Each restaurant has a shady looking Indian dude outside with a voice like an auctioneer who begs you to try his
prostitute restaurant. He offers you deals like free appetizers and drinks (booze included). A “curry pimp”, if you will.
Now this might sound great, but keep in mind there’s one dude for every restaurant, and it gets old quick. Food’s okay, though.
In related news, my newest business cards will list my profession as “curry pimp”.
Wednesday was a relatively slow morning. Camden Market, the second of the large scale markets I mentioned in my last post, is a large neighborhood I can only describe as a Greenwich Village-esque flea market, and a haven for hipsters. I purchased this hat:
It’s a Stetson. I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool.
By 2pm I was all hipstered out and caught a matinee showing of “Doctor Faustus” at The Globe. Why not a Shakespeare play? Because shut up it was amazing.
I absolutely highly recommend everyone watch a show at The Globe at least once. The tickets are only £5 for standing room, cheaper than anything else you’re likely to get in London. Why would you want to stand for 2 hours? Because the experience is worth it. You’re never any further than 5 feet from the actors at all times, and by the end of it, you won’t notice that the bones in your feet have fused together into some sort of foot-claw.
As for “Doctor Faustus” or, as I’m calling it, “Fun Times With Satan”, the play was amazing. Again, not a Shakespeare, but a play from Christopher Marlowe, “Faustus” is the original “I’d sell my soul for anything” tale. Despite the dark subject matter, it manages to be incredibly funny, and kinda weird from time to time. It also didn’t hurt that Mephistopheles was played to perfection by Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill. More on Doctor Who later.
Next Time: Jenga and Ladies’ Tea