Europe: London
Published 08-17-2009 on my old wordpress blog.

Thai Food restaurant on Museum Street, London, England, 14:14

I just spent about four hours in the British Museum. It’s a more varied collection than the Louvre, but smaller. They do have a 1.8 million year old stone chopper from Tanzania, though. So that’s the oldest thing I saw on my trip. Besides mountains and the ocean and what not.

Hang on, my food’s here. More later.

Westminster Gardens?, London, England, 16:17

Where was I? Old stuff. Right. The British museum had some cool artifacts and it was free!! Thanks, elementary school friend reunited on facebook, for suggesting it! The British Museum had stuff from all over the world. It also has this thing called “The Rosetta Stone.” I guess it’s pretty helpful for translating, since it had three languages saying the same thing. Probably.

The more old, foreign stuff I see, the more I think about how it’s a little like stealing. Taking a bunch of pennies from the free-for-everyone plate by the cash register. Maybe we should give all this stuff back to the countries and tribes and peoples they belong to. Do we really need to house parts of the Parthenon in London? Conservationists say “yes.” I’m not sure how these things are better preserved in foreign hands than in the hands of the descendents of those that made them, but what do I know?

After my visit to the British Museum, I hopped on the tube and took the Picadilly line to the Victoria line to the Plimlico stop and walked to the Tate Gallery. My sources told me it housed modern art. Well, Tate Modern does, but Tate Britain is a mix of modern art and British historical art. There was some cool things there, though.

My favorite piece was one of the first ones I saw: a “mixed media” piece where the artist set up a bunch of metronomes around the room, all beating at different tempos. The thing that got me all excited about it was pretty nerdy, actually. If you think about it, if the metronomes are all started at the same time (and at the same point in the arc of the pendulum), there would be a point in time where all of the metronomes would click at once. That would be pretty bad ass. So, I tried to film the installation for a little bit, but some guy yelled at me for filming. Apparently, no photography is allowed in the Tate. Sorry, dude, I didn’t know!

There was also a Richard Long exhibit which I didn’t pay to see (the British Andy Goldsworthy, sort of), a bunch of paintings by JMW Turner, who was pretty revolutionary with his blurriness, a good sculpture or two, and a room for two dudes obsessed with themselves, Gilbert and George. I liked this museum and I liked laughing at the descriptions. The azure darkness could represent tranquility. I sometimes agree with the dad from Glory Daze: “nobody is going to pay you for arranging garbage into neat little piles.” or whatever he says. Sometimes, modern art is really awesome, though. I wish I had time to make it to the Tate Modern. I guess I’ll just walk around this abbey or whatever and maybe go swing by a clock and a palace and a park. A few more hours of walking on my last day of my trip.

Green Park, London, 17:53

Some kid just fell and bashed his head open on the Canada Memorial. The one that says “To show respect, keep off the monument.” I blame Canada.

Let’s see, I’ve seen parliament (I did not blow it up, it’s not the 5th of November yet), Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and some parks and a river. I think that’s all the touristy stuff, right? Oh maybe the milennium bridge and London eye and globe theater and all that. Okay, I’ll get to walking.

Pizza Express on Euston Street, London, 21:20

Man, I just walked a long ways. I was going to go to a show tonight, but then I found the band on YouTube and decided to rest my feet and pack for the morning. Plus, the show was listed as starting at 7:30 and I didn’t get back until 9:00.

So now I’m at the London pizza chain, pizza express. But don’t think Pizza Hut or Domino’s, think Romio’s or some other fancier thing. They put lemon in my 330ml coke and poured it for me, as well. That kind of thing. After I eat an get back to my cell, I’ll update you all on my last few hours. But now, PIZZA!

Big Jail-like Hostel, London, 22:19

I think I saw pretty much everything. I did not see Hyde Park or 10 Downing Street, but I’m sure those weren’t really worth it, right?. I walked along the Thames for quite a long ways. Past the London Eye (nope, too expensive), all the way to the Globe Theater (Theatre?). Probably the coolest thing I saw on that walk was a little skatepark in the middle of it all. It had a very Burnside feel to it because it seemed like a space that the skaters just took over and the city gave up the fight. It was all graffiti and angled banks and small ledges. I miss my skateboard.

Let’s see, all the touristy stuff was okay, but I’m getting tired of old buildings. And that milennium bridge is a stinky piece of doo doo. I don’t know why, but I didn’t like it at all. I really wish I had gone to the right Tate museum, because the Tate Modern looked amazing. It’s a converted power plant of some kind. I forgot to mention that the Tate Britain was free, as well as the Tate Modern. Museums in London rule, apparently.

Well, now the great debate: stay up as late as possible and try to shift back 8 time zones or just go to sleep and deal with it when I get back? Maybe a compromise of some sort will do? Stay up a little bit? Hm. I guess we’ll see how long repacking and preparing takes. Goodnight, imaginary readers. I’ll “see” you in Seattle at 11pm tomorrow.

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Keywords: europe, london, museum, travel

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