Thursday, June 4, 2009

London II.iii

Between being lazy and cooking dinners we've found time to visit another museum: the British Museum. Like the Natural History Museum, we ended up seeing half of it the first day, and came back two days later for the rest. The museum is pretty good, although it doesn't beat the Natural History Museum in my opinion.

They have a pretty big collection of Egyptian stuff - I've heard it's the largest outside of Egypt. We walked through the collection Egyptian statues, some of which are pretty large (I know they're much larger in Egypt though). This is where the actual, authentic Rosetta Stone is located. And if you don't remember what the Rosetta Stone is (it's not just "language learning software" that Michael Phelps was in a commercial for), it was the key to deciphering the Egyptian written language. The stone has the same passage written on it in three different languages, one of which is Greek. Since archaeologists could read the Greek, they were able to unravel what the other two Egyptian versions said! Voila! The Rosetta Stone exhibit seems to always be surrounded by crowds of people, so it was hard to get a picture. I got a picture with the imitation Rosetta Stone in the library of the museum though, hehe.

They also had a lot of Roman and Greek artifacts and statues. There were a few Assyrian pieces. The Middle Eastern area had a few nice things. The Aztec room was pretty cool. The turquoise mosaic, double-headed serpent was very cool. I wasn't able to get a good picture of it, sadly. And the other turquoise mosaic masks were pretty creepy. I would have freaked out if I saw some priest coming at me, knife in hand with a mask like that on.

The Chinese and Oriental collection was very exotic and interesting. There were fat, laughing Buddhas as well as somber, calm Buddhas. A lot of the females figures had very pronounced and perky breasts and hips, which is different from most of the statues we'd seen from other parts of the world. And a lot of pieces were inlaid with lots of sparkling little gems or made of shiny gold. Pretty stuff.

Our second trip to the museum brought us through a collection of even more Roman pieces. We also saw a pretty large display of money from all over the world throughout the ages. They had a watch and clock collection that had everything from grandfather clocks to pocket-watches to elaborate astronomical clocks. The Japanese exhibit was decent, containing a few beautiful scrolls as well as a suit of samurai armor. I enjoyed their collection of old jewelry, vases, tableware, etc from 17th-18th century England. Some pieces were really very pretty.

We saw the rest of their Egyptian collection. They had coffins, canopic jars, and all sorts of other burial-related items. They have a pretty good specimen of a 5000 year old man with tufts of hair on his head and everything. I do think that the preserved bodies at the National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology were more impressive though. These rooms were very crowded, like at the Rosetta Stone. I think a lot of people must go to the museum to just see the Egyptian stuff.

And I tell you what, as we finished the last room and headed back downstairs to leave, the funniest thing happened. See, it was like this. I was merrily walking down the stairs and suddenly found myself practically sitting on them, my foot twisted oddly under me, trying as best I could to find my balance so I didn't just topple headlong the rest of the way. After what seemed like quite a while (but I'm told was actually no time at all) I gathered myself and prepared to diffuse the embarrassing situation as best I could. I popped up with a smile and turned to the horrified faces of the random strangers behind me and proclaimed "I'm okay!" Inside I shuddered... Here I am, 26 years old, still falling down stairs.

After making my way safely to the bottom I realized my toe kind of hurt. I looked down and fighting panic told Chuck that I was not okay. About 8mm of the toenail on my big toe was flipped backward, the pink skin underneath shining through. Eeeps! The sight of it was worse than the reality though. It bled a bit, but really didn't hurt so much. Looking on the bright side, I had an excuse to limp around for the rest of the day which is always fun!

That night's dinner was a juicy, fatty roast duck with roast potatoes and a roast parsnip. That parsnip was honestly the most delicious part of the whole meal. Soooo good all soft and roasty.

The next day we headed out to the butchers to get some venison steaks. We've been on a roll trying new meats here, and venison was our next pick. They turned out to be absolutely delicious. I thought they were better than beef steaks. They were tender and almost buttery. I don't know if we just got lucky with our venison, or if it's always so good. I would gladly replace my beef with venison. On the way back form the butchers we got a few pictures. We finally got the obligatory "phone booth" pictures. Good times.

No comments:

Post a Comment