Thursday, April 24, 2008

London Itinerary: Friday, 9 May 2008

10:00a I always hear everyone come back from London and say, "Oh, that British Museum! You could spend a whole day in there!" Why the hell not? "The sun never sets on the British Empire": you can see evidence of this archaic saying in the British Museum. Having had a white-knuckled grip on almost every land of ancient peoples and artifacts at one time or another, they've chipped off a piece here and there and carted it back to the island with them. We can roll our eyes, thinking "how unfair," but we probably owe a lot to them. Look at the Parthenon in its current state. Years of warfare and exposure to the elements/pollution have made the ancient temple an absolute wreck. So, if the British hadn't had the sense or nonsense to remove the friezes and sculptures of deity from it, we'd have so much less than we do now. So no need to complain. They may have been imperialistic culture-thieves at one time, but now we have the marvelous convenience of seeing so much of the world's history in one place.

The British Museum has some 3 or 4 cafes and restaurants located within its walls. You have no reason to leave before the museum closes at 8:30p. I can get there right at 10a, look at exhibits. When I feel peckish (I'm going to London, so now I have license to use those Britishisms without seeming pretentious), I can just go to the eating facility appropriate to my price bracket. When I feel intellectually drained, I can go browse the gift shop until I feel like hitting the exhibits again. I can always leave and see something else in town if I get bored, but it's much harder to add a whole day that I haven't planned for the museum. But I don't think I'll have that problem.

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