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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Europe CNY 2012 - Day 16 - British Museum

"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes." - Doctor Who

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Europe CNY 2012
Day 16 - 3rd February - British Museum


Half the toilets at the hostel were clogged or spoilt. Gah.

Since I was crippled, I wasn't able to go very far. Luckily my hostel was just beside the British Museum, so I managed to go for the Hajj exhibition as well as see how my favourite museum had changed in the 6 years since I'd visited it (and to check in on some favourites).

For breakfast, I went to a cafe called "Roma Bella". The breakfast menu consisted of:

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1. Full Scottish English Breakfast
2. Full Vegie Breakfast (vegan-unfriendly)
3. Egg Benedict (sic)
4. Scrambled Eggs
5. Eggs Florentine
6. Eggs Royale

As you can probably tell from the name, it was an Italian joint. But then Colazione is not very exciting.

They also had jacket potatoes, fish & chips and sandwiches. Which seemed to be standard in English places.

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Full Vegie English Breakfast
The hostel breakfast would've been vegetarian. I needed breakfast anyway because I was feeling terrible and I needed something to have my pills with.
It was quite mediocre but then it was just across from the British Museum. Maybe the Italian food was better.

It's easy to be vegetarian in the UK. Vegans... don't have it so good. Vegetarian options usually have egg or dairy elements.

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"Open with care, sprinkle with abandon" (Splenda)

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British Museum

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Leave your large bags and luggage at home. This is like flying, but worse.

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Girl making a home video. This is quite a good zipai tool (to film oneself) - a rod at the end of which one can put one's video camera.

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War Memorial

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I assumed the ladies in black were all going to the Hajj exhibition

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For fans of "A history of the world in 100 objects" - not all are on display

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"and let thy feet
millenniums hence
be set in midst of knowledge"
- Tennyson

All the Latin purists can go excoriate Tennyson.

While waiting for the Hajj exhibition I hobbled around the ground floor. It was always nice to see the various items again.

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Rosetta Stone

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Every time I see the Rosetta Stone, it is different. The first time it was on a plinth, then a glass case came up around it. Now they'd moved it so it was the first thing you saw on entering the gallery.

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Lely's Venus

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Nereid Monument

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On the Parthenon Sculptures (aka Elgin Marbles, a term they strenously refrained from). They even have FAQ pamphlets about the Greek government's campaign to have the marbles returned. I wasn't able to see if there was a similar rack of FAQ pamphlets at the Lewis Chessmen about demands that they be returned to Scotland.

Having been to the Parthenon's Museum, it was obvious to me that the state of preservation and the mode of presentation of the sculptures in the British Museum far surpassed that of those in Athens (at least as of 2006).

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Hermes, Dionysius (probably), Demeter and Ares

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Horse head

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Centaur trampling a falling lapith

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Seated woman on the point of rising, woman reclining in companion's lap

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Horsemen

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Three Nereids

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Sargon II

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Grooms and Horses

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Palace of Sargon

Flash is alright in the British Museum as a whole, which is rare. I suppose it's because they have few light-sensitive objects - only stuff with colours can be damaged by light.

The room dedicated to the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos was closed, presumably because of a lack of manpower. This was very annoying as it was a very important room.

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Sacred Boat of Queen Mutemwia

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"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Ramesses II

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Panehsy

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Blind people get to touch some items!

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Chinese Zodiac merchandise. Approximately 1/12 of the people will get their zodiac sign wrong, since for simplicity they have aligned the solar and lunar calendars.

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"Manga at the British Museum"

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Alabaster Stela of the Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II

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Hajj Exhibition Halal Specials
Presumably they aren't halal normally (do Muslims come normally? this can be another indicator of integration)

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Stone Guardian figure
Apparently there are "Korean features", but they don't specify what these might be

I then got to enter the timed Hajj exhibition.

There was a 1582 compass for finding Mecca. Constantinople was marked in red. Interestingly, this points to an inconvenient fact Turkish nationalists will omit: even the Turks have called Istanbul Constantinople for most of their occupation of the city.

"Istanbul is one of the many names of the city. The word Istanbul is derived from the colloquial Greek eis tin polin, "to the city" Originally, the name Istanbul referred only to the walled city and excluded all suburbs... To describe the whole city, the Ottomans continued using the Byzantine name Constantinople (Kostantiniyye)... With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Republic of TURKEY, all previous names were abandoned and Istanbul came to designate the entire city. Today the use of the name Constantinope to describe the Ottoman capital, although historically accurate, is often deemed politically incorrect by Turkish historians and by most Turks" --- Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire / Gábor Ágoston and Bruce Alan Masters

Muslims believe that the Kaaba building was originally built by Adam and rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael. Yet, access to it is denied to other Peoples of the Book. What if Israel banned non-Jews from Jerusalem?

Mecca is called the City of Abraham.

The Sultan used to send a Mahmal (palanquin) on pilgrimage to show how good he was.

Before they replaced the pillars for the Stoning of the Devil with a wall, how often did the pillars have to be changed?

Zam Zam is the well from which Muslim Holy Water comes from. This explains the name of the Arab Street restaurant.

The Tipu Sultan had his helmet (made of quilted cotton) dipped in Zamzam water so it was supposed to be impenetrable. However he was killed by the British in 1799. The helmet looked intact. I guess he wasn't wearing it.

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Sainte Chapelle mechandise

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Hoa Hakananai'a Easter Island Statue

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Great chair idea - portable chairs for one to use. Everywhere should do this.

I then had lunch with M.

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Hunter's Chicken, nachos

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Note the Pub Favourite, Chicken Tikka Masala. "What would a traditional British pub be without the classic dishes that we all know and love?"

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"You always know where you are in a licensed taxi"
Yeah. In debt.

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Railway memorial for WWI and WWII. Apparently World War I lasted a few months longer here, until 1919.

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Pierre Hermé macarons
Their body was not as scrumptiously delicate as Darcis. As for the filling, I preferred Darcis's milder intensity (it was less strong than La Durée though, which can come across as too strong).

I then returned to Cambridge for the night.

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I like the man's dramatic look juxtaposed with the sign about drama

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"Save our buses... If you want to stop the cuts to your bus then you should be here to lobby the cabinet members"
Higher taxes!

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Four Seasons Duck

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Boris
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