Friday, February 20, 2009

The British Museum, Rosetta Stone & Lost

Journal for Thursday, Feb 4, London late afternoon and evening

We split up, after lunch, and made our ways separately through the Tube, and back to the hotel (sort of.) I headed off to the British Museum. Originally, I'd planned to spend much time here, but had only an hour or so, because I wanted to be sure to get back to the hotel to meet up in time with Brian, Dianna & Emily to go to Wicked.

This is the lobby of the British Museum:

And a sculpture:

And someone dead a very long, long, long time. The British Museum has tons of antiquities. Of dead things.

The one thing, I really, really wanted to see, was this. It's the Rosetta Stone. This was the stone which helped decipher hieroglyphics. This baby was written (chiseled?) in 196 BC (a tad earlier than Word), and then discovered in 1799.

Shhhhhhhh! If you look closely at line 8, you'll see all the passwords to my foreign bank accounts.

I kept an eye on the clock while I was here, because I was worried about getting back in time. I had plenty of time, but I'm intimately acquainted with me, and my very sad sense of direction. The sun was beginning to go down, and truthfully, once it gets a little dark, I can't read street signs well. (keep that in mind next time you make me the navigator on a trip )(which I actually like to be.)

And I didn't have a compass with me.

And then I discovered something which made my blood run cold, ND cold, and alter time as we know it: the map I had with me didn't include our hotel.

Now, before our trip, I'd made many copies of Tube station maps for everyone, had acquired London maps from all kinds of brochures, had highlighted every map in my 3 guide books showing where our hotel was. . . and didn't have any of these with me. Except one lame map showing everything south and west of where I happened to be, lost in the universe.

I headed first in one direction. Then the other. I walked down streets that looked roughly familiar, because we'd been on them over and over over the last 4 days, walking when the buses weren't running. . . but they all looked . .. . different. Different as in, before I just wanted to take pictures of this and that; now, I just wanted to know which way to walk.

Ok, I took a deep breath, decided one direction was probably roughly northeast, which was probably, roughly, where I should go, in some kind of deranged zig-zag fashion. And walked and walked. My camera didn't feel so light any more.

Finally, I decided to start asking people, but pretty much no one had heard of the little street I was looking for. And with every other little building being a hotel in London, my hotel name didn't mean much. Eventually I went into the lobby of the British Medical Association, pointed out roughly on my lame map where my hotel should be. . . if the map extended, and a very wonderful, angelic, keeper-of-the-wisdom-of-the-universe took pity on this pathetic foreigner and downloaded and printed a much better google map for me. And pointed out a short cut for me to take to the hotel.

Remind me to never accept the words "short-cut". They always lead you to the edges of Oblivion, or possibly a sidestreet in Deliverance. Anyway, I was lost again. I asked a Random Unhelpful Guy in the street, showing him the map, trying to reconcile the street signs with where I was at. . . and he basically had no clue, but gave me wild sounding directions to ask some security guard how to get there.

I decided to skip his well-intended wild goose chase, and retraced my steps all the way back to the British Medical Association, and tried again.

This time, taking the EXACT SAME ROUTE took me SOMEWHERE ELSE!!! (how does that happen?) and it happened to be right in front of the hotel. Right in front of the hotel, at the exact moment that the same Unhelpful Guy walked by!

Yeah, no pictures of THIS fun little jaunt. Just in time for me to collect my (geographically-impaired, frazzled) wits and head off to Wicked with my family.

And Wicked was so , so worth it! The best part of the day! And yes, Kerry Ellis plays Elphaba and she was great!

I'm not sure if it was because of the weather issues this week, but the theatre was not full at all. I wished we'd gotten the half-price, same day tickets at Leicester Square. But what we were able to do was move up from our crappy, way in the back, off on the side seats, to much closer up and center seats. But if you ever go to London, consider the same-day tickets. Which is what I'll do if I ever get to go back. That and bring a map for every frickin' pocket of my clothes. And one for each shoe.(2)


Jena Photography said...

Great photos. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

shirley said...

That Stone is really cool - you got great detail on it. I really enjoyed reading about your trip!

Kelly said...

What a great trip you had.. I really love that first shot. The perspective is great

Nicki, said...

Fantastic shots in the museum - and, (sadly at your expense) LOL on your wild and crazy adventures in and around the city. I have really enjoyed this trip - thank you!

Donnah C said...

Sounds like a fun adventure - That sculpture (2nd shot) is amazing. I think I could look at it all day - beautiful.

Reds said...

LOL! So sorry you got lost... but this makes for a very funny story!! TFS!

Jess said...

ROFL- I can't help but laugh, and if it makes you feel any better at all, I share in your directions-impaired-ness! I can't keep directions about me AT ALL! Love your photos from the museum, the Rosetta Stone is AMAZING!

Jeanne said...

Amazing photos, just amazing!

I am so sorry you got lost, but I have to admit to giggling a little at your description. The way you write, I feel as though I am right there with you. That's how good you are!

Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog about my crafty endeavors! I appreciate it so much!

Mandy said...

There is so many amazing things! Its like visiting a whole different world when you go to Europe. TFS!

Nancy Devine said...

amazing pictures.

Maria said...

Poor Angela! My heart goes out to you because I also lack the navigation gene. Very funny writing, but I know it didn't feel very funny at the time. I had never seen a picture of the Rosetta Stone. I'm with you, if I ever make it to London, I'll have to set aside extra time to visit the British Museum. What a great place!