Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website

Again I should point out that today’s title uses “and” to connect to separate ideas, not to imply causation. Though maybe these puns would work better and be funnier if I weren’t so quick to explain them. So I’ll explain the day instead.

I woke up for breakfast (chocolate croissant day!) and found out that Katie, Stephanie, and Tom had gone to Wimbledon very late last night/early this morning to try to get tickets. Meanwhile the rest of us planned to go into London to see the British Museum, the Pride Parade and do some shopping on Oxford Street.  We took a train in, and went up to the British Museum, and ending up splitting into a few different groups. I walked around with Adam, Alexis, and Ahren (just noticed I’m the odd one out of the group – messing up that assonance). The Museum entrance was big grand and looked a bit like the Supreme Court.  Inside was a huge glass atrium with a circular reading room in the middle (I didn’t get to go in but really wish we had time to go into the reading room – it looks stunning from the pictures.).

British Museum - it looks like the US Supreme Court!
Inside the British Museum - I call it an atrium, but maybe they have a different name for it
The first thing we did was go on a quick guided tour of some of the exhibit of England under Roman rule, and the guide talked about the culture, mainly the cross between Roman’s polytheism beliefs and the English Pagan beliefs and how they intermingled before eventually monotheism became the state religion.  We saw some little votive offerings, and silver plates amongst other things. Even though we could take pictures, many glass cases had a lot of light reflection - maybe to discourage you from pictures we joked - but this entry will probably be more picture heavy than other posts.
Model of the Solar System from the Enlightenment!
Next we went downstairs through the library like setting exhibit for the Enlightenment – there were lots of cross cultural items in the area depicting trade, as well as some early telescopes and models of the solar system which I thought were especially interesting (and again wish I had more time to see!).
Tree of life - if you look at it full size, you might be able to see the guns and weapons that make it up
We made our way into the African Art exhibit, which consisted of both modern and older art. There were masks, some in the shape of fish which I thought were very cool, some bronze work in tile like forms that came from Nigeria I believe. But I was most impressed by the “Tree of Life” which was commissioned for the museum. But it was from a part of Africa ravaged by war, and there wasn’t enough money to melt down the metal from guns, so guns were traded for goods and ways that families could support themselves, and the guns were put together into a sculpture called the “Tree of Life,” representing just that.  I thought it was a beautiful piece. 
Why are we all looking at a big rock? At least I don't need to pay $19.99 for a CD to see this!
After that, we walked and saw the Rosetta Stone! Which was amazing. I’ve seen pictures in books, but my 5 seconds with the real thing was well worth it – even though it was one of the most crowded rooms in the museum. 
Nereid Monument - it was huge! This picture doesn't really capture the full scale of it!
After that we went to the Greek area, which was stunning and amazing. We walked in and saw this huge temple raised up in one of the rooms – the Nereid Monument, which by itself in its reconstructed form was breathtaking upon sight.  We walked through and saw many Greek statues and carvings, including parts from the Mausoleum, one of the 7 Wonders of the World! Lions, and Gods and Godesses, and Chariots and Horses. We also got to see statues from the Parthenon! And read a little about the debate that Greece wants the artifacts back.  But it was amazing to see them. And I got my Dr. Seuss on:

Horses and horses, of course it’s the horses,
The men and the horses it’s moreses of horses.

But the museum was amazing – such a huge breadth of history is covered, I could have spent months there – I was in awe of the history, and how much of our history as a race was collected together under one roof – it was astounding. 
Gold llama (top left), Chinese burial statues (top middle), Egyptian mummies (top right), Australian garden (2 bottom)
We ate lunch in the atrium area, with the sack lunches from school, then we went on a quick whirlwind tour of the museum as we each picked one thing. Two things we wanted to see based on the highlights section of the museum map were Australia and a gold llama – so we went to find Australia and the gold llama. Gold llama first (Ahren’s) – which turned out to be a very small llama. About a few inches big – we were expecting like a gold Trojan horse sized llama! They were from the Incas, and were part of offerings to their Gods. My choice were burial statues from the Tang dynasty in China, which were pretty cool to look at.  We walked through the jade collection on the way to another exhibit, and I wish I had known about that before, so I could have spent more time there! There were beautiful pieces I saw as we whisked by, but I would’ve loved to stay longer. Adam’s choice was the mummies, which were really fun to see. And Alexis was the Australian garden out front, which we used to end our tour at the British Museum.

We missed the Pride parade, but that was alright – we had a new mission – time to find Sophia at Oxford street, as her phone had died. Oxford Street is full of huge clothing stores and other shops. We went into the Topshop where she was inside, and it didn’t look too bad. A lot of girls, an escalator up and down – so I went on the down escalator, thinking it’d be relatively easy to find her. The ground floor went out of sight, and the -1 floor came into view – it blew my mind, it was insanely huge, like a clothing Costco for girls – the room wasn’t tall like Costco, but the width, length, and enormous crowds of people made me think of that! Could totally see this as a scene in a comedy film – the men go into the store thinking “how hard could this be” only to get that reveal. And there was a -2 floor which was just as big. (Floors 1 and 2 above – entry is the ground floor, the next floor up is 1 in most buildings here – were for men.) Eventually we did find her, and we split up for shopping. Walked through the Nikeworld, Topman area in Topshop and H&M, and I found a British sweater (or jumper? Not sure on terminology) that I rather liked and bought.

Oxford Street - VERY crowded!
We met up later, and Katie came out into the city too. We did a little souvenir shopping and passed by a National Geographic store (no time to go in unfortunately) before going to Wagamama in Leicester Square to eat with some of Ahren’s college friends in London. Wagamama is like a Japanese fusion type of restaurant – I had yakisoba which was quite good.  We had to wait a while, and the restaurant was downstairs, but it was a good meal – and no potatoes for a nice change! It was cool that we can navigate the Tube system pretty well – I’m even starting to know some of my lines – Northern line will take you from Leicester Square to Waterloo, and you can catch the Piccadilly line from Leicester Square as well.  We came back by the way of the co-op so we could by some snacks and ice cream, before coming back to work on blogs and get some downtime. I wanted to do laundry, but there were some other people (older people, and French? Asian people doing laundry too) so I waited until late at night when there were cats prowling near the door – scary experience, but I’m getting through it! Time to go start folding.

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