2003-11-25: "A Trip to the British Museum"
An expedition to The British Museum, with a side trip to Texas along the way!
Zhao's parents have been cooped up with my wife in the flat for quite a while now. Untill recently baby Catherine was too small to take out much, but now she's a bit older (2 months) we're being a bit more adventurous with shopping trips and sight seeing expeditions.
We started off with a little shopping, followed by lunch at the Texas Embassy - probably the finest Tex-Mex food in town, which proved a popular choice. We arrived at the museum at around 3:00PM, leaving us two and a half hours to look around. The problem with the BM is that you have every intention of going straight to the bit you're interested in, but somehow everything you see seems to merit a few minutes of attention. Fortunately the new central plaza means you don't have to traipse through endless galleries and exhibits before you get to the bit you're there to see.
I found an edition of the museum guide book in Chinese, and bought it straight away for my in-laws as the displays are all in english. We soon found the Oriental gallery which started off with some impressive looking neolithic blades and utensils. This gave way to very finely detailed bronze jars, bowls and bells that are stylisticaly still obviously related to their equivalents of only a few hundred years ago.
A small display explained the history of chinese writing, the oldest example of which was inscribed in bone and was some 4,000 years old!
Zhao and I left her parents to browse the exhibits while we went off to the changing room to feed the baby, though since it was in the ladies room I ended up having to wait outside. That done, we rested our feet on some benches and Zhao was able to show off baby Catherine to some Chinese girls doing the same.
Later we looked around the Egyptian gallery, and I was able to show off my impressive (ahem) knowledge of Egyptian burial customs, and inspect the remains of some seriously long-dead people and their stuff. On the way out we had a look at some Egyptian statues, murals from a Mesopotamean palace, and a replica of a Babylonian city gate complete with electrotype copies of the bronze plates that held it together, and the actual plates themselves in displays on the side. So we got to see some excelent examples of the three oldest writing systems in the world - Chinese, Cuneiform and Heiroglyphics.
Off back to the flat for some delicious home made noodles, and an early night. I thought I was going down with a cold, but thanks to some TLC from my better half, I think I'm going to be ok.