Sunday, April 6, 2008

Live From London - Quite an interesting series of events

First of all I want to say HELLO and I love you! to my hubby Dana! I miss you! I miss & Love you Mariah! Love you Elise and Julia and yes girls, I've already some bought Galaxy chocolate.

Over the next week, the blog is coming to you Live from London. It's surreal that I am here again since visiting last September. This is the third time in a year I've visited the UK and all for business! I feel like Im a world traveler - I never would have thought this would happen. But definately glad it did!
Today was certainly full of un-expected events. It began when I looked out the window as we were flying over Scotland. I thought SNOW! Well....there won't be any snow in London...WRONG!
Take a look at the photo. Snow took the London people by suprize it and hardly ever happens and Im told that like us in Missouri, a tiny bit of snow will shut the city down FAST. I also liked this scene because sort of reminded me of a flying eagle. This was taken about 100 miles north of London.

We circled the airport for almost 2 hours before they would let us land. London is not used to snowstorms. And while the runways were cleared of snow, they were ill equipped for deicing the planes which grounded many. With no planes going out, even though we had finally landed, we couldn't get in. We sat on the tarmack for an additional hour before we got to the gate.

Then it was off to hop the Heathrow Express, which is a train that takes you to Paddington Station and from there you take a taxi to the hotel. I had a real nice taxi driver. It's always nice when they give you a little insight on all the places you are seeing. I noticed quite a lot of police activity in the city. The taxi driver told me that the Olympic Torch relay was today. I thought how cool! But didn't really think much of it. I actually had no intention of attending because I had another plan- Get to the hotel - Get to the British Museum - Buy Galaxy Chocolate!

Getting to the hotel was easy, getting my room was not. This is the second time I have stayed at this hotel and the second time I have had major troubles checking in. They lost my reservation was cancelled because I didn't show up yesterday according to their computer. My confirmation record showed a different story. I did have a reservation for today and it was already paid in full. The manager went so far as to tell me "that's what happens when you book with a travel agent, sorry about that, there's not anything we can do - unless I wanted to pay for the room and have the funds refunded later" how bout this next statement from the manager... "she was only concerned with what her computer said and not what my documents said". After pointing out to her,that these documents were confirmation from their OWN website along with the fact that other guests were entering the hotel and were obviously privy to the conversation going on, she finally gave me a room. Give me a break! I don't get it. off now to the British Museum....and here the fun begins............

You probably have already heard about the riots and upheaval that the Olympic torch relay caused. By now that event has already come and gone. You don't know that's about to happen when that is going on. So, Im walking down the street and I sort of see the torch go by along with all the media on the next street up ahead of me. I walked a little faster because in my innocent mind, this was kind of cool and since it came to my neighborhood....I'll go see it. It was gone by the time I got there, but circled around later to the street that the British Museum was on. So again, I thought...this time I'll definately see it.

You can not believe the amount of people that were there. I guess growing up in the Ozarks you don't see swarms of people like this so it kind of amazed me. People were waving flags which I didn't find unusual - many people wave flags in support of their country.
Then I saw the police drag out of the crowd - and coming towards me - what looked to be a guy of college age. He was carrying a protest sign that said "Boycott Beijing". Within seconds, here comes another two being carried out by the police. Maybe I should have taken a movie of this or pictures, but honestly this whole scene took me quite by suprize and really heightened my sense to stay safe. All I wanted to do was get to the British Museum...but the gates were blocked by the crowd. I also began noticing the crowd getting rather loud and stirred up and I took note of the flags. While many were waving flags of their country, others were waving flags and signs that said "Free Tibet", I even heard one guy walk thru the crowd and call people "Fascists".
This whole scenerio took about 5 minutes. It wasn't that long before I began to feel that this wasn't the day I should visit the Museum. I needed to get the heck out of there. I thought, if some crazy nut wanted to bomb the place or cause a HUGE riot, this would sure be the place to do it. I turned around and called Dana. He could hear the loud crowd in the background and so I told him all that I had witnessed. By the time I had walked back down the street towards my hotel , I noticed the crowd dispersing so I went to a market, bought a soda and then walked around the block to another entrance of the museum without incident.

As I sit and think about these events a couple of things come to mind. First of all, watching the events live on TV as the torch made its way thru London, how dangerous it was and what kind of political upheaval it stirred is different than being there live. With the media, you get a sense of the danger, the events taking place and then make a decision to go or not to go. But while it's happening in front of your eyes, you don't have the news media in front of you describing the upheaval, you just have YOU to be alert to changing events. You may not be aware of what JUST happened and what's about TO happen. Events can change quickly and I was glad I was better safe than sorry. Second, there were TONS of families there with their children and yes while it was cool to see the torch, I would NEVER take my kids to an event like this after experiencing this. I'm not judging them for doing so, they may not have realized how dangerous a situation it would become either. Glad thats over........

Now that I feel "safe" inside the British Museum, I went back to the rooms where I had been last time. By this time, tons of emotions were swimming thru my mind- processing what I had just seen, being exhausted but at the same time wanting desperately to go to the museum and take more pictures.

I did see some new things I hadn't seen before. Unfortunately, many of the exhibits that I wanted to re-take photos of were out on loan. That was kind of disappointing.

I took the jewelry picture for my friend Jen. She's always making found object jewelry - lots of danglies and lots of movement. It's my kind of style too. I was intrigued by this ancient design because if you look really close you see little pineapple charms, flower charms and little flower beads. Still made me think of King Solomons words "There's nothing new under the sun!" Sorry Jen, our stuff isn't a new design.....

This particular necklace was in the room with the Lachish letters. Very famous pieces of pottery describing the events of when Lachish was about to fall into the hands of the Babylonians.
These particular scarab pendants reminded me of something you might make out of polymer clay. These were part of the necklaces and things that the Egyptians would bury with the dead. They felt the scarabs would keep them safe. Sorry the picture is so dark, the pendants were quite large and very ornate.

Next is a picture of what we'd call flip flops. Wonder what the egyptians "slang name" would be for them? These were wooden flips that were buried with the dead as well.
Maybe we should start buying our flips from who ever made those......they have held up quite well over hundreds of years, don't you agree? However at a closer inspection, they don't look that comfortable....

The mummy is of Cleopatra. I am continually amazed at the artwork on the coffins and the meticulous way these mummies were mummified. At this display is an x-ray of cleopatra inside. At another display, the mummification process is described and there is a collection of preserved organs and other soft tissue. Kind of gross, snapped a picture, but I don't think I'll share it.
I do think it goes to show that these ancient cultures were not primitive at all. They were very educated and lived a rather sophisticated life.

The photo of the pottery really intrigued me. You can see the inlaid pieces better in real life. I just thought this would something challenging to replicate in clay. The inlay was beautiful...maybe beads???
So many of the other exhibits I hoped to view again were off on a tour. It was kind of disappointing. I did not to get to view the stone of Nebuchadnezzar or the Annals of Sennacharib. These are fascinating artifacts that relates to the Bible's authenticity.
I describe a trip to the museum like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant and not miss a drop. There is just so much to see.

This time though, the display of the palace walls of Ashirbainpal had been expanded. The assyrians were a violent military group. They were brutal in hunting lions and people. These walls depict those events. This time I took lots of movies of the museum so I can clip them together for a virtual tour.

My feet were telling me it was time to go. On the way back to the hotel I snapped these photo's of some London property. It may come in handy in case you ever contemplate moving here. That way you'll know how much money to save up. I think when you see these pictures below you will count your blessings and realize your house is probably not as small as it could be....

How about this flat. It features 265 square feet (My studio is bigger than this) and is a mere 265,000 pounds. That's $530K in the US!
If you want a little more space...maybe double the space -565 square feet but with a very similar floor plan, expect to spend 465,000 pounds or almost $1 Million dollars....
While London is nice, my home in Ozark, Missouri is much nicer and out in the country......I will count my blessings!
Tomorrow is a work day beginning the photography for the Arranging Silk Flowers Book. Can't wait to see old friends again. It's great meeting people every where you go!

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