Online at last

April 13th, 2006 | by Charlotte |

My e-mail is downloading. And downloading, and downloading…I must have 200 new e-mails by now. I finally managed to get wireless internet for my laptop – at a Starbucks for 5 pounds an hour or 45 pounds a month. London doesn’t seem to have wireless ISPs, like Unwired in Sydney. Instead you’ve got to track down a paid wireless connection in a cafe or hotel, buy a drink, pay for your internet and login. I can see this could get rather expensive, but I’m just so glad to be connected on my laptop again that I don’t care. Finally, no more grotty Internet Access points.

The British Museum was stunning. Truly, there is no better museum in the world, although it’s full of objects acquired less than legally (nicked!) During the 2 hour tour, which barely scratched the surface and involved lots of sprinting through interesting rooms without even stopping, the guide showed us the Elgin Marbles but failed to mention that Greece has been demanding them back for decades.

But the collection, however it was acquired, is superb. A proper walk through, looking at each item, would take days. I spent 6 hours walking fast, trying to take in as much as possible and I’m just going to HAVE to go back there again because I missed so much. A lot of the collection is familiar – you see it in books and magazines all the time. Familiar objects include the massive carved head of Ramses II (which inspired Shelley to write poetry), a famous mummified cat, the golden leaf and flower headdress of a Sumerian woman I copied for a project in primary school, the Rosetta Stone (large but hard to get near as it’s so popular), a bust of Isaac Newton (carved from life), and the gorgeous Lewis Chessmen.

I love the clockwork section, which had working centuries old clocks and pocket watches from medieval times to the 1900s.

My bog man wasn’t on show, as his bit of the museum is getting redecorated and he’s too heavy to move. But I saw the Sutton Hoo viking artefacts and that made up for it.

Now I’m off to pick up my glasses, which should be fixed by now, get my mobile phone unlocked so I can get a SIM card and do various other chores. I plan to see a musical, maybe Les Mis, tonight with my fixed glasses. It’s a bit of a bummer that I’m here during Easter. Everything will probably be shut tomorrow, Sunday and Monday, so finding new accommodation and a job is going to be difficult. I may have to extend my hotel stay a few more days, or move to the Piccadilly hostel down the road.

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  1. 3 Responses to “Online at last”

  2. By yewenyi on Apr 13, 2006 | Reply

    I am glad to see you are settling in. Luckily the British Museum is free so many visits are the go. My favourite is the Persian Sphynixes. Then of course there is the Louvre. Not to mention that fact that England in general is such a good museum. I had a quick look for wireless connections. All I could find was this article.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4578114.stm

    I’ll look again when I have more time.

  3. By Charlotte on Apr 15, 2006 | Reply

    Did you see the picture of the discovery of one set of Persian Sphinxes? Imagine digging in Iraq and seeing the massive head of one of those sphinxes appear.

    The tour guide said all the Persian relics are all that more valuable due to the Iraq war. (Thank you, George Bush, you destructive bastard.) Thousands of irreplaceable relics were destroyed with the looting of the Bagdad Museum. The guide showed us a plaster wall carving of an Assyrian king’s lion hunt. A missing block from the hunt, discovered at a school where it had been used as a dart board for decades, recently sold to the museum for over ten million pounds, but the museum had about 50 blocks and the lion hunt extended all the way around a huge room.

    Abuse of valuable historical relics seems to be a theme in the British Museum. The Rosetta Stone was discovered smashed up and part of a village wall. A magnificent Egyptian sarcophagus had 12 holes drilled in it and was used as a ritual bath in a mosque. A stone covered in hieroglyphs had the hieroglyphs rubbed off in one part where it had been used as a millstone. WTF is wrong with people, that they destroy history like that?

  4. By Charlotte on Apr 15, 2006 | Reply

    Just checked your link. It’s exactly what I was looking for. And to think that such a system was set up in Sydney several years ago…you’d expect the UK to be ahead.

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