Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009 - The British Museum -- No Stone Left Unphotographed

“Half the fun of the travel is the aesthetic of lostness.” - Ray Bradbury

After reading the quote, I figure that if Ray Bradbury had come with me today to the British Museum, he would have had a lot of fun. I walked into this ginormous building, took a look at a "You are here" map, then marched myself into a morass of mystical museum madness. (Enough alliteration, already). I wandered around with 5 photos in my hand, determined to capture one of them for duplication -- my assignment for today. Well, the first two were immediately off the list -- I needed a wide angle lens to photograph the entire great hall from the window above. Plan B -- the library at the museum. I wandered and wandered and wandered and got lost deeper and deeper and deeper. I really started to panic at one point, having no idea where I was or how to go back to the great hall and get a map I could hold in my hand. I couldn't even follow the flow of "traffic"...people were wandering in every direction and every room seemed to have three doors. It was a little like Alice in Wonderland ... cats and knights and horses and rabbits and very strange faces loomed out at me in every direction. Finally, defeated, I asked one of the employees who cheerfully pointed me in the right direction. I found a map then bought a coke, sat down, and looked at it to get my bearings. I also found out that the library was closed! Down to one photo. It was of a large staircase with a statue of a discuss thrower at the bottom. I liked the simplicity and the symmetry of it. So I began wandering again ... this time in search of the staircase. I finally came upon it ... right near where I had entered the museum in the first place. It took at least 10 minutes for me to find a moment to capture the scene without people in it. Once I did that, I had only one more mission -- to see the Rosetta Stone. I was told -- follow the tourists. Sure enough, it was in a central spot and surrounded by lots of people. I took a few pictures, but because it is behind glass, the photos are tainted with reflections. But at least I got to see it. One quick turn around the Greek & Roman marble statues, and I was done. All I have to say is you could take a full day for each of the rooms, and still probably not see it all. At least the price is right -- free.

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