Travel Thursday: Calling London, part 2

The next day I was further north, a little east, but really not that far away crow-flying. A long time ago I vowed to see every little item on display in the British Museum, rotating exhibits notwithstanding, but at the time I hadn’t realized that would entail objects–hell, whole ancient civilizations–I had no interest in. Still, a vow was a vow, and even though I visit this building every time I’m in town, I’m nowhere near the end of my quest. I once read that it would take over 300 years to view every object the Hermitage in St. Petersburg has for 10 seconds–not just on display, the stuff in the cellars too–and even though the Brit isn’t nearly as big, it’s still hella daunting. At times like these I always make a vow to stop making vows.
Luckily I wasn’t there on the day they had their “noxious substance” alert, cuz you know it would have gotten me big time, whatever it was. But it always amuses me going into European museums and seeing all the Maya stuff they have; Vienna has a whole museum of ancient Mexican artifacts, so there, but still. . .
Room 72–Ancient Cyprus–has always been one of my faves. Also said hi to my old buddies the moai, those giant heads from Easter Island. If the damn thing was about half price, I would have bought the tissue holder shaped like one, with the tissues coming out exactly where you’d think. . . hmmm, that sounded a lot naughtier than it shoulda been.
As expected, I miss what would be a fantastic exhibit for me–Egyptian Book of the Dead–by a couple of months.
At University College London they asked me to establish my credentials–including one guy who knew me and all my accomplishments from the Royal Geo, the asshole–but instead I crossed them up by telling them anthropological jokes, starting with one told by one of my old professors when he’d been a student.
It was back in the fifties when he went to some tiny island in the Pacific where the inhabitants hadn’t seen many white people. So he stayed with these people for months, learning all about the culture, but annoyed that one part of it, the warrior code thing, was kept from him. Kept from everyone, in fact, unless you were in their secret society of warriors.
So finally, after months of begging, they informed him he was eligible to join the society, as long as he completed all the tests. Most of them were easy, and he was so proud of himself as he went to the late-night campfire and sat there cross-legged with all the other men. . . and then they informed him that his final test was eating a raw bat.
Yeah, I’m sure he looked about the same way you do right now, but anything for science, right?
They passed him a raw bat, luckily dead, and though it took him a while to work up to it, he bit into it, chewing as well as he could, trying not to insult them. . .
Finally, when he swallowed the bite down, he could see them and notice how some of them were howling with laughter–just like you–while others looked really disgusted–like you did before. Then the chief told him–when he wasn’t laughing his head off–“Dude, we were just kidding! We didn’t think anyone would be stupid enough to actually do it!”
Just for fun, I put in the quick little joke I head in Africa: Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other, “This tastes funny.”
Okay, that was just a set-up for what is my favorite joke of all time. Most of you reading this have already heard me say it, but it bears repeating, and luckily, it fits right into the subject:
There’s this jungle explorer. He’s in the Amazon, and he discovers a heretofore unknown tribe. They surround him, spears ready to throw, and he thinks “Oh shit, I am totally screwed.”
Suddenly god speaks to him. “You are naht totally screwed! I want you to pick up that rock and bash the chief’s head in!”
So the explorer picks up a rock and bashes the chief’s head in.
Then god says, “See? NOW you’re totally screwed!”
There’s nothing quite as fun–yet creepy at the same time–as seeing a roomful of “proper English gentlemen” struggling to hold their laughter in. . .
Thought about taking a quick trip to the Petrie Museum of Egyptology, even if they have nothing new since the last time, because part of the collection is kept in the dark–for “preservation” reasons, they claim–and its simply cool to havta use a flashlight {“torch”} to gawk at the goodies, but was too tired and found myself in need of another bacon and egg sandwich. Luckily my fave sandwich shop in all of London was close by.
Also thought about a trip to the Museum of London, but last time the remains of Mithras put a whammy on me; it may have been I was used to the cars on the other side of the road, and looked the wrong way, but c’mon, Mithras was staring at me with such disdain. . .
The weirdest part of the trip was waking up to listen to UCLA volleyball on the internet from Hawaii, which is 10 hours difference. I haven’t done anything with volleyball in the morning since my freshman year of college, when we had practice at 8, but that’s different.
The Brits have this thing called “Late Summer Holiday,” which I wholeheartedly approve of, since the British Museum doesn’t close but apparently everyone else gets the day off. Who needs to commemorate a person or battle or some such? “Hey, let’s have a day off to celebrate that we’ve almost made it through the summer!” Works for me. . .
To my shock, I realized I hadn’t been to the Sherlock Holmes museum in over 10 years, and immediately had to remedy the situation. It wasn’t like I was expecting them to say “Where you been, bro? We’ve missed you!” but I still felt a bit sheepish as I paid up and tried to engage in the time-honored tradition of trying to shout out which story the item in question was in before the guide could point it out. . .
Another place I hadn’t been to in a while is Greenwich, and since my old Royal Navy friend still works at the observatory, and is a stickler for always paying, I met him for lunch, gleeful to take the little skytrain railway which reminds me so much of the one in Vancouver. Poor ol’ Cutty Sark had a fire not long ago, but I’m sure they’re rebuilding it, or maybe already have–I just didn’t want to see it in that condition. As always I instead opted for a tour of the observatory, since this is literally Zero Hour for the world’s clocks, as well as the GPS grid. For a geography geek like me, it’s the Skywalker Ranch, in a way.
Which of course reminds me of a conversation I overheard at a sandwich shop–yes, bacon and egg sandwich! One guy was talking about how his girlfriend was a Star Wars nut and loved to do the voices–and sounds, I guess, for R2D2. Then he said, “She hurt her throat doing Chewbacca and Yoda,” to which his friend replied, “Really? I wouldn’t think Yoda would be that big. . .”
Ah, those naughty Brits. . .
And really, is there any better way to end this than with an oral sex joke?. . .
;o)

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