Tuesday, June 13, 2017

London Dubai 2017 - 3

With Google Map on hand, we set off for the British Museum.  Somehow I always have a problem with Google Map.  It always gives me some strange way to get to my destination.  In this case, it pointed me to a bus stop that we couldn't find.  We got to the exact spot shown on the map with the GPS, no bus stop in sight.

As we were trying to figure out our next step at the side of a street, a guy offered us help.  He said he is an Italian student in London, and told us that the British Museum is just nearby and he could show us the way there.  Then he took my map and walked into a side alley.  He seemed a bit unusually friendly and enthusiastic, and he walked into a side alley!  Alert! Alert!  I looked around, although it was a side alley, there were still quite a lot of pedestrian traffic.  Many student looking people walking past, as it is near University College London.  I took the plunge and walked into the side alley too.  I asked him to point out where we were and that would be sufficient, and we could go to the British Museum without troubling him.  He had a bit of trouble in pointing out where we were on my map, so he took out his map, and spread it out on a wall.

Just as the three of us were looking at the map, two men suddenly appeared behind us.  They showed us some kind of ID, which look like Singapore pink IC and said something.  I didn't hear it clearly but something to the effect of they were police.  I couldn't remember where I read about fake police asking tourists to show their passports and then extort money from them.  Problem is, I couldn't remember whether it was in UK!  Anyway, it was better to leave as soon as possible.  My friend and I were in a cornered position.  They guys seemed to targeting the "Italian student", asked him to turn around and hands on the wall.  They asked whether we were together with the Italian, I gave them a very firm answer of "NO", then I quickly walked away, with my friend followed immediately.  Lucky the two guys didn't chase after us.  Until now, I am still not sure what the situation actually was.  A few days later, as I walked past a money changer, there was a notice on the wall warning people about fake police officers.  Well, moral of the story:  never talk to strangers!

After this freak encounter, we quickly found a bus stop and got to the British Museum.

The British Museum is free!  As it is free, but the museum still needs money to maintain and improve, so you are advised to make a donation of £5.00 or buy something.  I bought a museum map which cost £2.00.

The museum is huge.  Guess what, we spent 3 hours there, without visiting the African section, and the Asian section closed for renovation.  We only quickly walked past most of the galleries without taking a closer look, so you can imagine how big it is.

The museum map has recommendations for some iconic treasures that you should see if you are short of time.  I have come up with my own version of recommendations.

Rosetta Stone

1. The Rosetta Stone

This is one single most important stone in history.   The same decree was inscribed on the stone in 3 different "languages" - Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script and Demotic script and Ancient Greek.  It is with the knowledge from this stone that we are not able to decipher the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

2. Rock Crystal Skull

Rock Crystal Skull

This crystal skull had appeared in some documentaries before which made it world famous.  It was previously believed to be from Aztech kingdom in South America, but now they claimed this actually came from Europe.  How did they come to this new conclusion?  I don't know.  I think most probably we will never know where it is from, now and future.

3. The Enlightenment Gallery

This gallery shows how people eagerly tried to know more about the world we live in.  From navigation to biology, to astrology, to many many new fields that had never been heard before the era of enlightenment.

The Asian gallery is said to have many Chinese treasures which you can't find elsewhere in the world, but unfortunately it was closed for months.  No idea when it will be open to the visitors again.
The museum also has a very large collection of Egyptian mummies and ancient Greek art pieces.

If you are planning your visit, it is more advisable to have a few visits with a few hours each.  Their collection is simply too large to just take a glance in a day.

So much for today.  Until my next post, bye...

No comments:

Post a Comment