Monday, March 15, 2010

GB @ the BM in GB

I know I've been remiss in keeping everyone up-to-date with my many adventures, but it's been hard for me to get a Certain Someone (see my bear paws making imaginary quotation marks in the air) to maintain my blog these last few weeks - for that reason, I've just rolled up my shirt sleeves (not really - I don't wear shirts much any more) and I'm blogging myself. Now, if you look at the photo (left), you'll see me and a very blurry but awfully famous landmark. Where am I? - yup! - that's me in front of Big Ben, so I must be in London!

At the end of January, on our way back to Turkey from Spain, I managed to squeak in a bit of a layover in Great Britain. My bipedal attendants and I took the train into "the City" for the day. We were pretty lucky, what with the deep freeze and all the snow dumped on Britain over the holidays (well, a Canadian bear might have said "dusted" Britain) because the weather was quite fine while we were there - although cold enough that a Certain Someone (see my bear paws still making imaginary quotation marks in the air) complained. A lot.

So: London in 24 hours! We started at the British Museum - known as the BM by those in the know (hence the title for this blog posting) but I don't really like calling it that anymore because my male bipedal kept sniggering (BM = bowel movement) like an 8-year old every time I said BM. Some people just need to grow up. After 250 some-years, I think the BM demands a little respect. Between Her and Him, I bet there's a lot of grey bear-hair under my grey flannel.

Anyway, I saw lots of amazing things there, including mummified cats from Egypt (phew - no bears at least!), the colossal statue of Ramses the Great, the Rosetta stone (which Champollion used to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs), the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World!), the Portland Vase, alabaster reliefs from Nineveh, Hoa Hakananai'a - that big statue of a staring fellow - from Easter Island, the 7th C Anglo-Saxon Sutton Hoo treasure, and of course, the Elgin (or Parthenon) Marbles.

my International Incident in Athens, I was pleased that the highly professional security team at the BM had no problem with me having my photo snapped in front of the Marbles. I know that Athens really really wants these reliefs back (they once graced the Parthenon) - after all, they were sort of stolen by Lord Elgin around 200 years ago. In fact, the BM is full of lots of priceless treasures (like the Rosetta Stone) whose countries of origin understandably want back. In this case I'm inclined to see the Elgin Marbles just stay put in London. I guess I'm just being spiteful which, I know, doesn't suit me very well - being a Freelance Goodwill Ambassador and all. Still ...

Goodness! There was so much to see at the BM - and we did see a lot - that I can barely (bear-ly!) remember everything. We were there for hours and hours, and naturally - after all of that walking and all of that culture - the bipedals started whining to beat the band. To shut them up - and in spite of the fact that I really wasn't ready to leave - I generously suggested that we pop across the street for a traditional English lunch (which naturally included a pint) at the Museum Tavern.

Being a vegetarian bear, I couldn't have the fish & chips - which really does seem to be a when-in-Rome thing to do (or a when-in-London thing to do) - but the staff there whipped up a vegetarian alternative for me: haloumi & chips. Haloumi is a goat and sheep's milk cheese from Cyprus and can be battered and deep-fried because it has a high resistance to melting. I won't say that it tasted 100% like fish, but with the beer batter (and the pints of Old Peculiar) it was pretty close.

The pub has been around forever (although it's current state dates to 1755) but from the 1600's, it was known as the Dog & Duck. Too bad it wasn't the Bear & Duck - or the Dog & Bear. Mind you, bear baiting was wildly popular in so-called Jolly Olde England (Henry VIII was reportedly a huge fan) and one account left by Robert Dudley (a "favourite" of Queen Elizabeth I) says that "... it was a sport very pleasant, of these beasts, to see the bear with his pink eyes leering after his enemies approach ..." Honestly - you call us animals? You humans are so barbaric! Maybe it's just as well that we leave my fore-bears alone.

I think that's all I can manage for now - my bear paws are getting a bit sore and if I make a habit of typing out my own blogs then I'll be paying you-know-who to do absolutely nothing at all. It's not that I'm not without compassion, but I think it's time a Certain Someone (see my very sore bear paws still making imaginary quotation marks in the air) learns the dignity of work.



Snowflake said...

GB, I didn't remember that you had gone to London. One of my favorite cities! I wish I had been there with you. "I" would have typed for you - gratis!

Grey Bear said...

Thanks for offering to be my typist Snowflake! - I wish "other people" had your attitude.

Maybe we can meet in Dubai???

Snowflake said...

I'm workin' on it! Keep your paws crossed...

Grey Bear said...

Paws crossed!