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London or Bust

Since our last post we have been grand tourists. My cousin Rob and his wife Sue took us to Mill Green to see a working water wheel mill and have a picnic lunch.

We also stowed away on his weekly trip to St Albans markets and stayed to see the Roman Museum and ruined amphitheatre. It is a great museum with amazing roman mosaics and other articats found locally. After the mosaics my fav was this stick �Spike found in the kitchen. Used for chasing animals out or toasting bread�.

We have also been into central London several times now and each time are still amazed at the number of things to see. Our first outing was to the British Museum and we went with a walking tour (www.walks.co.uk) to see the highlights of the 13.5 acre sight. And highlights we did see; in two hours we (read: I) were totally exhausted. The covered square upon entry was amazing and gave the whole space a surreal quality. The massive Rosetta stone stood solemnly as tourists swooned about it and the much debated marbles were utterly magnificent. The Sutton Hoo exhibition we visited towards the pooped end of the tour so we were more tired than awed though it will defiantly be worth revisiting some time. I think this excellent museum will be the venue for spending many rainy weekends (once we are settled).

We were to cook for our hosts so we went to China Town: the home of the most expensive oyster sauce EVER! At �3 per 500ml I will be requesting that all whom 'doss' on our couch (when we get one) must bring some with them to contribute to the larder. 😉

When Phil was doing his intro to England session (where they give your a bank account, phone card and tax advice etc) I wandered along Oxford Street and around Soho generally admiring anything and everything. Really nice to wander but watch out, the later in the afternoon it is, the fuller with tourists the streets become.

We also spend a day at the Natural History Museum. I had started the day thinking we could fit both the Natural History Museum and the Science museum into the one day. How wrong I was! In the morning we took in most of the exhibitions (or so I thought) but had actually missed a whole half (earth science) which we went though after lunch. The gem sections was fabulous, as was the terracotta tiles which had 3 dimensional monkeys climbing the walls and birds as if landed on columns. In fact every facet of the original building contained some life form frozen in time. Dinosaurs and leopards guard windows and snakes decorate walls. The wild life section was a taxidermists orgy of which the most gruesome was the full wall of humming birds caught as if in mid hum.

Speaking of gruesome and fabulous; at lunch we went to Harrods, just down the road. It is no wonder that this place is an attraction in itself. The food halls(s) were amazing as were the general prices… (we saw a belt just hanging on a display and the price was �285!) The most bizarre sight was the dead fish sculpture/fountain where actual fish had been skewered and manipulated in to the most morbid fountain.

Closely followed by the bug section which displayed such things as Giant Hornet Honey and chilli silk worms.

Yesterday we went to London Tower (£12 pounds with student discount *ouch*) to see the crown jewels. It�s much more impressive than you think it would be. We also went on the 'free' beef eater tour. Lead by Yeomen whom live in the walls of the compound and have to have served in the armed forced for over 22 years before even being considered for selection. Our Yeoman was hilarious and told us tales of gore and intrigue. The chapel was the highlight (apart for the crown jewels) as all the headless bodies of those executed where buried under it. They excavated the chapels during Queen Victoria's reign and found over 1000 bodies even though officially only 300 were executed. Its more amazing when you see the actual size of the chapel which is tiny.

The worst thing was that our camera battery expired on us early on in the day so we have very few pictures.

Job interview on Tuesday. Wish me luck.

Comments

Comment from Callina
Time: April 28, 2006, 4:27 pm

Khanh, how did you get all your tax back when you leftthe uk?

Comment from Phil
Time: April 28, 2006, 5:41 pm

[img]http://www.eclectical.org/crap/philsmile.jpg[/img]
[b]Phil likes london![/b] 🙂

[img]http://www.eclectical.org/crap/calsmile.jpg[/img]
[b]Callina likes london![/b] 🙂

[img]http://www.eclectical.org/crap/dinosmile.jpg[/img]
[b]Mr Diplodocous likes london![/b] 🙂

As Mendel so succinctly put it when we met with him for lunch the other day, London is like Sydney x10, and from what we've seen in our week of exhausting tourism that Cal mentioned, he's right on the money. This place is [b]immense[/b], and it kicks ass. We've spent a week of doing the 9 to 5 tourist thing, and we've barely scratched the surface, there's just that much to do. The only reason we actually finished the natural history museum was through sheer force of will. We were dead on our feat, but determined to actually see things through.

Cal said a few entries ago that I wasn't interested in gardens and architecture. This is pretty much true. London however has been utterly fantastic in this respect for me. The natural history museum had dinosaur displays and stuff which catered to me at age 8 (I was absolutely mad on Dinosaurs. My parents can attest to this), and the tower of london included stories on grisly murders and beheadings. Then there was the amazing indoor square of the British Museum which was eerily white and reminded me totally of the heaven scene from [i]Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey[/i]. Station! What more could a guy want?

Of course, what update from me would be complete without a couple of anecdotes. Probably the most unfortunate of these from our respect was Cal and I's conversation with Mendel about where we were going to stay. Earlier that day we'd wandered around, trying to get a feel from areas we might like to live in. Mendel asked if there was anything we liked, and we replied that we'd like to live in Soho. Cue blank stare from Mendel. Following that he began laughing and said that we'd have to sell our bodies and even then we might not be able to afford a place there. Since then he's mentioned our naivety to others which has produced a great chuckle from them. Thanks for that dude.

I think I had something else to write, but I can't remember what it was, so I'll skip onto the….

[b]Craziest thing I saw today![/b]
[img]http://www.eclectical.org/crap/twowangs.jpg[/img]
My new favourite Dinosaur. He must've been popular with the ladies. 😛

Comment from K
Time: April 29, 2006, 2:10 am

Hey guys! Glad you're enjoying london! Wouldn't we all love to live in Soho! I think Phil would have more of a chance dossing with someone than cal would in soho (not to stereotype or anything).

Cal, I didnt get it all back…but I just filled in a P85 (I think that was the form) and sent it to inland revenue. Good luck with the job interview!

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