Day #3: Hello, Goodbye

Too much art is like a sugar rush, I get too high and feel the crash later. I need space between experiences to reflect and will never be a good tourist because of this. I think this is this express reason for why I hate Disneyland. It’s never head down and go in for one day and then rest, it used to be a three or four day extravaganza of castles, robots, and lollipops. My flip flops would have by day four rubbed off the fleshy pads of my feet and sores would begin forming. I would try to remove the flip flops and walk barefoot, but the hot paths would make it worse and my mom would constantly say, “you don’t know where that sidewalk’s been,” which I never understood because the sidewalk hadn’t moved anywhere had it? It was always just a little too much Mickey or Minnie and not enough pool at the hotel. Yeah, I loved Space Mountain, but I didn’t love the line that led to the mountain or getting on it ten times in a row.
Art is the same way for me, it can be too much of a good thing, but it is something I will never hate.
Yesterday was one of those days that wore me down both physically and emotionally. It all started with a wake up “bam” feet on the floor from one of the top bunk hostelers. It was 8 am, not early, but hard on a girl that climbed in bed at 3 in the morning in a drunk stupor after a long plane flight. I contemplated waiting it out, the rifling through bags, the in and outs, the whispers so that I could go back to sleep, but then suddenly remembered that I had made plans to go to the British Museum with two other hostelers.
I realized that I shouldn’t say yes to anything while drunk and have made it a promise that I will only say no or maybe in the future so that I can avoid obligations such as this.
Walking down to the kitchen was terrible for me because I ran into everyone from the previous nights pub crawl and had absolutely nothing to say but a nod, which for me meant “good morning, lovely to see you so f’ng early. Gimme food or I will eat you alive.” I have a feeling they instead took my nod and look as I will eat you if you talk to me, which may have in reality been the truth. Unfortunately, there were no gluten free items in the kitchen and so I had to head out to the market for anything to keep me alive.
At ten I met up with Peter and Rhinehold anticipating a lengthy walk to the museum, only to find out it is literally across the street from my hostel. Perhaps I’m oblivious, but I like to think that my eyes are just bad. Just the façade of the museum is magnificent lined with columns and stone stairs where tourists would one by one stop for photographs, always giggling and fuzzing up pictures with their movement.
The domed skylight ceiling is the most striking part of the museum as I walk in and I know this will be an amazing visit. The three of us attempt to decide on a place to start, but with 95 gallery rooms this proves challenging and I head to the gallery I am mostly likely to worry over dead spirits entering my body… the Egyptian exhibit.
Glass cases are lined with scarab jewelry and sarcophagi. I am entranced. I have always been enamored with Ancient Egypt. I am reminded of my first “long” story I wrote as a child for Riri and Raleigh as a Christmas gift. It told the story of a young girl gone to Egypt to excavate the pyramids, but she is cursed and must find a way to run or else she will be struck dead of something mysterious. Okay, fine, it wasn’t an original plot, but I was eleven and wanted to be an archeologist but feared the inevitable curse of the mummy. The story itself was quite terrible, but I was proud and Riri and Raleigh pretended to be as well. What child didn’t fear mummies? Dead bodies wrapped in linen is on par with a haunting by Rush Limbaugh. I was terrified that just thinking about grave robbing might make me susceptible to death by wrapping strangulation. I was a frightened and nervous child, thus the reason I have not ended up in a profession such as archeology. Death would become me.
This section took up all of my time at the museum before heading for our meeting point. However, Peter never showed up and I took on the city with Rhinehold. Rhinehold is a young German getting his Chemistry and English teaching degrees in Switzerland. He is nice, but we are not a good pair for hanging out because we both are interminably shy (okay, I realize some of you out there may not believe that about me, but seriously, I am shy – just not when I’m drunk).
I am useless when it comes to figuring out where to go, so with Rhinhold’s map and a sunny outlook we headed what I believe is south, walking the streets and eventually bumping into St. Paul’s Cathedral. I have no words to describe this place but breathtaking. Gold encrusted mural scenes and filled almost the entirety of the cathedral. There was a crypt below and almost 500 steps above an overlook to the city. We decided we should go to the top. Everyday since I have been here has been sunny and the city looks endless and agreeable in the light. Truly I could feel the presence of God here.
St. Paul’s left my legs shaky from the stairs and my stomach empty, so I went for my first meal out in London, though it wasn’t really out. We decided to go to the Tate Modern café where I ordered roasted chicken with braised spinach. I’m not sure if I was just really hungry or if it really was the best meal I’ve had in months. It was likely a combination of both. As far as I know, I would recommend this place if you’re at or near Tate Modern.
Afterwards it was time for more art. I headed towards Poetry and Dream, while Rhinehold headed off to his art of choice. I found myself surrounded by surrealist musings as I entered the gallery. Foulcault’s words circled with black ink in one room while stuffed birds pierced with arrows above a cityscape contend with imaginative reality in another. I enjoy much of the exhibit, but am too exhausted to really commit to feeling anything and so I leave to write. My mind enjoys time off and wonders on how to find an instrument around a city of this size.
At this point I’m so exhausted that I wait for my meeting time with Rhinehold and hope that our walk back will not be desperately awkward. Our conversation that was already sparse could not get any better with both of us having little sleep and being sick. The walk back was quiet, but I enjoyed hearing the city. I love to hear big cities and sometimes smell them too. It seems to me that the city right now smells like one big whiff of cologne, as if every guy here owns the exact same cologne and nothing else. Before I leave, I will find out what this is because I want to spray a page of my journal to remember it with.
At the hostel we parted with few words and never really said goodbye, but I think that’s the way things should be. I don’t want this trip to be like camp when I was younger, crying over friends I only knew for one week. “Oh, but I’ll miss you so!” “I will visit!” “I will write!” Then… nothing. I don’t want this trip to turn into one goodbye after another, so instead I will just take photos and write about them.
It was a good day. It was a very good day.
Oh… and I bought a purple ukulele. The end.

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One thought on “Day #3: Hello, Goodbye

  1. November 16, 1944I went on my first mission today. Our target was Duren this side of the Rhine. It was a large raid to help out the front line troops. We carried all types of bombs. There was light flak not too close, though, but I was watching it with my eagle eye and wondering if we would get hit. Coming back to the base the weather closed in, so we landed at a R.A.F. base, Boscome Downs. We spent two days at a U.S. infantry base there in the fog with a visibility minus 10. Wandered around in our flying clothes.November 20, 1944We took off on a mission to the Ruhr this morning, but the clouds were too high at the Rhine, so we came back.November 21, 1944This is the day we found out what combat means. Perhaps we weren’t veterans enough to know it, or I guess we would have sweat blood. Merseburg was our target, considered the toughest in the E.T. O. I slept or dozed until we hit the border. About 10 minutes before the I.P. flak started bursting around us – big and thick. Sitting at the left-waist as I usually sat, ducking behind my morale-building armor-plating. Suddenly the plane rose sharply with the sound that I later became used to – metal slapping metal. Morganelle’s parachute lying in front of me jumped, and a hole appeared where it had been. About a minute later flak hit no. 3 engine. We didn’t know how bad at the time. The oil pouring out of it froze, making it look jagged as if the whole cylinder had been torn off. Smoke filled the plane, and I could just feel myself floating down through the clouds. I wondered how one feels to die.November 22 to 24 1944On a pass in London.

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