For those of you who have followed my blog (or at least seen my post from Nice, France), you’ll recognize Tom. Tom is a Welsh guy, he’s 19 years old, and he’s done more with his life already than I ever will. He’s skydived, WWOOFed, been an LGBT rights activist, traveled all over the place, had his poetry published, and if I recall correctly he’s even got a girlfriend. Oh, what my life would have been if I’d done all that by 19.
Anyway, he told me about a LGBT rights protest going down in London and I decided to go be a part of it. Tom was coming down with his friend from wherever he lives a couple hours out and was going to spend a couple days there. Great! The protest’s purpose was to draw attention to the fact that the Commonwealth countries of the UK still hold on to colonial laws that criminalize being gay. Some of these countries even have life inprisonment as a sentence. The Commonwealth leaders were set to hold conference in Sri Lanka, even though this is one of the countries that has an appalling record of anti-LGBT discrimination. It was my first actual protest, and boy was it something else.
We held signs and listened to various people speak about the issue over the megaphone, huddled in front of the Commonwealth headquarters near the intersection of Pall Mall and Malborough Street. We also chanted really loudly, attempting to speak up for the people in these countries that can’t speak out themselves for fear of persecution. It’s not right, I say!
The woman to the left of me in the photograph is a Penn graduate and I’m so mad at myself for leaving without getting her number. Bah!
We got into the news!
And a bunch of other places!
I think everyone should be part of a protest at some point in their lives. I’m all for stuff that makes you feel like part of something larger and more important than yourself. It’s a nice reality check. But also realize that there are people’s lives onthe line. People are being put to death, being imprisoned for their entire lives, being beaten, persecuted, and in general just having a rough go at things because some band of idiots thinks it’s alright to treat them that way (I’m looking at you, speaker of the House John Boehner, and all the crap-heads who went to Russia to spread anti-LGBT legislative ideas, and everyone else in the world who sucks). You’re not there just to experience the movement. You’re there on behalf of everyone in those shitty situations.
I guess that’s also a reason to get up off your butt and actually do something.
It was great meeting people from other countries who are so much better at doing what I try to do. These guys are organized and, with time, we’ll know if it was effective. In the meantime… 2, 4, 6, 8, commonwealth stop the hate!
I was going to meet up with Tom but he had an urgent family matter to attend to so i didn’t get to meet up with him later. SAD, but hoping he’ll come visit the States or I’ll make it back at some point!
I’m not usually one for museums. Museums in America tend to require payment so that you can look at stuff and find information that probably is on Wikipedia for free. The British Museum has changed the way I think about museums.
The British Museum is basically like a university, but instead of teachers, there’s a placard on everything to teach you a little bit about some unfamiliar culture, and instead of drunk students puking on your kitchen floor, there’s crowds of Asian people with unusually large cameras taking photos of everything including the wall and yelling at you to get out of the way.
On my way to the museum I had another one of those moments where I got caught up enjoying something stupidly benign. The sidewalk was lined with leaves and I could smell the autumn in the air (finally!) which is something you can’t smell everywhere in a large city like London. I started jumping around and kicking all the leaves I could because THAT’S WHAT YOU DO WITH LEAVES.
I also ran into whatever this is (supposedly a big tourist attraction) and once again you can literally feel the Christmas! There was a nice skating rink and everything. Okay. Moving on.
I’ll just include a few of the five hundred pictures I took at the museum over the course of a few hours (I’m not exaggerating). I just found everything so fascinating! I LOVE learning! Again I was really sad not to have my brother here, because basically everything in the museum has ties to some form of mythology.
This is me with the FREAKING ROSETTA STONE. I nearly imploded when I saw it. They have a replica in another room that you can TOUCH and you BETTER believe I ran my hands all up and down that bad boy.
That sounded weird.
For those of you who don’t know, I don’t believe in anything spiritual. At all. Period. No ghosts, no monsters, no soul, etc. However, I have an absolute fascination with everything “supernatural” inasmuch as it represents a collection of beliefs that are the product of various people’s human experiences.
A spell circle inscribed on a stone tablet. It’s inscribed with magic symbols, a pentagram (which was originally used for warding off evil spirits, despite most people’s association with the pentagram and witchcraft/Satanism). This was used for conjuring spirits.
This gold egg houses a bezoar, which is a stone dipped in some medicine or some liquid which was ingested to reverse the effects of poison ingested by the user.
This is a drinking horn. People drank alcohol out of them and got drunk.
A stone relief of an Aztec guy and some spirit he conjured by blood-letting using a thorned rope across his tongue.
I freak out whenever I see Chinese script. This is actually old Korean writing using Chinese characters, but since the Japanese have borrowed so many of them I can read the dates and numbers and a few other ones here and there. It’s read from top to bottom, right to left. See the part that says 今日休天人 in the first line? If it were Japanese it would someting like “Today vacation sky-person” or some nonsense, and the part that reads 六月に十七日 in the middle means “February 27th.”
SAMURAI SWORD. 侍の刀❗️
This bill from Zimbabwe for TWENTY-FIVE MILLION Zimbabwe dollars is worth less than the paper it’s printed on. Depressingggg
There are so many other parts of this museum I could cover but instead of writing a book about it, I’ll just tell you all that you have to go. You absolutely have to. If you don’t, you’re losing out on so much cool stuff. Alternatively you could visit all these places yourself and learn about all the different cultures and whatnot at local museums, but this one puts it all conveniently in one place… Did I mention it’s free?