Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Entries Tagged as '2010 Melissa'

Burnham Market

November 18th, 2010 · No Comments

See Burnham Market for photos from our presentation.

A short summary of our presentation:

How to Get there: 25/35 Bus to Norwich Railway; Norwich to Sheringham or Kings Lynn; Coast Hopper Bus to the Burnham Market stop

About the population: People who live here are in a higher socioeconomic bracket. Named cottages, private businesses, and expensive prices denote richer clientel. Known also as Chelsea-on-sea, the area is a popular place for seasonal homes.

To Do: Shopping, boating, musical events, Holkham Estate Tour, Bygone museum, beach. Most of the area’s attractions are dictated by tourism or summer events.

History: Named for it’s proximity to the river Burn, the town is a culmination of three smaller villages. It’s most famous resident is Horatio Nelson.

Shopping: Shops in Burnham Market are all independent merchants with relatively expensive pricing including a butcher, a baker, several independent clothing stores, a vintage shop, cafes, and several art galleries. Most stores boast locally procuded goods and handmade items. The one chain store in the main shopping area, Jack Mills, sold preppy, fairly expensive clothing as well, but targeted a slightly younger consumer.

Image: Ivy creepers, calculatedly careless shop designs (i.e. the inside of the post office), and hand painted signs creating the image of a quaint, old time village. Clerks gave customers individualized attention and boast hand made items to create a more personalized appearance. The Jack Wills emblem, a duck with a top hat and cane above the words “Fabulously British” exemplifies the image of Britishness that Burnham Market illicts, the duck appealing to a good humored, modern crowd, and the top hat and cane hearken back to moneyed and aristocratic roots.

For more information about Burnham Market http://www.burnhammarket.co.uk/

Tags: 2010 Jesse · 2010 Luke · 2010 Melissa

My Bit on Theater

September 21st, 2010 · Comments Off on My Bit on Theater

One thing that I appreciate about London is the accessibility to see theater without creating a dent in your pocket. Seeing shows on Broadway are the complete opposite, hence the reason why I’ve only been to a couple of Broadway shows although, my money has always been well spent. In London I haven’t spend more than thirty pounds to see a production, not to say that they’ve all blown me away. Les Miserables was my favorite and was similar to the style of production that I am used to seeing. Performance wise, everything was spot on- the acting, costumes, set, music, the list goes on. It took real skill for the actors to maneuver the rotating stage, which I’ve never seen before. The most unique experience for me would have to be at The Globe Theater seeing The Merry Wives of Windsor. Never in my life would I opt to standing for three hours to watch a play, except for in London of course. I’m not a fan of Shakespeare but I had some good laughs. The cast was very talented, and the transitions between scenes were very creative. I would say most of us liked the production, even though we all despised Professor Qualls for making us stand.


The funniest play would be The 39 Steps, in which there was never a dull moment. What I really loved about this play was their creativity and enthusiasm. This four- member cast created magic on stage, and engaged the entire audience. With limited crew and crops, they really encouraged viewers to use their imagination. While glancing at the audience during intermissions, I couldn’t help but notice how homogenous the crowds each play attracted. Being located in the West End could have been a reason for the very white audiences, however it’s not like ticket prices prevent anyone else from being able to see a show every now and then. Is theater going only prominent in white culture?  I also wonder if there is such a thing as the same show being better in the West End than it is on Broadway.  Somehow, I just can’t see it happening that way, probably vice versa (statement could also be very biased).  If its one thing, I wish I did set aside more of my time in London to see more theater.  I know this is something that I won’t to do when I get back to New York.  I find it ridiculous that now movie tickets are over twelve dollars each, which is the equivalent to a fifteen pound ticket to a play.  It is so unfair that Londoners have this choice!  I do hope to come back to London a couple times before my stay is over to further immerse myself in theater culture.

Tags: 2010 Melissa · Uncategorized

I’ve Never Seen a Messy Museum Before

September 21st, 2010 · 1 Comment

                I’m not much of a history freak, but I think museums are amazing. They serve as a unique interactive learning experience allowing us to actually see and absorb things that we wouldn’t obtain through a textbook or classroom lecture. Seeing artifacts and paintings brings history to life, and this method of learning is preferable by some people and especially for young children for the hands- on experience. It is really cool to be able to walk into a museum, and in London’s case for free, and see something that existed millions of years ago. I’ve always admired to determination of historians to seek the unknown, and figure out when and why something happened, and to openly share this information with the public.
               One of my favorite museum trips was earlier on in the month when we visited the Museum of London. I always knew about the Romans, and read about the founding of London and Britain as an empire, but actually physically seeing everything connected all of the random pieces of information in my head. I enjoyed learning about early Roman life, and realizing that we learned cleanliness from them. The women made hair combs, nail clippers, and even tweezers that so closely resemble the beauty essentials women use today. I loved that each floor uncovered different eras of London’s history, which included industrialization, political and social movements, and even fashion.

                                                                                           (Roman beauty essentials)

               Another one of my favorite museums was the Victoria and Albert museum. Many students disliked this museum the most because it was too hard to navigate, but I actually appreciated the arbitrariness. I was so bored of visiting museums that solely displayed the rich white royalty of England, that is was nice to have a change with something that was completely informal and unplanned. Stumbling room by room through this organized chaos, I realized you could find just about anything in this museum. I was able to admire the fashion styles of Grace Kelly and to jealously look at centuries worth of jewelry worn by generations of rich people.

            There were artifacts and sculptures thrown everywhere, it was like a giant garage sale. In the section with mosaics and paintings, we found a mosaic of Rome by Antonio Testa that took him twenty years to complete. This museum was filled with thousands of artifacts, my only question is where did they get all of this stuff from? I was trying to think of a coherent way that they could have organized everything, but honestly it would be impossible. So whether the designer just gave up on figuring out a floor plan, or intended it to be this way, I really enjoyed it.

Tags: 2010 Melissa · Uncategorized

Green is my Favorite Colour

September 21st, 2010 · No Comments


     Whenever I see green it makes me so happy.  I guess it has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up in really big city, so I didn’t get to see green on a regular basis.  In Brooklyn, a park consists of a playground set, and a basketball court.  You might get the occasional tennis or handball court, but as far as endless acres of green land…dream on! I would have never expected London to have so much green area being a highly developed, bustling city…but I was so wrong.  London is so beautiful, which is another reason why I love it here.  There is a balance between man made and nature, and while it is nice to live the city life, it is also necessary to get away sometimes and just take a stroll in the park, and not just Central Park (angry New Yorker), but have a variety of great parks to chose from.  Not only are the parks beautiful, they are also so clean and well maintained!  You can tell that residents respect the parks here and abide by the rules of sanitation.  There are even “dog waste only” rubbish bins scattered around the parks, something that is definitely needed back in the states.


My favorite park would have to be Regents Park.  In addition to its endless seas of green, I really loved the Queen’s Rose Garden.  I don’t understand why flowers make girls so happy, but they give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside that I can’t explain (LOL).  Sarah and I lost all concept of time as we wondered through the garden, mesmerized by roses of all different colors, shapes, and sizes.  There was also a pond, and a waterfall, and couples smooching everywhere, which made us gag, but I guess one would say that the garden set the scene for a romantic getaway.  Other than the rat that we saw running through the flowerbeds, it was perfect.  It was great to see a very diverse crowd enjoying the afternoon in the park.  I saw all races, and ages, laying in the grass, playing games, or just strolling along the walkway.  I guess enjoying the afternoon in a park, surrounded by green, is something that almost everyone shares in common.  If you don’t like parks, then I guess your just weird. 

Tags: 2010 Melissa

Is This Really a Church?

September 21st, 2010 · No Comments

               I’ve really enjoyed the religion component to this course.  Although I don’t believe in organized religion, I’ve never dismissed knowledge about other religious customs and beliefs.  However, when visiting famous sites like The Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral, which do attract large masses of tourists, I felt as if I was in a museum rather than a place of worship. Westminster Abbey did have the occasional moments of silence for visitors to remember that it was a religious establishment, however I still didn’t really feel the connection.  While I do understand that of course, these beautifully crafted structures are world renowned, if I was religious I would feel a little uncomfortable with a church being more of an attraction than anything else.  Visiting St. Paul’s and Westminster did not provide me with any religious education however, when I visited Bath Abbey they did hand out pamphlets that highlighted the importance of God in our lives and bible scriptures, which I appreciated and thought that the other establishments could have done the same.

            My favorite visits were to the Hindu mandir and the Islamic mosque because I really gained valuable knowledge.  Although the mandir also seemed like a tourist attraction, in addition to showing off the intricate details of their temple, they also made efforts to teach the public about their beliefs with providing the exhibition on Hinduism. The mosque wasn’t touristy, but our guide was helpful in explaining his religion and did his best to make connections between what we already knew and contrasted his views to some of our own religions.  What I enjoyed hearing about the most was how involved these establishments were in their communities.  I think it is great that they participate with people of other faith to reach out and service the community. The mosque’s involvement in TELCO (The East London Communities Organization), which has a commitment to “working together for common good and changing the way politics happen in London”, was one of the many ways that they contributed to their neighborhood.

                 I found the guide of the mosque to be the most interesting out of all of our visits because he shared something that I have never a representative of any religion say; he admitted that his people suffered from a lack of knowledge about other people’s faith.  He shared that there are some people who think they know all there is to know and don’t seek additional knowledge and in his opinion this contributes greatly to the barrier between the Islamic people and the rest of the world.  His honesty was admirable and I strongly agreed with him.  Something as small as seeking basic understanding of other peoples and religions really can go as far as changing the world one day.

Tags: 2010 Melissa

You Can Find Me in the Pub, Bottle Full of Bub…

September 20th, 2010 · 3 Comments

              When I first got here, I didn’t really understand why Englanders were so big on pubs. All you do is stand around and drink, and then by the time you get tipsy, the last round bell rings and then what? Do you go home? Do you go to another pub? Do you go to a club to party? I guess because of the fact that in the NYC nights out with friends don’t end until about five the next morning, being kicked out of a pub at 11PM to go home and go to sleep felt a little weird and incomplete. It was also strange because I would never eat and drink at the same time. Pub food was surprisingly really tasty to me, especially hot wings and chips.
             I agree with George Orwell when he says that the “atmosphere” of a pub is what appeals to people the most. I’ve never been much of a bar type of girl back in the states, but I’ve definitely learned to appreciate and quite enjoy going to pubs once in a while. Generally, a pub that I decide to go to on a particular night varies with my mood and the atmosphere of the club. The three pubs in our area that I most frequently visit are The Marlborough Arms, The Court, and The Rising and they all have three entirely different atmospheres. The Marlborough Arms is fairly quiet compared to the other two, and fosters a mixed crowd in terms of age. In my opinion, the Marlborough has the best tasting pub food and the best service out of all three (their service isn’t even that great, so you can imagine that of the other two). If I am seeking a simple evening out with some friends to have food over a pint or a pitcher of Pimms, then Marlborough is the place for me. I love that fact that it isn’t rowdy and crowded and every time that I’ve walked in I was able to find a table, and kick back and relax without having to scream over other people’s voices and loud music. I actually also really enjoy the completely random music selection at the Marlborough. Rachel, Jamie and Jesse and I really enjoyed having dinner the other night while singing along to “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child (click song title for lyrics and then imagine us singing along haha)

                The Court and The Rising Sun slightly different. The Court caters to a younger audience but I am always stuck having to push my way through throngs of people just to get a drink. I’ve never had the food there, but from Sarah’s love of their Cheddar and Bacon fries I guess it’s pretty good. The Court has an upstairs component, which can make a night out with some friends a bit more personal, but you still have to scream over the extremely loud, but entertaining music selection. The Rising Sun also attracts an older audience and is always jammed packed every time I’ve gone there. The service sucks, the food isn’t that great, and the music is okay. So I guess The Rising Sun is my last resort if I’m looking for a pint and nowhere else is open.
             Overall, my pub experience has been a good one. I’ve never had any types of altercations with anyone. There was this one time when I asked the waiter for a take away container for some wings that I didn’t finish and when she told me that they didn’t have take away containers I gave her the “what do you mean you don’t have take away containers” look and she probably got offended. Then I realized that it is a pub, not a restaurant, and that people usually finish their food at a pub. Yes, I felt really stupid afterwards, but the waiter smiled and wished me a good night when we were leaving, so I guess it was all good.

Tags: 2010 Melissa

To EAT or Not to Eat…

September 12th, 2010 · 6 Comments

              I’ve always been a moderately healthy eater. I try to stay clear of junk and fast food as much as possible. However, leading a healthy lifestyle can put quite a dent in your pockets in the states, especially if you don’t have the time to cook. This is the exact reason why so many people in the U.S. don’t eat as healthy as they should, especially in big cities and urban communities. In a fast pace environment, convenience plays a big role in deciding what to eat for lunch; basically whatever is prepared to grab and go. For example, this summer I worked on Fifth Avenue in New York City, which is always bustling with people no matter what day of the week it is. The allotted time for my lunch period ranged from thirty to forty five minutes, which sounds like a decent amount of time but by the time I made my way through the swarms of people on the streets, waited in line and ordered my food, and then hustled back to the break room, I barely had fifteen minutes left to actually eat my lunch. For the first couple of weeks, I would get lunch from PAX Wholesome Foods, which serves healthy sandwiches, drinks and other snacks. A small sandwich would run me about seven to eight dollars, and then I would have to buy a drink and sometimes fruit. I would end up spending around thirteen to fourteen dollars and would end up being not being completely satisfied taste-wise and hungry again in an hour or two. Once I began to calculate how much money I was spending on food, plus transportation to work all week, I realized I was spending almost half of a weeks’ paycheck. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do anything about the price of transportation, so I had to cut down on how much I was spending on food, which led to the occasional trips to McDonalds (yuck!).

              Once in England, it wasn’t as difficult to eat healthy on the go. I have never consumed so many sandwiches in the course of two weeks. There are a number of healthy outlets scattered throughout London. A couple of us have designated the chain EAT: The Real Food Company, as our favorite lunch spot. EAT would be the slight equivalent to the PAX chain that I mentioned before, except richer in variety and quality, and more accessible with locations everywhere! Dedicated to fresh food, all of EAT’s sandwiches are handmade daily and baguettes are baked every morning, which PAX didn’t do.  The sandwiches vary between 3 to 5 pounds, depending on content, and taste really good! It would be impossible to find a place in NYC that freshly prepared food daily and was this affordable.  Planet Organic is also another venue that has captured my heart and taste buds. It’s quick, affordable and sooo delicious (it deserves the extra o’s). My favorite lunch, which is a filling serving of their mixed vegetable soup with complementary bread and butter and a 1.5L of water and sometimes a blueberry muffin, runs me less than five pounds. I’ve never been supermarket shopping, but from what I’ve heard there are also healthy and reasonably priced items as well. I feel that here in London the money that I spend on food goes a much longer way than it does back in New York. I am able to eat right and still have money left for dessert!

Tags: 2010 Melissa · Uncategorized

Not Completely Dissatisfied

September 6th, 2010 · No Comments

Yes- I guess we unanimously agree that the National Portrait Gallery was filled with portraits of the white and wealthy. There were no representations of middle or lower class, or any people of color, which didn’t come as a surprise to me. If you weren’t royalty or didn’t have a consistent money flow, you most definitely had no chance of getting your portrait done; hence no people of color. I was however pleasantly surprised with the amount of portraits of women- I expected it to be much less. There were a number of beautifully depicted portraits of women in intricately designed gowns that probably made every woman wonder what it would be like to have been in their shoes. As I began to take a closer look at each woman’s face, I noticed a similar characteristic; a majority of them were extremely pale and emotionless. After a while, I began to realize they all had to same face and the only things that differed were the color of the background, hairstyle, and attire.
As I was just about getting fed up with seeing identical miserable portraits, I came across a portrait of Mary Moser by George Romney in 1770  


(Taken from the National Portrait Gallery)

Mary was an English painter and one of the most celebrated women artists. Very popular in the 18h century, Mary was known for her depictions of flowers and had been recognized as an artist since the young age of 14. I was thrilled to see a woman who was an individual and tapped into her own talent to make a living, instead of sitting upon hereditary wealth. Romney did an excellent job in captivating Mary doing what she loved while expressing the happy look upon her face. So in the end, I didn’t walk out of the National Portrait Gallery completely disappointed as I envisioned.

Tags: 2010 Melissa · Uncategorized

Mom, There Really are Jamaicans in London!

September 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

My experience at the Notting Hill Carnival was truly unforgettable.  I had always heard great things about this event, but I would have never expected to feel so “at home” in London.  Anxious and totally in my element, I was ready to tackle the crowds of thousands of people and celebrate my culture. There was sunlight, upbeat music, aromas of spices and charred grills, and a different dance party on every other block- I was in heaven!  It didn’t take me too long to realize that this culture didn’t only pertain to me or the people that were recognizably Caribbean, but also the people who’s appearances were far from it.  While standing next to an middle aged white man, who had a Red Stripe in hand and belted out more reggae lyrics than I knew, I realized the culture of London was very different than that of New York. 


In Brooklyn, New York, there is also a festival held annually to celebrate the culture of the Caribbean that my family and I attend every year.  Taking place on Labor Day weekend informally titled “The West Indian Labor Day Parade’, it is a day filled with great music, food, and beautifully embellished costumes- just like the celebration at Notting Hill. (http://www.carnaval.com/cityguides/newyork/ny_carn.htm) Armed policemen are scattered on each block ensuring safety amongst the very homogenous crowd that this carnival attracts.  Located in one of the better communities in Brooklyn, populated by a moderate amount of white people, I can count on two hands the amount of white people that I have seen at the carnival in the last couple of years.  This is why I was pleasantly surprised at the dynamics of the multitude at Notting Hill.  I grant that the inclusion of alcohol could have played a major part in brining so many different people together but, I strongly believe that that couldn’t have possibly been the only commonality between millions of people.  I witnessed people actually enjoying themselves; whether it was drinking, standing on outrageously long ques for food, bopping and singing along to the music, and even dancing in the streets.  It puts a smile on my face to know that there are people other than Caribbeans that have a keen interest in our culture; something that I haven’t seen in New York, or in any of the US thus far.



Despite taking forty-five minutes to escape the crowds and find an operating train station, I had a delightful time.  Seeing people of all different races, cultures and ages come together and enjoy eachother’s company was like a breath of fresh air, and gave me some type of hope for humanity- even if there were one too many Rum Punches involved!

Tags: 2010 Melissa · Uncategorized

Adventures at the Brixton Market

August 28th, 2010 · 7 Comments

On our trek to the Brixton Market, we encountered our first snafu with the London Underground. Upon entering the Warren Street Station, we learned that the Victoria Line was closed for the weekend. As a result, we had to change our plans and take the Northern Line to the Stockwell Station. As this stop was a few blocks from our market, we got the chance to observe the surrounding community as we made our walk to the Brixton area.

The area between Stockwell and Brixton is filled with a vibrant and bustling community. On our walk, we saw a skate park, brightly colored murals, and artistic graffiti. The neighborhood appeared to be populated by those of lower income, with lower end apartments and townhomes lining the street. However, the streets were packed with smiling people. You could not help but be absorbed by the energy radiating from the crowd. Walking further, we began to hear predominately British accents give way to voices with an Afro-Caribbean inflection. As we got closer to the market, the activity of the surroundings only got more vibrant, making us excited for what was ahead of us.

Upon reaching the market on the right, we found dozens of vibrant shops packed into a cobblestone street. One could find anything they need there, ranging from low-priced fruit to jewelry starting at ten quid. While the energy was high, people were very relaxed and walking around at a slower pace than we have observed in a good deal of London. Much like the streets we had just walked down, the market had a clear Caribbean flavor. Reggae-inspired music played throughout the first half of the market, and we came across many Caribbean food stands among the shops. As we walked further down the street, the music transitioned to the sounds of street evangelists shouting into megaphones. There were about 10 people standing around the main speaker, and the message was quite loud, but no one seemed to pay the evangelists any mind. Everyone was too absorbed by the other sights and sounds of this energized market.

As we left the market, we decided to walk down the streets opposite the way we entered the market. It was quite a dramatic difference from the previous sights. Only about half a block down, the architecture changed dramatically. We began seeing buildings that signaled much greater wealth, and a far greater number of fences. On our left we saw a luxury car that would have looked totally out of place five blocks down the road. In addition, there was virtually no one on the street. All the energy of the next door neighborhood was absent from these streets. In addition, the racial composition of the population was different from that of the market, as the neighborhood, from what we could tell, appeared predominately white. Everything seems quite peaceful now, but in the past Brixton was a site of violent racial animosity. Some further information on this can be found at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/25/newsid_2546000/2546233.stm

 We did not stay in this area too long, as there was nothing interesting to speak of, particularly given all the exciting sites of the market one street over.

After walking through the market one more time, we decided to get something to eat at a food stand called Cece’s Takeaway. The place was recommended to us by a CD vendor right across the street, and her suggestion was certainly validated. Our jerk chicken with rice was excellent, and Cece was a really nice guy. He asked us to recommend his stand to everyone in the future, which we certainly do. If you want some information on Afro-Caribbean food, you can check out: http://www.tropicalsunfoods.com

Upon making a few purchases, we left the market and headed back to the Arran House Hotel.

The Brixton Market was certainly more influenced by the community on the side of the Stockwell Underground station than by the upper class neighborhood on the other side. From its Caribbean-inspired stalls to the sheer energy of the place, the market was a great example of a distinctive culture in the city of London.

To view a slideshow about our trip, see below:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/BkFpLnrxOkI" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Video in youtube
For more information about the Brixton Market, you can check out the official website at:  http://brixtonmarket.net/

Tags: 2010 Andrew · 2010 Melissa · 2010 Tyler