Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Entries Tagged as 'Anthony'

Tate vs. National

September 6th, 2009 · No Comments


So this is an overdue post comparing our experiences at the National Gallery and the Tate Modern.

When we were climbing the steps of the National Gallery we were anticipating the beautiful pieces that would be displayed by world renowned artists. We were excited to see the works of Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Van Dyck as well as artists who are unfamiliar to us. While standing in front of Da Vinci’s Madonna and Child, observing his rather passionate and intricate work we felt a disconnect between our previous assumptions of how the work was suppose to affect us versus our actual interpretations. Based on our shared knowledge of these artistic “masterpieces” we hoped to feel the sense of awe. Although we were privileged to be viewing these works, we left feeling rather “eghhh” (for lack of a better term).

Our experience at the Tate Modern JUXTAPOSED our feelings of incomplete satisfaction at the National Gallery. We were immediately intrigued by the modern and uncommon artistic works. These revolutionized pieces made us question the true meaning of art. IN our interpretation of the works found at Tate, modern art in Britain completely attempts to move away from traditional, classical art found at the National Gallery. Although we do appreciate classical art, modern art speaks to us in a different form, and it relates to the ways in which we seek to see the rest of our society— in distinctive ways. The Tate Modern seems to be “pushing the envelope” when it comes to artistic expressions and we enjoy that sort of rebellious attitude.

Overall, art is an interpretation of the individual and it can exist in various forms. It is always inspired and interpreted.

Tags: Anthony · Flow · Jeyla

From the inner city, To on Top of The World

September 6th, 2009 · No Comments

On Wednesday September 2nd, 2009 the Norwich Humanities group visited the East End, in particular, Brick Lane, and the surrounding area. Brick Lane’s history over the past 15 years had changed drastically. It has gone from a neighborhood of violence, drugs, and trash, to a respectable neighborhood. This area has seen drastic progress in this fifteen year period, but progress at the expense of who?

DSC00686People always view progress as a positive thing, because, it means improvement for a community that means it.  What I have learned being in London, is that progress has the potential to be something great, but at the expense of who? Professor Qualls has made me realize these past few days, is that the concept of progress is something beneficial, to a specific group, but at the expense of who? In order for true progress to be made a specific group must pay. Looking at the east end, it is obvious that the area is becoming economically improved, but at the expense of the middle and working classes in the area. The area is beginning to see major improvements, in both the markets and financial district, but the lower classes are taking a beating, because soon they will not be able to afford the area in which they live, and will  be forced to move out. In essence this is progress in its truest form.  However, it felt surreal to be in an area in which we have read so much about, and viewing the drastic changes in the area, gave me a sense of joy, but this emotion was balanced with a sense of sadness because of the effects this had on the community.

DSC00693We later travelled to St. Pauls’ lead by our fabulous tour guide John. John was our tour guide for the West Minster Abbey, and because he did such an amazing job, professor Qualls decided John was more than capable to lead us in this national land mark of London. Once we all had arrived John began speaking about the birth of the St. Pauls’ Cathedral and the route and the history of its name. One thing Jon said before entering that I didn’t agree with was when he said, “be mindful that this place is still a church so please be mindful.” Once I entered St. Paul’s cathedral, I immediately noticed the outrageous fee to enter this “church.” I could not help but see this ever apparent contradiction, in that museum cost money, and churches are supposed to be free. Not only that but the electronic tour guides, and the amount of people who just seemed interested in looking at its architecture rather than praising god could have not convinced me more, that this Cathedral had lost its “holiness” a long time ago, at least in my opinion. My perceptions of St. Paul as a tourist attraction, however, were nothing but positive. The architecture was beautiful, and its history was astounding. As I climbed the steps of St. Pauls’ I could not help but think that in the immediate future I would be on the top of the city.

DSC00690Once I arrived the scenery was amazingly beautiful, I had never seen such an astounding sight. I was able to view London from an entirely different vantage point, and in doing so, I realized the true beauty of this chaotic city. I realized that, London, was the only city I have ever been to that had such an interesting personality, from the people, to its appearance, its multifaceted diversity was something that out of a book. It was something I will not soon forget!!!



Tags: Anthony

A Day in The Life of British Theatre and Everything in Between

September 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

Today was a day filled with the inner workings of British theatre. I began my day with an early morning walk to a nearby Starbucks. I ordered my usual Caramel Marchiato with extra caramel, in order to get myself prepared for a fun filled day learning of British theatre. On my walk back to the hotel, I pondered what today’s adventure would bring? Once I arrived at the hotel it was time to begin our discussion with a Dickinson Alumni.

Rick Fisher class of 1979, attended Dickinson college and in his first semester of senior year traveled abroad to London. During this time he fell in love with the theatre and when he graduated moved to London to pursue a career in the theatre. Since then he has two Tony Awards for his lighting direction in one particular play Billy Elliot, and a second one I cannot remember. As he was speaking today about his journey as he worked his way from the bottom of the barrel to becoming a Tony Award I could not help but think of my own future goals after college to become a professional dancer and choreographer. I never thought of Dickinson as a institution in which one could professionally develop a career in the arts, but after hearing of Rick’s journey, it has now become a possibility that is not beyond reason. His words and passion for his career, inspired me to further carryout my plan to dance after my Dickinson education ends. As he informed us, the business is not an easy one, but his dedication, and love for the theatre made me realize that the challenge makes it all the more rewarding.

At 11:30 the class broke for a quick lunch and then headed out for a tour of the National Theatre. Our tour guide did a phenomenal job taking us about the massive structure, as she explained how not only the productions were made possible, but of how much goes in to putting on 6-9 productions a day. It never occurred to that so many intricate details when in to putting on a play. As we toured through the national theatre, our tour guide stripped down, our fantasy world of what we all imagined the theatre to be, and showed us how the work of everyone was important to putting on a successful production. The tour was very similar to the Walt Disney/Warner brothers tour of the lot in Los Angeles California where they film major Hollywood television shows. On both tours the tourist is able to get a real sense of not only the work of the actors but the work of the collective, it is a realization to an audience member that so much is required for a production of this scale, just for our entertainment.

Following the tour the group headed back to the hotel, and capped of the night with the play, All’s Well That End’s Well. After learning of all the intricacies to making a play I was able to appreciate the work all the more. From the acting, lighting, costumes, props, and everything in between, the performance was astounding. The only problems I had with the play was the ending. For the sake of my fellow peers that will see the production in the near future, I will not ruin the ending however, I will say that the lead female is the dumbest girl in Shakespearian history. Still production was enjoyable, and having been in the theatre just hours before the set was up, it was great to see the final piece of the production. An experience I won’t soon forget.

Tags: Anthony

“Time is a Social Construction”, What would we do without it?

September 1st, 2009 · 1 Comment

Since the first day that we arrived at the Arran Hotel, I have been grappling with this concept of time and the need for humans to categorize everything. Humans have become completely reliant on categories, words, titles, definitions, labels etc. It is has been completely imbedded in us to put a title on everything, whether it is clothes, race, gender, sexuality, measurements, concepts, and what I realized today, time. Even time is broken down into different categories, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds and so on and so forth.  As I tell you of my endeavors today, and do my best to inform you of my epiphany and how to dissect the concept of time, try to imagine a world where time did not exist, instead think about just being. If that even makes sense.

Today I traveled not only the world, but back in time. I began my day in London as I walked with friends to grab brunch before beginning my adventures.  We decided that Subway would be a satisfying and well balanced meal before leaving the country and our present day. We ate a quick bunch because we were eager to see what the rest of the world had to offer. Once our bellies were filled with double turkey and cheese (literally we all had the same thing) we headed out.

DSC00622DSC00635Our machine that would transcend both countries and time was guarded by a huge gate. The name of it was the British Museum and as we entered people of all different ethnicities, and classes were leaving and coming from their own journey’s. The vast time capsule greeted us and as we traveled up the stairs we had already decided our first destination would be Egypt. We passed through time and space at the speed of well, us because the stairs were quite numerous, but once we arrived we were greeted by Egyptian royalty, and mummies.  The exhibit was gorgeous and the mummies, plenty, but as I stared at the mummies, I could not get the concept of time out of my head. Dancing in my mind was the fact that at one point these mummies were alive, and now thousands of years later here I am looking at their preserved corpses. I soon was able to focus on the beautiful pieces in front me and tried to push the ideas in my head aside for future analysis.  We saw many other exhibits, including one on Japan, and another on North America. Each exhibit shared both the culture and the history of its people. Thinking of the past present and future of the many different cultures of the world quickly brought me back to this concept of time, but for the sake of time, I decided to visit another museum.

DSC00575 DSC00547

We headed back to the hotel to pick up a few more “time travelers”. Once we everyone was ready we headed to the tube station. As a topic of conversation one of the students asked what was everyone going to do there next blog about. I shared with them that I was trying to center mine about the concept of time. Then one student shared their idea that “time is a social construction.” Now being an American Studies major I am all too familiar with the concept of social constructions, but for some reason the fact that time was a part of that list was something I never connected with. I continued the rest of our journey to the Victoria and Albert museum trying to dissect this sudden epiphany.

Now of all the museums I have visited since arriving in London the Victoria and Albert museum is by far the most amazing in my opinion. Once departing off the train the group and I walked down a vast tube like path and at the end was an entrance straight into the sculptures section. Immediately I was blown away by the detail that each of the pieces consisted of. Each sculpture portrayed a message or told a story of some sort which struck me, seeing as how before they were created they were nothing but stone.  I next made my way through decades of fashion, paintings, and the history of numerous cultures, and with each one I began to appreciate not only their art but their history, their story spanning time for thousands of years.

I learned today how reliant mankind is on time, and the fact that time doesn’t really exist. Before men and women even came up with the concept of time, things just existed, lived and died, were created and destroyed. There was no dependency on time, but now it has been imbedded in our culture as something normal. Thinking about it I love the whole idea of time, but I do find flaws in it as well. The fact that life has become a series of planned and scheduled events disgusts me, the fact that we count the years as we all age, and how we mark the days as they go by. Time is such an unnatural concept, something that no other species on this planet is aware of. I appreciate time and the moments I share with people but when discussing the true reason for time and its creation, I am finding that I am displeased with this invention of man.

Tags: Anthony · Uncategorized

A Time of Realization, Discomfort, and the Battle to Complete my Identity Abroad.

August 26th, 2009 · 1 Comment

DSC00236These past few days have been filled with city wide tours, organized chaos, big lights, beautiful sights, and people moving at their own paces. My London experience has been both interesting and refreshing. I have been opened up to a history that I knew little to nothing about, and again I am astonished that my current reality resides in London. A truly beautiful city, with a rich and distinct culture, and symbols to provide the people of the world, it’s story. As I describe my experiences over the past few days, please do not take my tone as pessimistic or ungrateful, because of all the students on this trip I know what it is like to come from nothing, and to finally be not only in college, but abroad, is something remarkable for me. And yet, I find it troubling to appreciate the city and revel in its beauty without having reservations about how my culture and identity are represented.

Yesterday after we parted from class, I with a couple of friends ventured off to the suggested concert at Saint Martin’s in the Field. As I entered the theatre the white ceiling made me stare in awe as I viewed the monumental structures created hundreds of years ago. As we were seated I panned the audience to see the types of people gathered to listen as a musical masterpiece would be played for our entertainment. The range of people was homogenous, being predominately white. I found myself being more reserved than I was comfortable with, but for the setting of the event it was necessary.  

As the music filled Saint Martin’s Cathedral the expressions on the faces of people varied in pleasure, awe, and appreciation for a work that was well deserved. The artist was successful in instilling an emotion in his audience, which I could not help but appreciate. As he played numerous pieces from Phantom of the opera I sat in my chair trying to contain my restlessness. Although the piece of music was beautifully structured in its entirety, it was a bit long for my liking, but nonetheless appreciated. After the first piece of music was preformed various areas of the Cathedral began to empty out as people headed to prior engagements, however, I stayed for the performances entirety.

Once the concert had finished a group of use headed to the National Art Gallery located literally across the street. Myself along with the rest of the group grew anxious as we realized what we were about to see. As we climbed the steps of the museum our minds raced with the artist and the pieces of work that lye just beyond the doors that we were about to enter. The realization that we were privileged enough to see the art from the some of the most famous painters that had ever lived. Once inside we all parted heading to our own favorite pieces and exhibits spread across the vast gallery.

DSC00246I viewed countless pieces of art, created by Van Gough, Davinci, and Anthony Von Dyck. There was no doubt in my mind that these works were marvelous, and their very essence made my spirit soar. But as it all sunk in the reality of the history of these artist and their ways and own personal beliefs, suddenly made me uncomfortable. The realization, that this history was filled with racism, sexism, and countless other prejudices  did not make me de-value their art, but rather gave me more of an incentive not to glorify it, as some of the other people might have. My culture and my history something that would have made me feel inspired, was not present in the entire gallery, not once, at least not in its entirety.   

The next day we all woke up bright an early as we headed toward the West Minster Abbey for a tour only fit for royalty, or as our tour guide put it, “a class above the riff raff.” Once we were out of the Underground, we quickened our pace to make it in time for our 9:30 tour. Once we arrived we were greeted by probably the most energetic and experienced “Blue Pin” tour guide, which only made our experience that much better. If I could try to describe the beauty of the architecture that stood before me, I would not be able to find a word befitting enough. It was remarkable beyond words.  Once inside the sound of the busy city, was quickly silenced as if we were subconsciously remembering the people of the past who were buried this massive Abbey.

DSC00285Inside West Minster Abbey lye the tombs of 3000, kings, queens, writers, and various other of what  I assumed wealthy people. Each one was given an astoundingly large monument of their own in their memory. As we past it seemed as if they were competing from beyond the dead at whose was the biggest and the best as they displayed their wealth from beyond the grave. Although its beauty could not be denied I once again felt a sense from my lack of comfort. In my eyes these were just people who were glorified based upon their wealth and status in their country. I could have thought of countless other areas in the world in which this same amount of money that was put into these monuments and tombs could be used to aid starving children and homeless people around the globe. The American Studies scholar in me could help but question the dominant hegemonic apparatuses that were in power, and how much emphasis they put on class, money, race, and power, made my skin crawl with discomfort. I could not help but realize that I along with two other classmates was the only people of color on the entire tour, during the time we spent inside. I was so used to having the comfort of others like me around all the time, and to literally be the minority among the hundreds of people touring gave me the realization that I was not at home.

DSC00308Among this during the entire trip I have had to become more of a reserved in the way I express my mannerisms. Being an American and from the area I come from I am used to being free to express myself in whatever way I see fit. But I am constantly being reminded that I must assimilate to a culture in order to not become an object of judgment in any given area. This among very few other things had made my time at London unexpected.  

However, after thinking about my roots and my ancestry I realized that I am not just black. My grandmother is from whales, and has red hair and white skin lighter than some of the people on this trip. I am not simply a black man alone in London. But because of my skin color and how I have been taught to identify I sometimes forget my entire heritage. I learned today, that I can no longer view London through the eyes of a single raced person, because that is not who I am. I am a culmination of a mixture of races whose heritage I am starting to learn. My only wish is that I could go to a place where the heritage of my complete bloodline was present. In London I have had the privilege to learn about my European ancestor’s but I am not blind to the fact that my African ancestors were also brought here. I am trying to be patient, and delve myself into the history where both parts if me can exist. I just wish I could visually see a place where this dream was a reality.DSC00305

Tags: Anthony

All aboard the HMS Belfast!

August 26th, 2009 · 1 Comment


DSC04866   After spending our morning at Westminster Abbey we decided to head to the Tower of London… but needed to get some lunch first. We stopped at a small Italian restaurant and were immediately attended to by a petite, efficient waitress who moved at an abrupt pace and appeared to serve ten tables at a time. She rushed us into ordering food and drinks while ending each sentence in “Please, thank you.” To make our long story short, by the end of our quick yet delicious meal we were stressed to the point of no return. Attempting to escape our stressful waitress we headed to the Waterloo tube Station.   

   We took the train that lead us to the London Bridge stop instead of Tower Hill Station, a simple mistake on our part. Leaving the station, we walked through the “Queen’s Walk” and came upon the HMS Belfast Battleship, immediately we thought this would be an interesting excursion. Having just an audio guide and our digital cameras we proceeded to board the ship and explore this historical landmark. On our self-guided tour we struggled as we made our way through narrow stairs, pipe filled boiler rooms and the inescapable smell of gun powder in the weapon filled rooms.  

We learned that the ship is part of the Imperial War Museum and was first launched on St Patrick’s Day of 1938; it played a vital role in the Second World War. During our tour we discovered that Belfast was the leader behind the destruction of the German battlecruiserScharnhorst during the Battle of North Cape. 
   Although, as a collective we are promoters of peace, we couldn’t help but to be impressed by the ship’s weaponry infrastructure. There were two identical shell rooms with machines that were capable of launching eight shells per minute which led Jack Frost (crew member of HMS Belfast) to describe the ship as a “floating gun plot.” Members of the crew had specific job titles ranging from weapon handling, chefs, dentists, and even surgeons!  We had fun interacting with the wax figures which were placed throughout the ship to represent actual crew members. After attempting to climb out of the lower chambers of the ship, we were happy to inhale fresh air. 
   We took a short break, and headed towards the Tower Bridge. We crossed the bridge and felt a sense of accomplishment as this is one of the most famous bridges in London’s history. By this point our feet were aching so we decided that it was in our best interest to head back to the hotel. 

Tags: Anthony · Flow · Jeyla · Museums

Organized Chaos and Learning History from a differemt Vantage point

August 25th, 2009 · No Comments

This Sunday in London the Humanities group went on a walking tour of the Tower Hill and a designated area of London built by the Romans (i.e the roman wall). The beautiful architecture seemed so distinct to London, because of this sense of organized chaos of defined by the Roman architecture mixed with the modern. Of all the places that I have ever been to in my short lifetime London buy far has the most character. London has no structure as to what any given area must look like, instead a person traveling the city would view a very diverse array of structural design, and although not in harmony with the “look” of London, still manages to define the personality of London.
As we walked the tour I could not help but compare the diversity within the building design to that of the people and different cultures that inhabit London. Being completely unaware of what the structure and the faces of London would like, I was completely surprised to see how similar in diversity London was in comparison to a large metropolitan area like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. People from all different regions of the world all together in one area is something I am used to seeing from where I come from, so coming to London and witnessing this same phenomenon of integration, however surprising, provided me with a sense of comfort because of how normal it felt.
However, as I mentioned before the major difference from major cities in America and perhaps most of the major cities in the world in comparison to London is the architectural structure and the randomness that is London. It is not uncommon to walk the streets of London to see a Cathedral or monument next to an insurance firm or a modern day office. Nor is it out of the norm to see a Starbucks located inside a historical monument. This theme of organized chaos that makes up this amazing city is one that is unique to that of any other place in the world, and makes me love it that much more.
However while walking through the tour of the London wall, and having read the history of London, I was surprised that I had not heard of the negative history of London. I pondered why I had not learned of London’s dark history, specifically the slave trade, and London’s role in it. Luckily later that afternoon my group visited the Docklands museum, where my curiosity would not only be satisfied, but educated.
On the top floor of the museum just past the first exhibit lies, the London African slave trade. When I tell you that this was one of the most amazing exhibits I had ever had the privilege of entering, I am only describing about 10% of how surreal this experience was. Having always learned about the slave trade as being an international event, I had only delved my knowledge to the America’s experience of it. So to actually learn about one of the world superpowers who participated in this inhumane portion of history made me challenge my views of what I had learned previously. In the exhibit they made it a point to express to the audience why they chose certain word’s in the exhibit and explained the history of the words so that the audience was able to get a sense of how important language is in this system of oppression that is slavery.
This experience has taught me so much about the world, and that there is so much more to learn. I feel so blessed to be in a position to get to learn about the world and its many different cultures in a way that others only get to dream about. I will cherish these moments forever!

Tags: Anthony · Uncategorized

Borough Market and Surrounding Area

August 22nd, 2009 · 2 Comments

Our day began at nine when we left the Arran House and took the tube down to Borough Market. Arriving there early is key because it became quite crowded in the ensuing hours. The market itself is a diverse collection of vendors selling every kind of food imaginable. Ever had a prawn sandwich? How about some rose flavored Turkish delight? Anthony wasn’t so keen on the former, but you get the idea.

Although the market included common grocery items such as fruit, vegetables, and bread, we also saw more unique items on display such as venison, ostrich meat, lassi, and a hanging puffer fish.  All suburban Americans have had full meals comprised of free samples. After today, Costco will never be the same. We tasted a wide array of ethnic candies, chutneys, spreads, and much more. Our senses were tickled by the delicious smell of fresh curry, strange meat being butchered, and gorgeous, albeit expensive flowers on display.

After having our fill of distinctly non-American food, we proceeded to the adjacent Southwark Cathedral, the oldest gothic church in London. We all agreed that it is the most beautiful building we have ever set foot in. A place of worship for 1400 years (that’s right, this place is over a millennium old), it was filled with intricate stained glass windows, ornate carvings, and imposing statues. Most interestingly, the tombs of many of the church’s benefactors are located both beneath the floor and on display inside the cathedral itself. Perhaps the most haunting of these was the frighteningly realistic “emaciated corpse” carved from stone in the 14th Century. Some of the church’s most famous frequenters included Dickens, Chaucer, and Shakespeare, who is immortalized in statue.

Next, we stumbled upon a life-sized replica of Sir Francis Drake’s galleon, the Golden Hinde, one of the first of its kind to circumvent the globe. Having travelled over 140,000 miles, we were blown away by its sheer size and intricacy. Also, what the hell was a ship doing in the middle of the street? Whatever.

The highlight of our day was the Menier art gallery. Managed by an old British couple, the building was unassuming and tucked away, separated from the hustle and bustle of the marketplace. The gallery housed a small but diverse mix of works spanning a myriad of artistic schools and styles. We enjoyed chatting with the charming proprietors, who graciously told us about their upbringings in northern England. This was masterfully illustrated by paintings by one of the owners. One was of a line of houses overlooking a serene beach and rocky white cliffs. Incredibly, this same placid beach was heavily fortified with barbed wire during WWII to prevent a German invasion. Hitler decided to try to pull a Napoleon and attempt to conquer Russia instead. We all know how that turned out. The couple still visits their childhood town today.

Overall, our time in the Borough was an exceedingly positive experience. If you are looking for widely mixed collection of cultures selling their foods and wares, this is the place for you. We fancy returning in the future.  However, a word of advice: try to avoid Bank tube station any time after 10 AM. The extreme congestion made our journey home more difficult, as the wonderful aroma of body odour (note the spelling) invaded our nostrils.

Tags: Amy · Andrew B · Anthony

American Boy Hits the prime Meridian and Then Some….

August 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

Today the Humanities study abroad program ventured out on our first London adventure as a group. The day began with a lovely breakfasts provided by the Arran Hotel. At 8:30 sharp we headed towards Greenwich pier on a boat.

The instant the boat docked and we boarded. I was filled with excitement being  that we were within walking distance of what I believed to be the key symbol of London, Big Ben. The boat ride reminded me of the Circle Line Cruise of Manhattan, being that the tour of London was on a boat and went under a numerous amount of bridges.  I couldn’t help but feel blessed that I was fortunate to be in London, a place I have only seen in visual media and in my dreams of course. The architecture of each building was unique in its own right, and with modern designed being mixed with the older Georgian  monuments only added to the beauty and diversity that is, London.

As we arrived in Greenwich we ventured passed numerous food places, and other historical landmarks. Being separated from the big city, Greenwich proved that its royal history was something to be admired just based off of its architecture. Once we arrived at the Prime Meridian we stopped for a quick photo and proceeded to the two local museums. The first was filled with ancient clock’s and explained the importance of time and how these inventions gave rise to the industrial revolution. We next ventured off into the astronomy museum where we saw an Astronomy show. I was enthusiastic to go into the astronomy show, one because I love stars and the concept of and endless universe, and two because I am in London so I plan to exhaust this experience for all I can get.

The host of the Astronomy show made the entire experience for me,  his enthusiasm, vigor, and knowledge in his field made him and excellent pilot for our journey through our solar system and beyond. His humor and tone to his voice kept, and almost complete jetlagged audience, awake and alert. It was a blast.

After the show we headed towards the local pub for food and drinks J.  Being that this would be my first legal alcoholic beverage I thought I would go with something very special to me, a Smirnoff ice.  After a well put together lunch we proceeded to a nearby flea market and then home on the 188 bus which is one of the few 24hour buses in London. I then purchased a camera for a much needed reason, and then headed out to Camden town, a funky little town just a hop skip and a jump from our hotel. We ate at a local Panini Shop, and then shopped around some rather familiar shops. We then headed back to our hotel, and this American boy, rather pleased with his adventures for the day, headed to be, with the song American Boy played in my ipod as I proceeded to dream and see what tomorrow will have in store. I love London.

Tags: Anthony

Don't Defecate on London: a unique and variant experience in Elephant and Castle (lacking pictures)

August 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Our day started at the Goodge Street tube stop (no, that is not a bodily orafice).  We took the northern line south three stops to Charing Cross, and jumped lines to the Bakerloo for four stops, and we had arrived at Elephant and Castle in the borough of Southwark.  We had been warned that it was a questionable area.  The reality was far more shocking.  Immediately upon exiting the tube, we were approached by a man with a bloody face (no, not that kind of bloody, but a gruesomely literal BLOODY face) asking repeatedly for help.  After evading what seemed like a potential mugging (considering that the “victim” didn’t ask the nearby policeman for help) we set off through Elephant and Castle.

A walk through the painfully modern local University ensued.  Being a college area there were many take-out and ethnic restaurants.  In fact, the area seemed to be predominately lower class, dominated by Afro-Caribbean immigrants.  Their culture was further depicted by the murals painted in the subway tunnels (which are walking tunnels, not tubes).  We continued our walk into nearby Lambeth, where we found a large obelisk dedicated to King George.  Though hesitant to approach and take pictures of the monument as there were several tramps hanging about, we eventually overcame our apprehension.  On nearing the structure we were immediately greeted by the bare bum of a homeless man, having just unloaded on said monument.  Luckily, he didn’t make it into any of our pictures, though the memory will be burned into our traumatized memories forever.

After this troubling experience we decided that if we didn’t find anything nice within a block, we were returning to central London.  Fortunately we stumbled upon a beautiful Tibetan Peace Garden, ironically adjacent to the Imperial War Museum.  The center was dominated by a large metal Mandala design.  However, the main attraction was off to the side.  A pillar quoating the XIV Dalai Lama in four languages (Tibetan, English, Chinese, and Hindi) read as follows:

“We human beings are passing through a crucial period in our development.  Conflict and mistrust have plagued the past century which has brought immeasurable human suffering and environmental destruction.  It is in the interest of all of us on this planet that we make a joint effort to turn the next century into an era of peace and harmony.  May this Peace Garden become a monument to the courage of the Tibetan people and their commitment to peace.  May it remain as a symbol to remind us that human survival depends on living in harmony and on always choosing the path of non-violence in resolving our differences.” -May 13, 1999

Considering its location in a diverse community it is especially prominent.   The message conveyed by the garden gives hope to the minorities who experience discrimination, not just in London, but throughout the world. 

Leaving the gorgeous garden and its Ice Age Tree Path (we’re not sure either), we entered the Imperial War Museum.  Located in the building that once housed Bethlem Hospital, it is now a wide open space filled with various instruments of destruction.  We chose to explore the morbid and depressing Holocaust Exhibit, which was appropriately desplayed in an age restricted corridor.  Though tastefully done it left us feeling rather sad.  We left.  Returning to the tube station in an attempt to figure out why the stop got its name, we asked a security person whose response was “That’s just its name”.  The only clue was a pub located next to the station called The Elephant and Castle.  The area was, in fact, named FOR said pub, but admittedly we didn’t know this at the time.  We did however make up a highly amusing story to explain the name that we had only ever heard of in Harry Potter.  Ask us about it later. 

Our return was made on the number 68 bus to Russell Square, and we continued on foot to our hotel, where we collapsed in heaps of exhaustion on our beds and had to be pried off our beds with a shoe horn in time for discussion.    Unfortunately, our designated camera had forgotten its memory card reader in its laptop case, so our pictures are currently marooned on said camera.  They’ll come up sometime on Monday or Tuesday.

Tags: Anthony · Campbell · Sarah