Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

A Mean Time in Greenwich

August 21st, 2009 · 1 Comment

Today started out bright and early with a trip down the Thames toward Greenwich. The ferry ride offered spectacular views of the Tower Bridge, the London Eye, and many other popular attractions everyone expects of London. The Royal Park was beautiful and made me wish I could just picnic and read there all day. I’m glad we got to the top of the hill and the Prime Meridian before all of the crowds. I took the stereotypical picture with one foot on either side of the the Meridian as this is probably the closest to time travel I’ll ever experience. Afterwards, I explored the museum and really enjoyed it. Working in exhibition development this summer helped me to appreciate all of the effort that goes into desiging a museum. There are two things from the museum that particularly stick out in my mind:

1. In the exhibit about time in society where they displayed the evolution of clocks and wristwatches, I noticed that they included a cell phone. I thought this was great social commentary that might not occur to someone right away because recently many people have stopped using wristwatches even and rely only on cellphones for the time (especially younger people, myself included).

2. I appreciated how the museum displayed the comment cards that asked people to share their experiences of “When stopped for me…” I thought this added a more philosophical tone to the exhibit and made the point that the way people notice, remember, and live time in different ways.

After lunch, Alli, Mara, Kim, and I ventured into the Greenwich Market and explored the variety of shops and vendors. We all got henna tattoos and I had a short, but nice conversation with the artist about the significance of henna in South Asian culture. Henna is used to stain the skin in intricate and beautiful designs and it is very popoular for woman to get hennaed for special occassions, especially weddings. In the artist’s words: “An Asian bride is not complete without henna.” She explained to me that hennaing is meant to be a very calming process; therefore, the bride, her sisters, and cousins will have hennaing parties before the event in order to calm the bride’s nerves.

We then ventured beneath the Thames and wandered into the neighborhood on the opposite side of the river. We found Millard Park and stumbled onto a farm just beyond it. There were horses, sheep, goats, chickens, llamas, and one pig. At this point, one of my favorite things about London is the fact that many of the attractions are free to the public. It seems that the city tries to keep culture and recreation much more accessible than do many American cities (or at least the ones I’ve visited).

We journeyed home on the Docklands Light Rail. It was nice to travel above ground on the train. It was faster than the bus would have been, but we also were able to see a bunch of different neighborhoods that seemed to vary in class.

Tags: Sarah