day two - Terracotta Soldiers, Shopping and the Bishop
London Travel Blog› entry 4 of 11 › view all entries
October 18th, 2007 – by: Kelly_Woo
It was so easy to get back in to the London flow. I know the buses around East Dulwich and the Tube so well now that I felt like I was a local, slipping in to the flow of weekday traffic with the rest of the Londoners on their way to work.
I took the train in to the city and went straight to Tottenham Court tube station to visit the British Museum. I've been twice already but this time, I really wanted to see the "First Emperor" exhibit and have a look at the infamous terracotta soldiers myself. Last November, my parents went on a 3 week tour around China (I was SO envious!) and they had the privilege of visiting Xi'an and the actual mausoleum itself. How amazing that such a treasure trove was discovered only 30 odd years ago by accident. The British Museum is displaying a number of the life-like statues as well as other treasures of China's first emperor until April 2008.
My father was born in Hong Kong and moved to Canada when he was 6. My mother is Chinese-Canadian, born in Montreal and adopted by another Chinese family. I was born in Montreal and grew up in Montreal's West Island, learning English and French. My father gave me the choice of going to Chinese school on the weekends. Being too young to understand, I declined, not wanting to go to school on a Saturday (how absurd!) and thus never learned to speak Cantonese, and I never needed to speak it as English and French were much more pratical. My family is very Canadian, retaining very few Chinese traditions, and I never really felt any connection to my cultural heritage. Growing up often being teased for almond-shaped eyes and feeling quite angry about Chinese women's place in Chinese society throughout history...I never wanted anything to do with China. I was quite happy being Canadian and I actually became quite enthralled with Egyptian, Greek, and later Celtic culture and history. I'd say I have a very strong interest in Celtic history and spirituality at the moment and am often teased about it. Well, I am older now and a little wiser, and am trying to connect with my roots, as hard as it may be. Though I do not agree with some of the traditions, I can easily appreciate the art and architecture. Visiting Hong Kong with my brother 3 years ago helped, as well as trying to dig up details regarding my family's obscure history. I do want to go on a 3 week China tour myself one day, but for now, seeing the First Emperor exhibit will have to do.
I got to the Museum around 11 and bought a ticket that would allow me to enter the exhibit at 2pm. I had time to kill. I browsed the Egyptian collection for a little while before deciding to run off to Camden Town before my time slot. I absolutely love browsing the many colorful kiosks of the Camden markets. I particularly like the Stalls and headed straight there. Clothes, jewellery, shoes, vintage, ethnic, novelty...you can find many treasures in the markets. So many pretty, shiny things, and the smell of all that food....mmmmm. I walked away with a few blouses and a new trench coat for autumn. It's a good thing I only had about an hour after eating lunch. I could have browsed the entire day.
By the time I got back to the Museum, my feet were already aching, but I was a trooper and waited in line to enter the exhibit. Unfortunately, we weren't able to take any photos. It's a shame as the statues were absolutely exquisite! The detail of the statues is quite remarkable. Facial features and hairstyles varied from soldier to soldier. There were different kinds of armour, different poses, archers, chariots, horses. The main group of soldiers were lined up the way they may have been in the mausoleum and were quite breathtaking to see. The other everyday artifacts and weapons were also quite interesting. I can't wait to see them all lined up in Xi'an. Must be quite a sight indeed! A whole army.
I wandered around town afterwards for a little bit before meeting up with Erin after she finished work. We headed to The Bishop pub in East Dulwich for dinner and drinks, a regular hang-out. It's more of a classy pub with gourmet food and upscale decor. I love it there and it's always busy. It was nice to sit and unwind over a few drinks. I had the Atlantic prawns for dinner and we sat talking and planning and such. It wasn't a late evening as she has to work tomorrow and I have to catch a flight to Edinburgh from Gatwick in the morning.
Another day in London has come to an end and even though I only had 2 days, I am thankful I had the opportunity to be back here. I'll be back in no time. Mark my words.
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