Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

It’s astounding, time is fleeting, Madness takes its toll…

So today I was back doing my best impression of a tourist and I set to Greenwich.  Now for those of you who don’t know Greenwich is the home of a park (Okay, not the most exciting start), the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark (An old ship). However, the main reason people, and myself, go there is this is the spot where the Greenwich Meridan (0 degrees longitude) was set out and from which GMT time was born.  I like to think of it as I went to the ‘birthplace of time’ not in the “God working for 6 days” kind of way or the “Big Kablamo” kind of way, but in the 4 geeky british guys sitting around a table kind of way 😛

Below is the obligatory “Simon straddling 0 longitude” photo you all expected and hoped for.  Thanks to an ever so creepy, yet helpful French guy.

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Now before I go back to Greenwich, I think it is important to tell the story of how I got to Greenwich.  Now I left the house this morning pretty confident I had worked out this public transport system.  Obviously I was wrong. It turns out that there is a section of railway that isn’t “the tube” and my Pay-As-You-Go oyster card doesn’t work for these lines.  Now that would’ve been all well and good if there was a sign telling me such BEFORE I got on the train but there wasn’t.  I checked on the way home and the only signs before you enter the platforms (i.e. the only signs before you have done the wrong thing) told me I needed a valid ticket on all trains (thus I thought I was sorted).  There was one poster on the platform that explained how only certain travelcards work for this section of rail. I hardly think that was well signed.

I arrived at Waterloo station to change trains and tried to scan off the platform and couldn’t (So my oystercard would scan me in with no troubles but wouldn’t scan me out).  I then sought the assistance of the Railway equivalent of Dolores Umbridge who then proceeded to write me out a 20 pound infringement notice…BEFORE she explained to me (at this stage playing the role of “confused Australian” at oscar-winning level) what was wrong.  She then told me it was well signed at Richmond that I should’ve bought a ticket, asked for the 20 quid and then handed me the slip.  I then sheepishly walked off, making note to search Richmond station for these supposed signs (Signs I now know aren’t present before I have to swipe my oystercard or ticket).  On later inspection, the slip also tells you about an appeals process (and makes it clear that the officer should inform you of this – which she didn’t).  I have now sent off my appeal, expecting very little to come of it and a little bit more knowledgable about the train system in London.
Now back to the fun side of my day, I actually found it suprisingly interesting to walk around the Royal Observatory – as the Meridan line loses your interest about 30 seconds after you first see it and have had your photo taken.  As a result of its position it had some great views of London and also explained the history of GMT time and mapping of the stars in England (it also made it quite clear that Isaac Newton was a bit of a wanker).  Although it was interesting, I quickly moved on to the Maritime Museum.  Now the two best parts of this museum in my opinion were the Nelson exhibit and the exhibits to with slavery.  The Nelson exhibit not only had the clothes he died in (a little bit macbre but oh so cool) but also managed to do what years of the history channel had failed to do – explain to me why the guy is so important he deserves a massive column.

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The issue of slavery came up a few times in the mueseum and it was quite thought provoking.  Not just the exhibits but how the exhibits were set up and how the descriptions were written.  Of course it was quite shocking and saddening to see the whips, restraints, chains and the like that were used on actual people not that long ago…but I found it interesting that the musuem seemed to tell a story of Britain not being “one of the baddies” in the tale of slavery.  A lot of deserved glory and respect were given to the Abolishionists, but there were more space dedicated to them as the horrors of slavery stayed well confined in a small section.  TTh fact “slavery was common among african communities” was stressed in almost every description and these other issues just gave me the impression that this was somewhat of an attempt to whitewash history.  I can see how this could be desireable to some who feel a little guilty about the past, but I stil think museums and the like should do their best to be an unbiased coverage of history.  Although maybe I strive for an impossible goal there…

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January 16, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

6 Comments »

  1. Loving the last two song lyrics/headings simy. You obviously have a gift!

    Comment by shanchops | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. maybe YOU can explain to me why this nelson was so important then! haha. loving the photos! it’s amazing how much you come to love the cheesy, necessary expected photos even though you know they are so far from unique to you 🙂 much like me and the eiffel tower.. still love it

    Comment by lisbeth | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hey man I finished watching that Kevin Smith dvd you gave me. Thanks! It was awesome, particularly england. Reminded me of ya :]

    Comment by Steve | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  4. Haha I knew you’d like it Steve…the bloke just KNOWS how to tell a story 😛

    Comment by casaboy69 | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  5. Only MY brother could go to Pommy Land and get in trouble with the law within DAYS of arriving. You even beat Dimi on his arrival. Good luck with that whole 20 Quid thing, you should have put on an Andrew Flintoff accent…I’m sure the Poms are busting to give an Aussie back his money. 😉 And to think it costs you that much to fly to Prague!! hahaha

    Comment by Juzzy | January 16, 2009 | Reply

  6. PS. “Kablamo” = Best Simpsons Line Ever

    Comment by Juzzy | January 16, 2009 | Reply


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