The London times!
I am completely behind on my blog. Such is the life of a wild adventurer. It has been difficult with the lack of Internet or e-mail connection in Botswana. Therefore, I have decided to give a simple overview of each major section of our travels.
Evelyn and I spent July 7-10 in London, England. My previous blog post describes what we did up to the end of July 7. The next several days were a collection of museum visits, walking tours through the city, bicycle rides through the Royal Parks, evening theater and late evenings soaking up the warm British temperatures. Thankfully, the royal birth did not occur while we were there. The crowds were already enormous around Buckingham Palace.
Evelyn and I attended an absolutely wonderful retrospective of L.S. Lowry’s work at the Tate Museum, Britain.
It was a fascinating look at this influential British artist. He was enthralled with the industrialization of Britain as well as the interaction between the masses and the billowing smoke-stacks of progress. It was so easy to lose oneself in the museum and before you knew it half a day had slipped away. It was wonderful to not feel pressured and to spend as much time as one wanted in order to understand the artist one was viewing. I wish I made more time for this back home. It always seems there are too many other tasks that are deemed necessary that pull me away from museums in my own hometown. I think this is a shame. It is something I am going to have to rectify when I return home.
Two days later we also attended a presentation on Pompeii and Herculaneum at the British Museum. Everyone is familiar with the eruption of Vesuvius and the devastating effects on these two local communities. The preservation of the fossils was remarkable. It was very emotional to see the casts of human victims constructed from voids in what must’ve been a horrible end. Also fascinating was how similar their lives were to the present lives we lead. Sometimes it seems like we believe we have come up with every major idea and technological advancement in this century. This is certainly not the case! When you visit museum presentations like this one you begin to realize how every culture builds on those that preceded it.
Most evenings were taken up with London theater performances. We attended The Hot House by Harold Pinter and also The Cripple of Inishmaan starring Daniel Radcliffe. Even though it had a very dark premise, we felt the acting was superior in the Harold Pinter play. It was amazing to witness the talent of these actors. Evelyn and I had to chuckle over the studio theater that that Harold Pinter play was presented in. We were actually seated on small temporary chairs right on the stage and were within spitting distance [literally] of the actors. The temperature on the stage lived up to the name of the play. We both left the play enlightened but dehydrated.
Another highlight of our trip was riding rented bikes through the Royal Parks. Bike hires are available throughout the downtown section of London. It encourages tourists and locals to make use of bicycles in order to get around. This makes so much sense. Of course there is so much congestion and traffic it is by far the most practical way to see London. The only roadblock we had were the massive crowds surrounding Buckingham Palace. Of course we were there during the changing of the guard which did not help.
The food was fantastic in London. We had easy access to a wonderful French bakery very close to our hotel which was centrally located making all excursions extremely easy. We had so many fantastic places to visit simply by walking to them or by taking “the Tube”.Our time in London flew by.
Before we knew it, it was time to go to the airport on July 10 where we met up with our fellow travellers Teresa, Lorraine and Ron at the airport. They would be joining us for the Botswana portion of our adventure. It was great to see them at the airport and I could sense the enthusiasm in all of us for the upcoming safari. Teresa and I had been there before and we knew the quality of our guide and the safari company we were going with. We could hardly wait to get on board. We had a long overnight flight from London to Johannesburg. Botswana beckoned.