Monday, September 7, 2009

7 Sept, 09 - 9 hours

My elective course, British Painting from Holbein to the 20th Century, started today. Our first museum visit for the course is to the British Museum, home to the Rosetta Stone and Elgin Marbles. I studied about the looting of the Parthenon Marbles during my freshman year at UCI. I was fascinated by the legality and the morality of it ever since, and I was thrilled to finally see it. I still can't decide either the British Museum should keep them or return them to Greece. However, I do feel that the marbles were protected from further damages and even the possibility of them disappearing thanks to Lord Elgin, who acquired them "legally" during the time from the Ottoman Empire.

We also walked through some galleries holding Egyptian art. One of these galleries is the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gallery. Raymond Sackler is Arthur M. Sackler's brother; the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. that houses a nice collection of Asian art in D.C. is named for Arthur. I was a nice surprised to see that the Sackler family has influence in the U.K.

After our museum visit, my friend and I went around the city. We came across THE umbrella store that I had just told my friend about the night before. James Smith & Sons sells hundreds, probably thousands, of umbrellas in addition to canes. It was amazing! But since I am a broke college student I could not afford the £145 deep blue collapsible umbrella with a leather handle. I left the store sad.

Then we made our way to Bond Street for some window shopping. Along the way, we had some good snacks: cream puff from Beard Papa's and macadamia nuts & white chocolate cookie from Ben's Cookies. Then the greatest surprise yet so far happened. I found a Laduree boutique! The boutique was plastered with gold colored paint. It was like a cake of desserts! And on top of that, I got some truffles from Charbonnel et Walker. I was happy and my wallet was happy. They are self-indulgence that reasonable prices.

Since Harrod's wasn't too far from where we were, we took the tube to Knightsbridge. (We were going to take the bus but my Oyster Card was out of fund.) Harrod's is outrageous. Outrageous! We went to the Kid's Floor to discover Pet Kingdom where they sell Siamese cats, gerbils, and hamsters. The Gentleman's Luxury Toilet had an attendant who passed out paper towels, a fine collection of fragrance for you to sample, and a water fountain with cups to quench your thirst. And there is an incredible collection of designer clothing...for kids. John Galliano, Dior, Moncler, Energie, Barbour, Armani all come in kid's size.

 Passed by the Ritz on the way to the tube.

I finished the day at Sainsbury's buying only groceries that were on sale. Most useful purchase of the day: 160 page recycled paper notebook.

My messy side of the desk that I share with my roommate.


Sandy said...

Alex, your British adventures look so cool! When are you going to be stateside again?

Alex Lai said...

I will be back in mid-December. What about you? Thanks for reading my blog!