Saturday, December 6, 2008

London I

Arrived in London sometime mid-day yesterday (friday) after a reasonable 10 hour flight (if such a flight can ever be reasonable). Took the train and tube to the area around the British Museum and checked into my room. The place, "Royal National" is clearly a backpacker/traveler kind of place since they refused to check me in at 1:15 and when 2:00 rolled around 500 people surged to reception to check in. The place is caverneous but not in the way that might make it seem royal - cavernous in the sense of a maze of tiny halls with 1000s of doors leading into tiny little dorm rooms. There easily could be 20,000 people in this hotel. I'm only here until sunday when I move to the Travistock hotel - but that turns out to be a different side to the same building. Oh well - its clean and they have stewed tomatoes and beans for breakfast. Oh, and free wifi in the pub downstairs (where I am right now).

Im trying to make arrangements to see the original notes of Katherine Routledge that are held at the British Museum. My bloke Ethan was going to set this up but his 1.5 year old daughter keeps him pretty sleepless and busy these days. Ill forge it on my own. First step: barrage the place with emails (its Saturday so I doubt calling will be effective). Fortunately all the email address are on the BM website so I was able send off missives to the entire Oceania staff. Next step on monday will be to do some calling and then maybe some door knocking. For the latter, I am not sure where I would start -- the building is massive and fort like so I might have to wrestle some beefeater to the ground to gain access to the place. I better train.

I'm sitting in the pub right now planning my day. I actually have little to do other than finish the damn presentation for the workshop next week. I have the paper, mind you, but nothing to stand up in front to talk about. Im hoping my copious graphs and figures will serve as the base of that talk. So a little later Ill probably do something with that. Until then, I dunno - perhaps a bitter or a tall glass of some obscure cider. They seems to have all the best cider behind the bar in fridges - in bottles. I suppose this is how they are fermented - in the bottle. Well, maybe - anyways, got to get me some of that. Also a scone. With clotted cream (cream tea, Ethan tells me).

At the same time I need to ignore the raft of email that I got that describes the newest offense by the cultural anthropologists to archaeology - this time a vote to prohibit us from teaching graduate students. Bizarre. I guess we must be too good. or something. Also they continue to drag their feet on the BA - no vote, no discussion, no movement. I know they want me to go ahead and leave CSULB - Ive been told as much - but at some point, what is too much? Mmmm... that bitter looks good right about now -- its kind of 11AM...

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