“What is that?”
“I think it’s the Rosetta Stone.” It was hard to tell, because there were at least a hundred people crowded around the glass display case. I checked the British Museum map again. “Yup, it’s the Rosetta Stone.”
We were standing about 10 feet away. There was no line, just a large herd of people pressed together in an extremely small area. We looked at each other, and then plunged in. We waited as the people in the front looked their fill, and then realized that they were stuck and could not get back out.
The crowd backed up half a step, trodding on each others’ toes, the front people slithered through the small pathway into the fresh air, and the crowd surged forward once again. We were pushed inexorably toward the Rosetta Stone by the people around and behind us.
We eventually made it to the front of the crowd, where we admired the intricately carved black rock for 30 seconds before being elbowed out of the way. The Rosetta Stone is an incredible tool for deciphering previously undecipherable hieroglyphs. It’s totally worth standing in line to see.
Alex and I stood together, looking at the map of the museum. “What do you want to see next?” I asked him.
He looked at the people pressed against each other to see the mummies in the nearest chamber and then back at me. “Um…the pub across the street?”
“Right then,” I answered, heading for the front door. “We can come back later when it’s not so crowded.”
He nodded in relief. “Sounds like a plan.”
“You really do need to see the bog man,” I suggested.
“Fine. Can we skip the mummies?”
“It’s OK with me.” The Carlos Museum in Atlanta has a great collection of Egyptian artifacts. As a matter of fact, we had gone to see Ramses I several times before the museum had shipped him back to Egypt. “If you’re sure?”
He shook his head at the people pushing and shoving to see the mummies. “I thought the British were supposed to be so proper. That room’s a mess. We’d see fist fights in the States if we crammed that many people together.”
I had to agree. “We do take our personal space more seriously. Pub it is. And then we’ll come back and fight our way to see Lindow man.”
“OK,” he answered unenthusiastically.
“You’ll like him,” I said bracingly. “He’s a mummy preserved naturally by the elements of a peat bog. The British Museum freeze-dried him to keep him from decomposing after he was taken from the marsh. You know, he’d been tortured before he died. He’d been hit on the head, strangled, and then his throat was cut. And did I mention that they never found his legs? Anthropologists aren’t sure whether he had been executed or murdered or if he was a sacrifice to the gods.”
“You’re weird, Mom.”
“Maybe there won’t be a crowd around him?”
“There won't be a crowd. It sounds disgusting.”
I beamed at him. “Great! Let’s go get something to eat before we see him.”
Alex grimaced. “I’m not hungry anymore, thanks.”
“You’re welcome, love. Don’t you just adore the British Museum?”