Hold Onto Your Hats

We went to the British Museum Friday morning. Neither of us had ever been there and we figured it would be a good thing to do on our first dreary, cold, rainy, snowy day in London. We took a very expensive taxi ride in awful traffic and once through “security,” we headed directly to the coatcheck.

ON OUR WAY TO THE SECURITY BOOTH. ONCE INSIDE…
GUARD: “DO YOU HAVE ANY SCISSORS OR KNIVES IN YOUR BAG?”
SAN GERALDO: “NO.”GUARD: “OK. YOU CAN GO IN.”
WELL, THAT DIDN’T MAKE US FEEL VERY SECURE.

As we began to hand over our outer garments, the woman behind the counter said, “It’s very cold in the museum today; you might want to keep your coats.”

We didn’t think that would be necessary and didn’t want to drag our coats all over the sprawling museum, so San Geraldo wore his hooded sweatshirt and, since I had three warm, fine layers of silk, cotton, and wool, I just held onto my scarf.

We froze! The Great Hall, of course, isn’t heated and it leads to many of the galleries, so the drafts were significant. We thought we’d have a snack, but the cafes around the Great Hall weren’t enclosed and the patrons shivered. We decided we’d have something in the restaurant upstairs but that was also open to the Great Hall and we saw hooded and even gloved diners trying to have a meal. So we explored the museum and went to a nearby pub for lunch.

Despite the cold, we loved the museum. (Click the images to make everything, including the Great Hall, greater.)

THE UNBELIEVABLY GRAND GREAT HALL.
THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE GREAT HALL.
LOOKING DOWN AT THE C-C-C-C-C-CAFE.
I WISH I HAD BOUGHT THIS BOOK.
SOME OF THE ELGIN MARBLES.
(THE ILLUSTRATION FOR THE PREVIOUS BOOK?)
APPRECIATING THE BEAUTY OF THE MUSEUM’S TILE FLOOR.
SAN GERALDO TOLD ME THAT, AT FIRST GLANCE AND AT AN ANGLE,
HE THOUGHT THE SIGN SAID “CLITORIS SHOP.”
DON’T GET EXCITED. IT’S NOT THE ORIGINAL FROM 450 B.C.
ONLY A 2ND-CENTURY ROMAN REPRODUCTION.
A GREAT BOOK DISPLAY.
THEY WOULDN’T SELL ME THE BOOK ON THE LEFT.
I JUST LOVED THIS ONE.

Dudo’s Ha-Ha Moment

The American Wild West is a popular theme at fairs and kiddie parks in Southern Spain. There’s currently a ride on a nearby plaza complete with horses circling Native American totem poles, cacti — And a camel.

For a time there were camels brought to the American West from Tunisia, Greece, Malta, Turkey, and Egypt — beginning in 1855 and lasting only into the 1860s.

That said, I don’t think the designer of this particular ride was aiming for historical accuracy, especially considering the ride was called “Far West” instead of “Wild West.” I’m not quite sure where in the world the Far West actually is.

When I got home from my walk I told Dudo what I saw. When I mentioned the name of the ride, he burst out laughing. (Click any image for a closer look.)

THE WILD WEST?
CACTI, PALM TREES, A TALKING TREE… AND A CAMEL.
DUDO, FASCINATED AS I EXPLAINED ABOUT THE CAMELS.
AND AFTER I TOLD HIM THE NAME OF THE RIDE.

If only Dudo could carry a tune…

Ruth Buzzi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl2TYCoMOQ8

Uncle Murray, the Kushite King

My father’s best friend was born into a family with the last name of Kuchlowitz. I’m sure he was grateful when the name was changed to something more melifluous. But, still he spent the rest of his life known as “Kush” by any of the friends who knew him way back when.

In Yiddish, “kush” means “kiss.” My telling you about Kush is only slightly related to this post. We adored him. My sister, Dale, and I knew him as “Uncle Murray” — to the eternal frustration of his wonderful wife, Selma. “Why is he always “Uncle” and I’m just “Selma”? I never knew why. We loved her, too. Kush had probably simply told us to call him “Uncle.” (When I was 6, I asked my mother if Uncle Murray was her brother or my father’s brother.) But back to Madrid… While visiting Madrid’s ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod, I thought of Kush. Read on and you’ll understand why.

TEMPLE OF DEBOD.
(CLICK ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)

The construction of the Temple of Debod began (as a single-roomed chapel) in southern Egypt in the 2nd century B.C. by Adikhalamani, the “Kushite” king (and there you have it… why I thought of Kush). The Kushite kingdom was established around 1000 B.C. and existed until around 350 A.D.

BEFORE IT WAS MOVED FROM EGYPT.

In 1960, when the Aswan Dam was built, several ancient sites were threatened by flooding. As a “thank you” to Spain for its response to UNESCO’s call for aid, Egypt donated and moved the Temple of Debod to its current site in Madrid in 1968.

End of history lesson. On to Kush and the Kushite temple.

GUADALUPE, AFTER LEAVING KUSH’s THE KUSHITE’s TEMPLE.
(ALWAYS TEXTING OR TALKING WITH ONE OF HER TWO DELIGHTFUL DAUGHTERS.)
KUSH THE KING (PRE-SELMA) WITH THE DOWAGER DUCHESS.
CONEY ISLAND, SUMMER 1947.  ANY 12 RIDES, $1.00!!!
My father serving his 2nd stint in the Army, Kush (back from the Navy) “looked after” my mother.
My grandmother told me: “It wasn’t nice the way those two fooled around.”