Neither the boy or I slept particularly well last night, but we dragged ourselves up and went down to have our British breakfast and then headed over to the British Museum, where we actually live when we’re in London. He copied down Japanese symbols while I waited for headache medicine to kick in.
Which it did–just in time for Afzal to join us for the special exhibit on The Book of the Dead. Beautiful examples of the book–including the longest ever found (at 37 metres). We also learned many spells, including ones for chasing away beetles, crocodiles, and snakes. My favorite, though, is the spell that keeps you from having to subsist only on feces and urine in the afterlife. I’m glad someone thought of that. There are 42 deity names to memorize–you explain to each deity that you haven’t committed a particular sin–”Oh, X, please note that I haven’t poked a badger with a spoon and thus should live on.” You have to memorize the names of six cows to get to eat them in the afterlife, etc. etc.
Life, apparently, was just prepping for this really really big exam. The Book of the Dead was your cheat sheet, which is why you wanted to pay a lot to have it done well (and on new and not recycled papyrus). Many rich people had additional spells inserted from the standard ones–for extra perks I guess.
I’ve been thinking all day about what I would put in the book of the dead. I mean, I would like to not eat feces and urine, but what would I eat in paradise? What animals would I chase away and which ones would I draw near? What games would I take with me? Whom would I want buried with me?
After all these uplifting things, we headed out for Turkish food. Then the boy and I skulked around for a bit before heading over to the other end of town for a play. Alex was turning his nose up at the food offerings, but luckily I saw a certain Portuguese rooster and thus Nando’s saved us from despair.
The play was Joseph K, a revised Kafka piece. It was dark and funny and terribly surreal at the end. The theatre was small, but the audience was engaged. The acting was superb and I’m still thinking about some of the choices–like the use of between scene music and radio clips–so I’m happy.
Back at the hotel before another big day tomorrow.
It was colder today and only promises to become more so. I don’t like this aspect of things, especially since it’s so warm inside all the buildings that I have to strip off (almost) all the layers and then carry them around. Still, I’d rather be cold here than warm in most other places.