Saturday, November 03, 2012

Day in Pompeii

Some know & some don't know the issues that I've been having with my legs the past few years.  To narrow down the story, my legs HURT & its nothing I did, its genetic.  Now that I have my home settled, I decided to get my temple taken care off too.  Anyway isn't that what health insurance is for anyway?   So I have ELAS surgery coming up next week to close down the veins in my legs & rework the circulation. One leg a month with six procedures.  Its simple to understand that I won't be doing a lot of walking until the new year.  Like a last hurrah, I've decided to see the exhibits in our local museums before I start my bedrest.  The first was a the Denver Museum of History & Science- A Day in Pompeii.

I have weird days off, Tuesday & Wednesday.  Great for running errands, not great for hanging out with friends- except my Mum though.  She's been the best companion of late (besides my boyfriend Nicolas) & spending time with her on a regular basis also means that I can help around her house.  If you ever want to choose a great person to go to a museum with, go with my British mother.  They really have dumbed down exhibits lately so that there isn't much information relayed when you go to see the special exhibits.  Shocking since they run around $26 & everyone has the History channel to help them be more informed.   The last time that we went to a museum together was for the Pirates exhibit. She was a British Sea Scout back in the '50s, so while Edgar & I were going around the exhibit she was adding in historical maritime info. After I while I think the other visitors thought that my Mum was a docent because they were following us around & listening in.

The Day in Pompeii exhibit was in two segments. A lifestyle exhibit for the first segment & tragedy in the second.  In the first segment it went over two houses & their belongings, lifestyles & culture.  My mother had been to Pompeii back in the '60s. They had current images of the ruins of Pompeii & she said that the ruins had changed quite a bit since she was there.  Back then she said it was just a bunch of stone ruins & currently they've done more reconstruction.  Is this because of an increase in historical tourism?  Anyway, the Roman sculpture was beautifully preserved.  What I thought was a good conversation piece was the Roman laundromats of the time.  I never thought about bleach before or where it came from. The ancient Romans didn't have it though they wore those white togas.  What is a naturally occurring source of bleach? Urine. First the slaves would work out the stains with a silt bath, then a rinsing bath, then soak the clothes in a urine bath to make them white.  Apparently you could find the local launder by the clay pots left outside the shops for the passerby to pee into.  Then the pots would be brought inside to the pool of pee.  I wonder about the smell & can only think of two answers. A LOT of perfume & incense or its like when you go camping, you just don't notice the campfire smoke.

The second part of the exhibit started with a time elapsed computer animation of the day that Mt Vesuvius erupted.  It was AWESOME (speaking as one that enjoys apocalypse movies)!  I always thought that it BOOM volcano erupts & crazy lava flow kills everyone. Nope, it took a good 24 hrs & most of those killed were so because they thought it would pass like a bad rain storm.  The falling ash & rocks went on until they were driven to the second floor of their houses & when they made a break for it the heat & poisonous gases killed them. Most of the bodies were found on stairwells. 

After the video you entered out to the room of body casts.  When discovered, all of the bodies has since decayed away millenia ago, but there were voids where they once had been.  Anthropologists of the time pour plaster into the voids to get the casts in the exhibit.
This is when the children in the exhibit started crying.  One next to me actual told his grandmother, "I don't want to be here anymore. Take me out of here."  That's the power of history for you.