I once spent an afternoon walking through Egypt's National Museum. Of course, a mere afternoon wasn't nearly enough time to explore the vast collection of treasures. I did make sure to go down into the basement where the mummies were kept in a temperature-controlled room. Words—at least mine—cannot express how I felt walking among the preserved bodies, which ranged in all stages of wrapping. Some were completely covered, some partially wrapped, and others on full display. The preservation of their skin, even after thousands of years, was surreal. Their original hair still framed their faces. The room was dark and silent and cool, with a tangible sense of awe and respect emanating from the few people allowed in at one time to move amongst the bodies of former royalty and their servants.
An entire upper floor housed King Tut's treasures, which I could have spent days walking through. When I was a little kid living in Haines, Alaska, my elementary school began raising money to prepare for a huge field trip. We were going to take the ferry to Washington, where we would attend the King Tut exhibit that was traveling the world and would be settled in Seattle for a couple months. We spent an entire school year washing cars, selling baked goods, and gathering spare change to save up for the big event scheduled the following spring. My family moved away from Haines before the field trip, and I missed that fabulous experience. You can imagine how thrilled I was to finally, decades later, view what I had once worked so hard to get near. I almost did a happy dance right there at King Tut's famous golden sarcophagus, seeing with my own eyes what I had previously only viewed in pictures and studied in books.
The rest of the Museum offers up incredible relics of an advanced society—jewelry, tools, headdresses, weaponry—that make the beaded necklaces and carved masks of our Alaskan Native museum look downright primitive. It isn't just a matter of materials—gold, exquisite woods, precious stones—but an ingenuity of design and execution. Really stunning. The thought of that amazing collection being vandalized or stolen makes me sick to my stomach, but each night I watch on the news as violence in the streets of Cairo threatens to spill over the fence and through the doors of Egypt's National Museum.
People are most important. Quality of life, freedom, peace. I know this. But oh, what a loss to the world, should the contents of that museum be destroyed.
Dinner last night: Asian chicken salad
Exactly one year ago:
Exactly two years ago: