On Sunday, T and I woke up early, went to breakfast, and headed to Balboa Park to check out the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Natural History Museum. We usually never get up early on Sundays, nor do we go out for breakfast. It’s usually a mid-morning breakfast at home, watching the Travel Channel and going through the Sunday paper. But the Dead Sea Scrolls are only going to be on exhibit through the end of the year, so I wanted to see them before they left.
T apparently had a breakfast place in mind, so we stuffed ourselves silly at Brian’s American Eatery in Hillcrest (right across from the farmers market) and had some good egg dishes and awesome biscuits. Really. I think the biscuits are baked in butter and then brushed with honey. They’re crispy on the outsides, but soft and tender on the insides and you almost don’t even need jam. Yum. It’s a good thing we were going to be walking around a museum, because that was a breakfast to work off.
You can buy tickets for the Dead Sea Scrolls online and pick them up at Will Call, or you can just go to the museum and buy them there. You do have to go through an intense security inspection (open all pockets to your purse, no knives, lighters, markers, highliters, or other damaging instruments, turn your cell phone off, and No Photography anywhere other than the first level) which takes quite a while. In restrospect, we could have saved time by just going in the back entrance and buying tickets there, instead of waiting in the line by the Will Call booth. Plus, then we would have avoided the Crazy Guy who seemed intent on talking to T about the prophets and ritual baths and messiahs. T is probably the last person who would care what the Crazy Guy has to say.
Our tickets were for a 10:45 am admittance, so we had some time to wander through the dinosaur exhibit and watch the huge pendulum swing around. Crazy Guy was at the head of the line to get into the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, talking to other people and actually holding up the rest of the line, but he never moved to go in. I suspect he goes in all the time just to give his prophet and messiah spiel to unsuspecting people.
You start the exhibit with walls of photos of Israel (actually, in line there are pairs of photos showing the similarity between San Diego and Israel – it’s pretty amazing and you don’t always guess which one is which) and the archaeological site. Then it moves into the discovery of the scrolls and the long, painstaking process of piecing them together and translating them. I don’t know how they did it, because it would drive me crazy trying to make something out of those parchment pieces. Downstairs, you get to see the actual portions of the scrolls and their translations. It’s less about religion and more about the people who scribed the scrolls and their beliefs, but their notes also give the impression they had questions concerning their faith. It’s actually very interesting. Plus, how cool is it to see these scrolls that were created hundreds of years B.C.? There is also one scroll made of copper that supposedly leads to treasure, giving directions and measurements in cubits, but no one has found it yet.
After seeing the scrolls on exhibit, there are also some displays going over the evolution of the written bible (now available on iPod!) and how it gets translated ever so differently when going between languages and transcriptions. Certain words and phrases carry such nuances in definition, that it’s really up to the scholar to determine how it is written in each language. Weird, huh?
Oh! In the gift shop, I saw that Chuao Chocolatier has created 3 special bonbons for the exhibit, which you can buy in a 9-piece box. It’s $2 more than their usual 9-piece box, but the flavors sound really interesting. I guess you could call the store to see if they sell them there and if you could just pick up one or two bonbons (because if I was getting a box of them, I’d want as many different flavors as possible – I love Chuao).
Whew! That was just the first half of our day! What did we do after that? Well, it involved snow, but it was only a short walk away…
p.s. – Congratulations to Cami, who won the Handi-Vac! I had the Random Number Generator give me a number between 2 and 8 (because the first two comments were from the same person) and it spit out “3”. I really hope that, even though the rest of you didn’t win, you go to Wal-Mart or Target and just buy one. You’ll be so happy you did. And, due to Scott’s suggestion, I sealed up some sage derby cheese and it seems to be keeping very well.