Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Butterflies & Bones & Barfi

Anyone will tell you that a day begun with Columbian pastries must end with Indian sweets. That, says our friend Arvid, is Queens! We've been staying the past few days with Arvid -- whose comic book series Rex Mundi has recently been optioned by Johnny Depp -- and his girlfriend Robyn -- who ran for city council in NY last year for the Green Party (and who can rock out on the fake guitar). Two wacky fun smart kids.

We went to the Museum of Natural History yesterday with Arvid and it is AWESOME, from the first glimpse of the dinosaurs and murals in the lobby, to the huge blue whale, to the tiniest tree shrew, and everything in between. It's a place that unhinges your jaw and makes you gulp with wonder at this magnificent planet that we are destroying as fast as we can. We didn't begin to see everything, but some highlights were the Butterfly Pavilion, with 500-600 fluttering gems whizzing by your head; the Hall of Biodiversity that juxtaposes species of everything against each other in a dazzling display of Wow! This planet is SO COOL! Then there were the minerals, which I never really thought were that interesting before but they ARE. And there's Ahnighito, found in Greenland: the biggest meteorite in any museum in the world. It's not that big, but it's 34 tons of solid iron, which is so heavy the support beams go down all the way into the bedrock of Manhattan. (Interesting to note, however, if it was made of gold, it would be twice as heavy. Did you know gold is twice as heavy as lead? I did not.

Other cool (and sad) facts about gold:

- Only 5 out of a billion atoms of rock in the earth's crust are gold.
- the total amount of gold ever mined in all of human history would fill only 60 tractor trailers. Can you believe that?

And here's something to blow your mind:
- The leading theory of the origin of the moon is that it was created by a glancing collision between the young Earth and an object the size of Mars. WOW! Something the side of Mars hit Earth!

Last time Jim and I came to NY we went to the Met, which was cool, but this was cooler and more memorable. I don't think we'll have time on this trip to see any more museums, but this was a perfect choice. After, we came back to Queens and had Indian food for dinner, and then went to a little Indian sweet shop for "barfi." I have no idea what food substance this was made of, but it was very interesting, in a good way.

And today we are shifting ourselves and our luggage over the Manhattan, going to the Penguin offices, and who knows what else. Have a fabulous day, all!


Alexandra S said...

I love natural history museums! I will have to go to that one someday I hope. I hope you are having a wonderful day there and I can't wait to hear how it went! In the meantime, furniture is on the move. I won't say whom's.

Kim G. said...

It sounds like a perfect day and a great experience. Thanks for sharing it with us! And the facts about gold are so interesting - makes me want to take better care of the little bit I have.

Frida World said...

I love natural history museums but am always a little bit creeped out at the same time. It goes back to a childhood fascination and smulataneous revulsion in the Egyptian room and the Auckland Museum - where there was an actual mummy on display.
Incredibly cool and exciting to me, but still - that was an actual dead person and I couldn't help wondering if he/she liked being gawped at by noisy kids all day long. I love and hate the butterfly and bird room for the same reasons... amazing, fascinating, beautiful but all DEAD. Mixed feelings? Yes.
Have fun in Manhattan!

megg said...

Hey - so glad you are having such a good time!! I just love butterfly pavilions. Then make me grin like a goofball! Good luck at Penguin!


[a} said...

You're so random! :) I had no idea about the Mars thing, or the gold thing...or anything.

You can be proud of the fact that your blog has been an educational experience for one out-of-the-know high schooler.

Burfi's made outta milk and sugar, basically. Did you have the foil-covered ones? Now that's one weird food experience..