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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mummy Mia!

California Science Center
Location: 700 State Dr, Los Angeles California Science Center (next to USC and LA Sports Coliseum)
Entertainment: IMAX 3D Ramsy and other Ancient Mummies + Exhibit Ticket + Access to all other exhibits (Fade, Air and Space Gallery, and Ecosystems)
Entertainment Cost: $25 (Includes Movie ticket + Exhibit)
Food: Little Tokyo's Shihue Cafe = Gyoza, Katsudon, Nabeyaki Udon, Koika, and Miso Soup + Asahi
Food Cost: $41 thanks to an awesome hubby named T-Bone

It seemed like a scene straight out of Aliens 3, where Ellen Ripley discovers the genetic lab that has bred failed clones and where she finds a degenerate version of herself laying half lucid on the lab table, begging her to end her suffering. It was morbid, macabre, and yet you can't help but stare (while subconsciously holding your breath in between reading the information on the plaque and staring at what  looks like a severely burnt victim). And when you are looking at a fetus mummy frozen in the passage of time, the mind plays tricks on the present moment--for you are telling yourself that this alien looking specimen only 4 feet away separated by glass is another Hollywood prop, but that other, more insane part of your brain, is making you realize that this specimen is all organic, who had a soul once upon a millennium(s) ago.

But for some of you who don't like your mummies well done, there are other types of mummies that are relatively of a more tender age and fashion--Some were naturally preserved from ice freezes, bogs, closed spaces that lacked oxygen, and the result was a shriveled beef jerky version of a dog, weasel, cat, jackal, and other critters that were preserved by nature's divine calculation.

Witnessing the many mummies on display is like taking a glimpse into a time portal, just a peak into the specimen's life story. We can only surmise what kind of adventure, what quality of life, what dreams or ambitions, this once human ancestor eons ago experienced. Yet it's this very necessity for the human brain to make up, imagine, and wonder the unknown, for the schema to fit, that we become fascinated with the story behind the relic--with the many hands exchanged, places it went, many feats to overcome: extreme weather, ancient methods of transportion, tomb raiders, plane rides, trains, science labs, and many other infinite decisions upon decisions until it is here before us now, encapsulated by an argon secured plexus glass for curious modern man to witness. 

This entity that was once alive thousands of years ago is now a spectacle. The idea that one day our flesh can be immortalized in the hands of future science is even more macabre. A contemporary version of Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado--an ending befitting to any one or more of these once human bodies, the exhibition masks the sheer horror of it all through the guise of scientific exploration. Right when we walked in, as if to prep us through this dark journey, the exhibit's introduction outlined the purpose of restoring and poking into these ancient flesh and bones by entertaining the possibility of finding cures to modern diseases, for if we compare the mummies genetic code with that of modern humans, we just might crack the code to curing cancer, reversed aging, vaccine to malaria, and that today's scientific breakthroughs can procure for human kind.

True terror is witnessing to what depths mankind, through time and across space, will go through to preserve the soul. The ancient Egyptians believed that through the embalming of the flesh, the soul is able to keep its original shape in the next lifetime, and that your immortalization equals that of how many people on this earth will remember you. There was even a piece of papyrus paper with hieroglyphic directions on how to deal with the many monsters in passage we today identify as purgatory. Called the Book of the Dead, this road map to the afterlife was believed to be essential for all souls trying to cross through. The ancient priests who performed the ritualization of mummification would probably turn over their tombs if they knew where their Gods are now. But then again, the exhibitionists justify this as what the Ramsay and other Pharaohs would have wanted--to be remembered in the flesh.

You will walk out of the exhibition either feeling numb from the shock of such alien relics or a lingering sense of fallibility for being so delicately human. Either way, you'd probably come to a conclusion of being cremated instead of buried. Whether you find it fun or morbidly fascinating, it was definitely an eye opening experience.

Afterwards, we went to Little Tokyo about 15 minutes drive away to eat Lunner (Lunch + Dinner = Lunner). We wanted to go to the best Shabu Shabu place in Downtown, but it was unfortunately closed this whole week (Guess the owners deserve to take a few vacations after its long term success). The good news is that there is no such thing as a bad restaurant in Little Tokyo. Littered with many possibilities, we decided to tryout a new restaurant, Suehiro Cafe Suehiro Cafe on Urbanspoon, sandwiched between two locally famous Ramen shops, Daikokuya and Mr. Ramen.

The flavor of the miso is probably one of the best in town, the concoction between salt, miso paste, sesame, in amiable harmony. Gyoza crispy and not too oily, complimented by a garlic, chili oil, and ponzu sauce that satiates the watering mouth of a hungry beast. The best dish was the koika (Japanese style calimari), it was breaded with a fluffy batter, since the lightness of the skin fully accentuated the chewiness of the baby squid. It was perfectly salted with the tang of lemon spritz, best served alongside a cool refreshing prefrosted glass of Asahi. 
The Katsudon was plentiful and fulfilling, but nothing out of the extraordinary. The Nabeyaki was a little disappointing, for it lacked the flavor that a vegetable filled bowl of hot udon should give. The tempura was already sogging up by the time it was served and the portions of vegetable assortments was not worth the 2 dollar price difference if you were just to order a regular vegetable udon.

T-Bone also bought me a beautiful Yukata, getting ready for the upcoming summer festival, going on in August! TBA!!

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