i’ve said it before (i think) and i’ll say it again: i will always be a geek at heart. i love museums just as much as some people are crazy about shoes. it’s starting to feel abnormal, to be honest. same way shoeaholics probably sometimes feel about their seeming addiction when they run out of storage space. a girl can never have enough shoes, so they say. and my brain can never have enough knowledge because, see, the thing is, while i have the propensity to accumulate a lot of information about whatever stuff that interests me, just as easily i tend to forget it. which is why i’d make a very good person to tell secrets or gossips to. i’m worse than dory. you know, that forgetful fish in finding nemo?
speaking of fishes, i visited the auckland museum while i was in the city several months ago. lucky for me, they had this free exhibition at the time.
about creatures you find under the ocean which have now been stored in glass jars filled with formalin to preserve them for generations to come. weird-looking creatures. creatures that are better left alone in the deepest depth of the ocean because they look frightening from up close. or maybe it’s just the angle their faces are squished inside the jars. not very photogenic but very good visuals, nonetheless.
the thing i liked most about the exhibit was that it was very interactive. it wasn’t just a gallery of specimens to look at, you know? there was variety. it would take a while before you actually get bored although i got bored after about 15 or 20 minutes because, well, the whole under-the-sea thing wasn’t exactly my thing. if it were an aquarium or something, i’d probably wanna stay for hours. but then again, if it were an aquarium with nothing but those scary-looking creatures, i doubt if i’d still feel the same. no offense to those creatures.
upstairs was another kind of exhibit. still free, of course. there you’d see the more normal-looking sea creatures — starfish, squid, different kinds of shells, etc. in short, things that are commonly encountered back home in the philippines, whether in the market, on the beach, or on dinner tables.
i just found it sad that the things that filipino children play with on the beach are the very same things that many children in new zealand perhaps only see on glass displays. indeed, it’s more fun in the philippines, yeah?
further along the track was an exhibit dedicated to volcanoes, especially with new zealand having more than their fair share of it. according to this website, there are 48 volcanoes in auckland alone which means that the city is basically sitting on a landmine. at least that’s what it felt to me while reading stories about past volcanic eruptions and experiencing the simulation of one in a room that shook for about a minute just to give people an idea of what it would be like, with the subsequent earthquake and all. (which was nothing compared to the one i myself experienced last october. for real. hands down, it was one of the scariest moments of my life.)
volcanic eruptions, apparently, has been happening on and off for ages. interesting enough, in 1978 (if you find it hard to read the caption on the upper right hand corner) an archeologist and her team discovered a trail of footprints in tanzania made by two members of an early human species walking upright side by side 3,600,000 years ago. the footprints were preserved in a layer of volcanic ash, probably fleeing from a volcanic eruption.
by the looks of it, i reckon they fled in the most chillaxed way possible. they might as well have been walking on a park, mate. (and yes, i say that with my fake australian accent. lol.)
now this was rather disturbing. the cast of a victim from pompeii. one of the many who died whose bodies were covered in ashes which eventually hardened into rock; the decomposed bodies leaving behind cavities in the rock. these cavities were then filled with plaster 1700 years later when the town was excavated, creating casts in the shape of bodies. this guy was found slumped against a wall, hands drawn up into his mouth possibly to prevent breathing in ash or poisonous gas. either that or he was simply praying. (i would, too, given the circumstances.)
catastrophic as they are, volcanoes do get a bad rep. BUT in the grand scheme of things, they’re not all that bad. they were designed that way, just as everything about nature is set to perform specific tasks and functions to check-and-balance one another, so to speak. it just so happens that volcanoes work on a global scale. the kind that makes a huge impact on the entire planet.
there were other areas of interest at the museum too. exhibits from foreign cultures, etc.
and then of course, there was the maori culture which bears some similarities to the filipino indigenous culture in terms of tribal idols sculpted on wood.
for the maoris, though, reptiles are highly regarded symbols of darkness and death, thus they were greatly feared. the carving of a man swallowing a lizard represents the defeat of evil. the jaws of the tiger shark represent some god who’s a personification of sharks.
it’s pretty interesting, the maori culture. too bad my camera died on me at this point.