This has been a busy Memorial Day weekend.
I will look back on it in a few months and remember the sun; the laughter; the music; a young Egyptian king with a gold fetish; and our friends.
It all started in downtown Seattle at the brand-new King Tut exhibit. We were lucky to get tickets. This is the hottest show in town. It is supposed to focus on the great Egyptian Pharaohs, and young King Tutankhamun. For months, I have heard people mention “King Tut.” — “King Tut is coming to Seattle in the spring!“
Wait. “King… Tut????” It is “King T.u.t.a.n.k.h.a.m.u.n.” to you, ladies and gentlemen!
Ah, the infamous American informality…
On Saturday, the exhibit was crowded. The first half was devoted to Egyptian artifacts and included informative placards about the great Pharaohs. We saw a lot of this…
All excellent. But what everyone really came to see was “King Tut,” a young king who died mysteriously at the age of 19, was hurriedly buried and almost fell off Egyptian history books until his tomb and remains were discovered by Englishman Howard Carter in 1922.
Even though most people could name at least a couple of Egyptian pharaohs or queens, “King Tut” stands apart as a shining star in American popular culture.
After all, actor/writer/producer/musician Steve Martin famously mentioned the young king during a SNL show in the late 1970s. Have you heard the [silly] song?
As we were plowing our way through the crowd and strollers, waiting patiently for other visitors to move on so we could get closer to the displays, anticipation grew: Where was “King Tut’s” den? His mummy and sarcophagus? His treasures? The rooms were getting darker. On the wall, giant screens showed old black and white photos of the original Carter expedition, as Harrison Ford‘s deep voice created the perfect atmosphere, evoking mythical adventures and long lost treasures. Finally, the time had come as Indiana announced, in his most melodramatic voice:
|(gratuitous Indiana Jones shot– just because!)|
Well, that part was a bit of a let down. The replica of “King Tut’s” tomb included more artifacts (his bed; personal objects; some jewelry;) more placards detailing how well his mummy had survived the test of time. We learned that the mummy and death mask have never left Egypt, where they can be seen, in the original tomb located in the Valley of the Kings. Dommage… We also learned that like most Egyptians, young “King Tut” loved gold. Look at this fetching photo of the “finger and toe protectors” found on his remains.
|No need for a pedi or mani – ever again!|
|King Tut’s favorite flip flops|
After I overheard a conversation between a father and his 5-year old, involving details about “King Tut’s inner and outer coffins,” “Tut’s mummy,” and “the thieves who raided his tomb early on,” I realized the whole exhibit was a bit on the creepy side and wondered how many youngsters were going to have nightmares that night. Around me, some people commented: “The exhibit was much better in the 1970s…” Finally, after taking one last turn in the dark, a kid shouted: “Yeah! The gift shop! I bet that’s the best part of the whole show!” – He was not entirely wrong. “King Tut” had obviously hired a talented buyer to furnish the shop’s shelves…
|King Tut key ring… sure to make an impression|
|When in Rome…
King Tut baseball
|Perfect headgear for Seattle’s wet weather…|
Next to me, a lady seemed tempted by jewelry replicas. They were magnificent, and fetched several thousand dollars. Instead, being a good mom, she invested in educational material for her children…
|Not your average erasers…|
Seattle’s Pacific Science Center is a fun and interesting place, where education [occasionally] comes free of charge… When I used the restroom after the exhibit, this sign was posted on the stall door:
Once outside, back in broad daylight, everyone became positively giddy with happiness !
|Two fedoras in the hamster wheel!|
For us people [and dog] watchers, the show was endless…
And the sun… Did I mention the sun? It was summer in Seattle this weekend. The Northwest Folklife Festival drew thousands of Seattleites out of their homes. Music? Check.
Gourmet food? Check.
|I have solved the mystery surrounding King Tut’s death:
He ate too many fried Nutella sandwiches!!!
Unique shopping opportunities? Check.
And the fun kept coming during this busy weekend: There were laughs shared with friends; a failed attempt at taking out the new sailboat (will save this one for later;) walks up steep hills; rides in the back of pick trucks; fire pits; antique cars, and last but not least, a birthday celebration involving bagna calda, a delicacy best enjoyed in a garage, doors wide open… Phew. I don’t know about you, but I am beat!