Monday, April 25, 2005

Gulf Trip - Monday Day 3

Gulf Coast Exploritorum

Before the museum we thought we'd have a little lunch on our balcolny. The plates, tablecloth and wine glasses provided by my folks in the picnic backpack.

The big highlight for today was to be the Exploritorum. It has the traveling Dead Sea Scrolls. We were there yesterday but the place was packed with all kinds of bus tours from churches all around.

We decided that since we'd be around today, we'd go a weekday. The tour had those self-guided headsets. You punch in a number from the display and it tells you all about what you could easily read yourself. They even had "family numbers" which was a juvenile version of the same.

They brought over some fragments of the dead sea scrolls for viewing in the U.S. All told they could fit inside my Boxster trunk, they were so tiny. Banners with translations hung from the ceiling. There were all kinds of explanations about the Essenes who were a small, strict group. They focused on some of their traditions which were included in some of the scrolls and who, history tells us, were the keepers of these writings. Here are a few details:

100,000 fragments
900 documents (when they pieced them together)
200 documents were Bible scripture
Dated 1,000 years before the other writing we had at the time
They didn't vary in content at all.
All books of the Hebrew text represented except Esther.
Twelve caves in all found
Cave #4 contained the most Bible fragments
Cave #1 contained all 66 chapters of Isaiah
589-539 B.C.E was when the Bible was divided into 54 parashiyot (paragraphs)

The most disappointing thing was the fact that while the narrator spoke of the beauty of the divine name and how often it appeared in the texts, not once did he say what it was. Yet it appears in most Bibles as Jehovah or Yahweh. Never, anywhere did either of those names come up.

The other disappointment was that the focus was on the traditions of the Essenes, who were a very small group of people. Not a lot of focus was given to the Bible texts themselves. I did pick up a picture of a fragment of Deuteronomy that's pretty cool.

We has a brief snack in the snack bar and bantered some with the girls. She gave us some great tasting slivers of almonds from the A & M Nut House around the corner. We later pick up some of our own.

We ate at an Italian restaurant, Tratoria, in Point Clear on Sections Road. Jeff, our waiter, dressed in black, was a quick wit with an edge. For example, a couple came in and commented on the fact that he gave them a table along and between two empty tables. He quipped: "Don't get too used to it, we'll be filling those in real soon."

When we asked what he would do if we didn't like the food he's recommending, he said: "That's okay, I haven't eaten my dinner yet."

Since the restaurant had just turned new management (although it's been there forever) they had a BYOB sign. We brought some Greek wine I'd never tried. It's called NEMEA Haggipaulu Aghiorgitiko 2000 (yeah, I know, I can't pronounce it either), but it was smooth, gentle and much like a good red zin. Very nice. We called Jeff over to try some. He really liked it too. He was present without being invasive. When we ordered the Terimesu he brought us a piece that was 4" x 6" and 4" high. It was excellent Terimesu.

We liked the NEMEA so much we went back to the wine store and bought the only two bottles left.

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