Thursday, April 10, 2008

Body Worlds 2, and a day in Baltimore

Pretty fantastic. This post may be a little gross for my weaker readers.

We settled on Body Worlds as the day's event. Due to a late start, we didn't make the Aquarium for stop #2.

I wish I could put in to words the effect of the exhibit. It was extremely interesting. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of this exhibit, check out the web site. I can give you a non-scientific explanation with reference links to help fill in the parts I don't know, and don't care to explain.

Through a process called plastination, which was created by Dr. Gunther von Hagens, this exhibit was created using real human bodies. Every single tendon, muscle, ligament, bone, hair follicle, organ, etc. has been willingly (controversy here) donated by its previous owner. Because most of this happened in China, there is a lot of speculation that these bodies--at least some of them--were not acquired in legal/ethical/moral ways. But that's not important to me, particularly. Maybe I'm cold and heartless. But I think the way they are being used justifies some questionable practices, as long as no one was murdered or tortured to create this experience.

So these bodies are dissected and manipulated to exhibit all the various aspects of the human body. Each system of the body is displayed by itself and in combination with the various other systems. You get the circulatory and the nervous systems, as well as the skeleton and muscles in various stages of life, health, movement, etc. Some of the bodies were clearly athletes and are well built and maintained. There are other displays showing the effects of cirrhosis on the liver (too much drinking), smoking and coal mining on the lungs (apparently, a pack of cigarettes a day deposits a coffee cup worth of tar in your lungs each year). There are cancerous lungs, enlarged hearts, kidneys riddled with cysts. All of these 'items' are preserved using the plastination technique linked above.

And obviously, this exhibit is not for the faint of heart (no pun intended). The birth exhibit was a little strange. There were fetus's from every stage of development--the embryo on up to a whole baby. One was still in the womb of its mother, who was dissected and opened so that the entire baby was visible inside of her.

The only thing that got me--and those of you who know me well know this about me--was the prosthetic body parts on display. Some of the bodies were fitted (not sure if it was pre- or post-mortem) with artificial hips and knees, rods in their bones, plates in their skulls, and pacemakers. I don't do well with that. Any unnatural addition to the body gets me a little uncomfortable feeling. I think that I'm going to need knee replacements when I get older, so it was a little morbid to see what that is going to look like. Fingers are crossed though, hoping for the best.

Strangely enough, after spending three hours in the exhibit taking everything in, we were starving. So we went to PF Changs in the inner harbor and dined at the bar. We shared some seared Ahi tuna and chicken lettuce wraps (hippyish but delicious, better than CPK's). Shared entrees were the Chang's spicy chicken and the Singapore street noodles, which came with chicken and shrimp mixed in. The Patron margaritas were on point, and the dessert was phenomenal. Next time you're at PF Changs, ask your server about their eight new mini desserts (the directions on the dessert menu tell you to do it) 'cause they are amazing.

We decided it would be a margarita night from then on, so we hopped around back in Annapolis to a couple different spots. Mexican Cafe first, to break in a first timer. Then, Tsunami. Ryan, who I've known for ages and run in to just about every time I go out...and is the younger brother of one of Liz's old best friends, was bartending.

After that, it was home and in bed to wake up for a wine tasting for Carpaccio. That will be another post.


Lucy said...

I was looking up images of the body works and your ugly ass was on the second page of the search....weird

Lucy said...

by the way this is will amos on my girlfriends account...didnt know i wasnt on my account