Most of my best experiences in NYC last week were on my own or with one or two people, which is quite often the case at large conferences. It just becomes overwhelming otherwise. The lovely and talented Miranda Neville was witness to one of my rare forays into the wonderful world of alcohol, I met Maggie Robinson for the first time (and thanks, Maggie, for dealing with my a/v problem) and Pam Rosenthal and I hung out together.

I also had a solo and messy experience eating a falafel sandwich on Times Square, one of the more glorious meals of the event (which isn’t saying much).

But the best thing I did was to visit the Discovery Pompeii Exhibit which was really spectacular. And guess what, it’s related to the Regency! Of course it is … the site was first excavated in the mid eighteenth century and, well, need I say any more than Pompeian red?

It was such a pleasure to be able to view the exquisite wall paintings and realize how they influenced Georgian design.

Because it was Discovery, the exhibit was a little overorchestrated, with sound effects and so on, but it did include a very well done movie of the timeline of the day of the eruption, which I watched twice.

To keep things PG, the exhibit contained a reconstruction of a room in a brothel (with dire warnings outside) which looked squeaky clean and more like a room in a nunnery, other than the erotic fresco, which I didn’t find did a whole lot for me. Had impressionable young people entered the room they would have received a lesson in bedmaking.

What fascinated me were the details–of the frescoes, of the fountain studded with mosaics and seashells, and the glimpses of everyday life: graffiti, a loaf of bread, a jar with fish sauce, the beautifully preserved cosmetic sets. The casts of the figures–there were about a dozen including a dog and a pig–were touching and pitiful, particularly one of a toddler whose features you could see quite clearly. I hope it’s true that death was instantaneous, but so many of them were people fleeing who dropped in their tracks; think how terrified they must have been. They didn’t even know Aetna was a volcano–the word didn’t exist–although apparently earth tremors were quite frequent there.

Did you catch this exhibit? I believe its only stop is at Discovery Times Square. Or have you seen any other museum exhibits that you enjoyed recently?

p.s. you can enter a contest at Goodreads to win a copy of TELL ME MORE, my contemporary erotic romance which comes out in a couple of weeks.