O.K. so I am minding my business coming home from Turkey during which time I visited many places including Mt. Ararat and the Gobeckli Tepe Temple. And I open the International Herald Tribune and there is a picture of a life-sized ark— already built and floating in Dordrecht in the Netherlands. Who knew? I thought Noah landed in the Urartu mountain ranges somewhere, but apparently not. Or perhaps he went into the cruise lines venture after the flood, as this boat is a tourist attraction complete with animals in the hold. Then I got to Chicago and what was emblazoned on the front cover of the latest issue of National Geographic? The Gobeckli Tepe Temple. Sometimes coincidences are just too coincidental to be coincidental if you catch my drift. Sometimes God is about as subtle as a sledge hammer. Yes, I will write about these things Lord, just don’t ask me to build an ark or a temple.
So let me tell you the story about this ark made of pine (not gopher wood, whatever that is) and sealed with fire retardant varnish spray to satisfy to the local officials (not pitch). How big is this boat? Oh about 450 feet long. Picture a football field and a half. And its three stories high (picture an upscale Target store). And its more than a 100 feet wide. And its all the brain child of Johann Huibers who wants to help the economy of depressed Dordrecht. This ark is due to be finished in July or a bit later. The ark comes in at a svelt 2,950 tons!! Not counting the contents!
As one would expect, the neighbors who live near this dock have complained. Not to worry the next flood will wash their troubles away, shoot it will wash them away. Local curmudgeon and 42 year resident Gerrit Kruthoof complains the ark is obscuring his usually splendid view of an old rusted out shipyard area. He has not lodged a formal complaint because, get this, all the homes there are going to be destroyed to make way for a new residential development ( word of advice to the town council— you might want to consult the global warming experts first, as the Netherlands is losing land at an alarming rate to rising tides, though not a flood of Biblical proportions as of yet).
Mr Huibers has in mind that the ark be a teaching tool, with panoramas about the story of Noah using live animals (as Bill Cosby once asked— ‘Who will clean up the poop in the bottom of the ark after such a foray?’). The point is to teach the increasingly secular Dutch— yes there is a Bible, and yes there is a God.
Actually, this is not Mr. Huibers first foray in this direction. In 2004 he built a 70 meter long replica of the ark, charged to see it, 600,000 people showed up over some months, and he made a cool million. He has bigger hopes for this one— namely making a popular enough ark that it will employ many locals, on the theory that ‘a rising tide floats all boats’, or something like that. Naturally he will want to hire them two by two, and it will be a Dutch treat! The town fathers have decided instead of building the dikes higher, they are going to ‘go with the flow’ as Noah did and make more room for the rivers and canals.
So, gentle reader, you see if Mr. Huibers can do it, so could Noah. I suspect however the original Noah had less zoning ordinances and fire safety rules to deal with. Stay tuned for my further adventures at Mr. Ararat.