Monday, September 15, 2008

At the theme park

Things started out normally enough yesterday afternoon. As I left the apartment, my plan was straightforward - head for the Japanese garden in Palermo, in search of a little serenity. An hour later, I felt like I had stumbled into a bad Graham Greene novel. What was I doing wandering around "Tierra Santa", Buenos Aires' incredibly bizarre Christian theme park? Why were the park staff dressed like mujahadeen? What was the significance of the number 37? Why was the oddly flirtatious Armenian lady at the concession stand offering to read my fortune in the dregs of the bitter-tasting Armenian coffee I had - perhaps foolishly - just consumed? Was there a Viennese Ferris Wheel somewhere in my immediate future?

Well, no. Apparently not. The number 37 bus took me right back to Cordoba Street where I had boarded it in the first place. But if there is a moral to the story it is surely - when someone (in this case, the porter in the apartment building) suggests to you that you really have to visit this "historical theme park" that is "lo mas lindo que hay en todo Buenos Aires" (the most beautiful attraction in all of B.A.), do a little more homework before taking the bait. This might have revealed, for example, that "historical" was apparently code for "Christian", and that beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

The place is enormous. Right by the airport. With that kind of bizarrely hideous ugliness that ends up having a fascinating charm of its own. The photos are on Flickr. Judge for yourself. I omitted those with the most blatantly obnoxious Catholic flavour.

It was a strange afternoon. But there was belly dancing, falafels, and remarkably good baklava. And the manger sound-and-light show was impressive enough in its own way. I skipped the Creation show. The Crucifixion too. Lines were long, even though you would think people know how it all turned out.

christian_theme_park 012

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, what would Howard Finster say (WWHFS)? One misses his crudely lettered Jeremiads, but he would have ponied up the necessary pesos, I'm betting! Thanks for sharing!