Wednesday, 26 May 2010

What time is the resurrection?

A while ago I finally went to Tierra Santa. The worlds first religious amusement park. Last time I wanted to go there I was stopped at the gate, because in my enthusiasm to photograph everything I got my camera out at the gate and was told that I couldn't enter with a professional camera. I tried to convince them that it's a semi professional camera, but to no avail. So while in Holland I bought a canon powershot for the sole purpose to use when visiting the park again. (how crazy can you be?) However I found out that they changed the rules and that you can enter with a big camera now, as long as you don't point it to much in the faces of the people who work there and who are all dressed up as either a roman centurion (all masculine guys who also double as security guards I guess) or as Jewish people (some with Arafat scarfs though, I didn't know Jewish people in the times of J.C. wore Arafat scarfs).

That crown fits us all

So I enter the park after parking my bike in the parking zone (5 pesos) and paying the entrance fee (35 pesos). First I am treated with a show called the nativity which shows the stuff that you hear about with Christmas with a lot of bombast: a thundering voice explains the immaculate conception of Mary, the birth of Jesus and the star of Bethlehem and the 3 wise men from the east while mechanic figures and a light and smoke show take care of the visual part. It's overwhelming, especially the voice, although I didn't know what it was saying. After that we are let in the broad day light again and we find ourselves at the gate of Jerusalem.

"Whip me" said Jesus and god saw it was good

The park is modelled after the old city of Jerusalem, well kind of. Everywhere are dolls depicting the life of Jesus and everyday life from the first years of our calendar. All the time and everywhere you hear religious bombastic muzak. It really enhances the experience which in one word is hallucinogenic. It's so surreal. I have difficulty not to start laughing out loud, so amused I am and surprised. Here you see 2 employees walking in their Jesus jumpsuits carrying their lunch and a coke bottle. There is a centurion with a whip in one hand and holding a walkie talkie with the other, while a bit further is a young guy wearing a long dress guiding a group of visitors, explaining everything through a megaphone.

I notice that even though we are in a sub tropical climate and they could have put real palm trees, the designers of the park choose not to do so and put fake palm trees instead. It just ads to the experience. Around the main square there are some restaurants, one has a ancient Jew sitting at a table eating a pizza. Also this is new to me, never knew pizza was that old. Probably the Romans brought it with them when they conquered the holy land. I get the impression the management of the park isn't to concerned about showing the truth. After seeing a show called "the creation" which according to the small booklet that you get says it depicts the creation of the world with the first animals in it till Adam and Eva I am positive about my suspicion. Where are the dinosaurs I wonder? They are not shown. Only a elephant, zebra, lion and monkey (of course not in connection to the first humans). Also the crucifixion of Jesus is depicted of course with the Roman soldiers looking extra mean. I climb the hill to see JC hanging from the cross. (it's always good to see him suffer, so I can sin some more) The park is located near the airport so you can have a nice picture of Jesus hanging on the cross, some evil Roman soldiers around, some mourning women and a airplane flying over.

At a certain moment I walk around and a centurion comes to me. He says another show is about to start: the resurrection. According to the booklet the resurrection is another favorite with the audience and a technical miracle with a 18 meter tall Jesus with 36 mechanical movements. The music, the special effects and Jesus blessing everybody create the ideal atmosphere to live a magical experience in the park. I can't miss that, so I go to the main square where everybody is waiting with anticipation for the return of the lord. And there he is: a huge Jesus is moving slowly upward to the sky. Everybody is delighted to see this miracle. Many take pictures of course. When it is raised the mechanical Jesus turns his body from left to right a few times and moves his arms a bit in a rather mechanical way. And then it goes down again. After it disappeared all the people start clapping! It surely is one of the many highlights for many visitors to see the return of JC, maybe some of them feel really like they have been blessed. After this incredible experience I walk around a bit more until I decide that to every good thing must come an end and also to this mind blowing experience. Don't miss it when you visit Buenos Aires.

Jesus blessing all the visitors

"Thank you, see you next week!"

For more photos of Tierra Santa click here