“This holy land, this semi-Eden, was supposed to be spotless, a serious equivalent of Disneyland in which not a single candy wrapper is to stay on the ground for more than a few minutes.”
– Marvin Olasky, Journalism Professor
Buenos Aires – Somewhere along the line after the big Shawarma Chronicles series, I forgot to go back and tell you a bit more about Tierra Santa, or as it is sometimes referred to among the expat community, the Jesus Park… which is an unfair summation, I mean, no more than, 98.5% of the park is about Jesus….
There is, for example, immediately on entering, a long tunnel to walk through that covers the Old Testament… Creation, Creation of Man and Woman, Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, Mary, Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem… oh wait, we got through the old testament pretty quickly there. But then, there’s a spot to sit and relax a bit after plowing through centuries of history in two minutes… a ten minute light, smoke and sound show (without a single moving part) that covers the birth of Jesus, and no, we’re sorry, you can’t pass this up, we won’t open the doors to let you in to the park until after you’ve watched the espectaculo
And just on the other side we find ourselves in a playground-ish mockup of old Jerusalem, with narrow streets and oh wait, there’s Jesus and his friends coming along, but hey, if you can get around them (well, they’re immobile statues)…
there’s a mockup of a synagogue, a mosque, and a hut with Gandhi hanging out in nothing more than a loincloth and glasses….
…of course, virtually everything else, besides the places to eat, are various scenes from Jesus’ life – pretty much all the famous one act plays – blessing children, curing the sick, kicking the moneylenders out of the temple, going to court…
…hanging out with Judas….
…wait, there’s the Wailing Wall, and someone wailing at it.
Of course, being just down the road from the domestic airport, there are constant reminders amongst the plastic and clay mockups, that this isn’t really old Jerusalem. Just in case you forgot.
Though you can remind yourself of the experience later on with a souvenir from the bazaar.
And a visit here would not be complete without a musical number or two – very High School Musical meets Restaurant Belly Dancers.
And, of course, everyone really comes for the Groundhog Day events led by, you guessed it…
…I have to admit, even for those with no particular affinity for catholicism, Tierra Santa is one of those quirky things to do that’s so much a part of the fabric of this city, that it’s worth doing once. And, there’s always the shawarma at La Puerta de Damasco….