Friday, February 26, 2010

Jesus Land: Closed on Thursdays

So... apparently Jesus Land isn't open on Thursdays...

This is one of those things that wouldn't have been too too bad to discover from the confines of the hostel, via the wonderful tool that is the internet, however – coming to such a realization by wandering to gates, padlocked shut... That's less of a delight.

I made my way over to Tierra Santa (I believe that's how it's spelled – Saints Land, being the translation if various sources have not been lying to me. It's said to be like visiting Jerusalem, in Buenos Aires. It's an all religious theme park! How could you possibly go wrong? I dare not say too much about it now – for fear of spoiling it, but this is about as wacky as one can get.

However – as I said – it is not open on Thursdays. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only. Looking at the admission hours, on the website – once I'd finally made my way back to the hostel – filled me with the same sense of, “really? Really?!” that the opening days allowed. This park is open from 4pm to midnight. Not during the day, when you would think people would want to see such an attraction, but in the late evening and night. I have no idea what kind of crowd this place will draw – but I am excited for it.

You see – I shall be going back. A helpful guard said, “tomorrow! Tomorrow you come back!”

Very well. It's not as if it took an hour, most of which was trying to understand and comprehend the complex public transit system. That's cool. That's fine.

Rewinding an hour would find me asking how to get to said park, and being told that the number forty five bus would take me out to it. Great. Now where could I find that? Two blocks over, I watched as the bus drove by, time and time again. The next step was finding the bus stop – hidden away outside a music store playing all the latest hits of the nineteen eighties, as chosen by a future historian with no real concept of taste, nor an understanding of that particular decade. It could have been that it was a cassette tape looping from the by-gone era.

Standing at the bus stop I was once more ready to get on the bus – only to watch it sail by again. O.K. Clearly something is amiss. When next the vehicle came in range, I was prepared. I had seen this happen from someone boarding the 33, and I was ready for my moment to shine. The bus drew near, and I put my hand out, flagging it down. Like magic, it stopped. I then asked if it went to the park, by poorly mumbling the phonetic approximation of the locations name, and was told, “no,” no being the same in English and Spanish, followed by a stream of incomprehensible syllables. One sounded like “Italia.” I do not understand. He then pointed to something on the front of the bus, made more noise, and I climbed down ready to repeat the process once more.

When the next forty five came near, however, I was ill prepared. My hand was not outstretched. It sailed on by. Of course it did.

Fine. I give up. Time to find a taxi. Time to spend 30ARD instead of 1.25ARD. However, this too, was not to be – I could not flag a taxi, no matter how hard I tried. Frustrated, I headed back to the bus stop. Eventually one would stop and I'd jump on. Two 45s came at once, but had different things on the front. I had t make a choice. I picked one, said the same of the location, and was met with a nod. Oh good. On I jumped.

And on I rode, and rode, and rode, until my stop finally came. At this point I walked off, clearly excited, only to come across – the locked gates.

Clearly getting out here had already been a substantial investment, and to find the park closed – was I enraged? Was I upset? No – not really. Because I'd been taken to another part of the city, where I could – at last – look out over the water, gazing at the horizon far away. Dozens of people had their fishing rods thrown over the concrete divide, trying their luck. I never saw a single bite, but that's not really the point is it? Maybe it is here, where the fish is your dinner. But it my experience, it's just a nice way to waste some time.

Walking past those folks (I had no idea how to find a bus stop out here, I'm not going to lie. I was nearly convinced I'd have to walk the whole way home.) I came to the airport. Inside the fences and gates were employees shooting off firecrackers from the side of their official vehicles. I couldn't be sure if they were screwing around, or if this was really the high tech way they communicated with one another to prevent two jets from hitting the same runway at once.

There were also a number of people standing up against the fence, holding on to the rails, watching as plane after plane took off into the sky with a great roar, and landed, zipping directly overhead. For a few moments I joined the crowd and watched. Were this the mission I set out to complete, I could have – no doubt – spent hours enjoying the sites. But I was still unaware how to get back to the hostel, and the walk seemed like a long one.

Outside the airport there was a bus stop. Some of the buses were 45s. Not wanting to spend the next few hours in pedestrian transit, I just hopped on and trusted my luck. And as my luck would have it, I was taken back to my starting location. Good for me. I grabbed Pizza to celebrate. The food here? Not good. I'm told the only good food in this city is steak – the thing is, I'm not a steak lover so... The pizza was trying to be Italian. It's not that it was bad – it just wasn't Italian pizza, nor was it North American pizza. It was like a pita unwrapped.

Though hours had ticked away, my day would not end here, either. I hopped on the subway and rode to the end of the C line. There I wandered for an hour or so, looking at more graffiti, checking out the slightly-sketchy parks, and trying to pick up the flavour of the city – which still reminded me so much of my home town.

I have no real idea what one would do in Buenos Aires during the day, but I felt as if I'd made the most of my time. I had no regrets. And while I still have some time left here, as I jumped on the subway once more, I knew that my exploring days were most likely behind me. I'd seen the North, South, East, and West of my map. And I'd adventured off of it some, to get to the Saints World.

Tomorrow will probably be an afternoon at that park, provided that I can get the bus working for me again, and that will be that. Buenos Aires, you've been charming.

And as I tried to go to sleep at night, you did not disappoint. As I laid to rest at one a.m. a number of people looked at me as if I was crazy. They, after all, were just waking up – ready to begin.

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