Today was about me going to Jesus Land.
I killed time in the best way possible (creating a linky e-mail and then chatting with the recipient of said e-mail.) Ah yes, internet. How I'm growing to hate this stable connection. You see internets are fine for a few days when you've been without – but I've not been without for some time, and it's starting to suck the brains straight out of my head, like the big-fat bug from Starship Troopers. You know the one. (aside: I wish they made the last few episodes of the CG cartoon – but they never will. Sigh.) I have no idea, really, how I killed enough hours to prepare myself for the land of god that was to be ahead, but somehow I found a way, and low and behold it was three thirty in the afternoon.
Well there's only one thing one can do at three thirty in the afternoon, and that's head on out to hop on the number forty-five bus, headed for Tierra Santa.
This time I was a pro, and needed only to hop on one wrong bus before finding the correct one. The correct one was driving down the street away from me. However, as this is not North America, running after it, and banging on the door is not only an acceptable way to get on board, at times it is the only way. I noticed more than once, the driver open the door, and slowly cruise by a stop – the future-passengers then needed to jog aside the mobile vehicle and hop on board like an over-the-hill action hero.
The bus, though being the same route, took a different way than yesterday. We took a tour of the docks, and the freight storage area today, rather than heading through the secret rail freight loading bay. The public transit system is different here. Still, I eventually made it to my destination on time and found myself standing outside of the Angelic gates – now unlocked – welcoming me to the Land of Saints.
A choir of angels, quite literally, shouted out in an immaculate chorus. How could I refuse? How could I delay? I could do nothing but walk forward, pay my 25ARD, and enter into that which is The Land of Jesus.
Walking into the park was as surreal as could be imagined. I was welcomed to Jerusalem, and then ushered through a cave of plastic construction. Here I saw a naked Adam hanging with a naked Eve, followed by Moses looking most like Charlton Heston. There were some other mythological characters too, but I had no idea who they were or what they represented. plastic donkeys and pigs would also quickly become a staple here.
I was funneled into a room filled with dry ice smoke and people sitting on benches. The way out was closed, so I did what I could to find a seat, and wait for something to happen. Lights came on, highlighting two plastic people. We were in for a real treat here. Spanish narration gave the story while spotlights changed colours, showed different people, and displayed angels on the ceiling. At one point I felt a shock of awe when i recognized the three wise men. “I know those guys!” I thought. And then Christmas music played, still in Spanish, of course, and the baby Jesus was born – or something like that.
The lights came up, the doors opened, and out we were allowed.
A woman stood by a gate telling us what was to be expected inside, I think that's what she was on about anyway. I just pressed ahead and made my way through the park looking at all the silly villages, thinking of Aladdin wondering where all the guards were – oh there they were walking around. It's kind of odd that they have Roman Guards patrolling. Didn't they kill Jesus? Well never mind.
At the back of the park I was told to enter another room. I did so, and the door was closed behind me. Too late I realized I was in for another anamatronic show. The park guide claimed that it was to be, “visitors favourite show! ... [it had] a very life-like Jesus.” I was in for the wonders that was the Last Supper. Again – I had no idea what was going on. A red light illuminated someone at one point. I guess he was Judas? I know that much – I drank his beer in Brugge, you may recall.
To really get a feeling of what this was like, imagine the hall of presidents, now instead of G.W. picture J.C. and his gangly crew. Yes, I was witnessing history as it unfolded – in robot form. Why the robots could move their heads, and their arms. How wondrous!
Outside I was met with freedom again, and had some time to wander the park. There was a place for you to put your face as a beggar woman, or a Roman soldier. Again – is this the right thing to emulate here? Maybe I'm not up on my Christianity and these guys were part of Jesus' superfriends.
I wandered in and out of buildings seeing Jesus in jail, Jesus carrying the cross, Jesus being crowned by thorns, Jesus being whipped. I'm glad I was alone – otherwise I may have posed for pictures that I'd best have not posed for. In other news, I'm sad that I didn't get to pose for this images. Asking the visitors here to take sacrilegious pictures would not have gone over well. These were serious visitors, not gawkers at the inane and insane.
After enough of Jesus' troubles I went to visit the Gandhi shrine. I have no idea what he was doing here – just chillin', I guess? And then I climbed to the top of the mountain where Jesus and some thieves were hangin' on the crosses doing their thing. Now, with all of this you need to picture jet planes flying low every seven or eight minutes, just like in the real Jerusalem two thousand years ago. Yes, this park was right beside the airport's landing strip.
To tease you, from the top of the 'mountain' you can see a most excellent water park, quite possible the best outside of San Dimas.
As I wandered down the mountain, I saw people start to gather on benches. Something was about to go down. How could I resist the temptation of seeing what it was? I took a seat, and just then something terrifying started to happen. From out of the mountain on which I just stood something was erupting. Something monstrous, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. In all fairness, the SPMMM is 112 feet tall, and this creature was merely 40 feet tall – still able to do some damage, though I'd imagine.
When it reached full height it a chorus of music broke out, and the monster started to turn left and right, opening and closing its eyes. Jesus was reborn! All were to cower under his grace and blessing! Every hour this creature rises from his grave to look down upon visitors. Fell his holy light! Feel his love! “The next time someone asks you if you are a god... you say yes!”
After a few moments the terror was ended and he descended back into his cave, ready to awake fifty three minutes hence.
I could handle no more and not wanting to eat at “Arab Pizza” I quickly made my way to the exit. I'd spent two hours here. More than enough. But as I was trying to leave, it was suggested by a staff member in perfect english (can't refuse that) that I witness creation.
Hmm... sure, why not? Now the pamphlet was sure to emphasize the fact that this was an imagining of creation. I wasn't actually about to watch the real creation of the world – lord no, that was a whole six thousand years earlier. But still I was interested. Or apathetic enough is the correct word. Maybe curious. After the manger, and the last supper, and super jesus who knew what was to come next?
Let me tell you – Creation was like a 1980s rock concert. Green laser lights strobed around the room, while lights flashed on and off to thundering noises. And then a fake lion roared. And a fake hippo. And then came giraffes and elephants and rhinos, and apes. Look – this is all swell but aside from apes I've seen these for real. And let me tell you, unless this was a watering hole these guys would not be chillin' so close.
But then the music halted, the lasers turned blue, and up from a great wheel beneath the stage returned my old friends, naked Adam, and naked Eve. Man was born!
This was just about the last of what I could handle. My mind was blown. I had no idea how to process what I had seen. It was time to leave, grab the 45 bus, and head back to the hostel.
I don't think I'll ever fully recover from the things I saw today.
But seriously – Gandhi?