Saturday, December 08, 2007
The world's first religious theme park got a visit from me and my folks today, under a blanket of gorgeous blue skies after a thankfully brief rain spell. At least we were dressed for the part: My pop had on his Forever Blessed baseball cap, literally, while I had on my Kitsch Indexer hat, figuratively. My other hat, What Would Jesus Pun, was safely tucked away in my purse though readily available should I need it, which I did (see below).
Tierra Santa, in a nutshell, was like a Hanna Barbera version of Jerusalem meet the Aladdin Hotel from Vegas. Everything was made from chubby-looking hollow plastic, from the lifesized figurines of peeps (there were whores aplenty!) and animals depicting key biblical scenes to the exotic middle-eastern architecture. I kept thinking surely this was created tongue in cheek, but since I'd met few religious zealots with good senses of humor in my lifetime, I chalked it up to unironic worship, the realization of which made the trip even more fun. The highlight of the park was this 18-meter Jesus that would resurrect every hour accompanied by a rousing recording of "Hallelujah," though sadly not the Leonard Cohen version. Each time the music blasted, all park devotees would freeze, search the sky adoringly for Him, and be moved by the Moment.
Switching hats for a moment here, I kept looking for the Mary-Go-Round and the Perish Wheel (tm my brother) but alas, Tierra Santa was short on rides though long on entertainment, like the wheee-inducing Creation show: a 15-minute intravaganza with flashing discoish strobe lights and plastic robotic animals appearing in the order that God created them, all played to some tune by the ethereal Enya. And by God (sorry), if it wasn't worth the wait for Day 6--when the famous pair appeared! Adam boasted the original 6-pack, you see, and a murmur of understanding broke out among the female audience members as we watched mechanical Eve inch her plastic body closer.
By dinner time, I searched high and low for The Garden of Eatin' but none appeared, though there were plenty of good options. I ended up getting a tasty falafel from some Arabian café, which came with a side order of tabouli that was a bit heavy on the parsley. The sign even said they offered Turkish coffee! Speaking of coffee, I was hoping for a café called He Brews, but alas, was let down again by the Man.
Seriously though, my parents had fun, and that, dear readers, made the pilgrimage totally worth it.