Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jesus Camp and our anniversary

This weekend, with our roommates Jack and Audrey, we visited one of the strangest places I’ve ever been to in my entire life. Jack read about this Jesus-themed “amusement park” in the north of the city. Our interest in seeing this place was not really due to a desire to experience the power of Jesus Land; it was motivated by curiosity. Now, I put “amusement park” in quotations because this term usually means there are at least a couple rides. At Jesus Camp (this is what I started calling it), there are no rides. There is no ferris wheel, no roller coaster, not even bumper cars. It is a giant, walled compound with plastic replicas of buildings, animals, and plants that would have been typical in the Middle East during Biblical times.  Around every corner there were these really cheap, creepy, plastic life sized people…including Jesus, the Romans, and other popular people from these Biblical stories.
the top of the plastic mountain, with more plastic people
It gets weirder. Most of these plastic people were staged to recreate a scene from the Bible, including all the violent, graphic events leading up to the death of Jesus. The apex of this Jesus compound was a giant plastic mountain, where at the top, you can see Jesus nailed to the cross. You can walk up and around this mountain to look at the plastic people staging the various scenes leading up to Jesus’ death. Every hour, they recreate the resurrection. No, they don’t do this with actors. They do it with these crappy, plastic animatronic figures. At the end of the resurrection…to the sound of the Hallelujah chorus, a 35ft plastic, animatronic Jesus ascends from the top of the mountain and waves to all his fellow Christians. This place so was weird and hokey, it was beyond any description that could do it justice. 
posing with the 35ft. resurrected Jesus

As we expected, there were a lot of people there who truly wanted to visit Jesus Land as a way to honor their faith. I think many people brought their kids there as an educational trip. We were all very respectful and we tried very, very hard not to laugh at the creepy animatronic figures. So, though we did visit this place out of curiosity, please know we made sure to be respectful to the people who were there to seriously honor their religion.

Also, for the record, I had no interest in going to this place. Jesse was really interested to see what it was like and he told me it would be good for us to spend time with our roommates. I reluctantly agreed. However, I can think of about 27 better ways we could have spent $80 pesos than going to weird Jesus Land. Just saying.

On to another subject. We had an anniversary!
happy couple exactly 1 year later
In our absence, our parents met in Seattle to have lunch and celebrate in our honor. Here in Buenos Aires, we kept it pretty low key. I put on a dress and Jesse took me to a restaurant called “Casa de las Catalunyas.” It’s a coastal Spanish restaurant that serves incredible Spanish seafood dishes. People in Buenos Aires don’t really like fish, or at least don’t eat it very often. It’s difficult to find, and the fish at the grocery store is questionable at best. So, fresh seafood flown in daily from Patagonia served in traditional Spanish Catalan style sounded glorious to us! And it was. I ordered octopus sautéed in a spicy tomato sauce on top of potatoes. Jesse had grilled calamari. For dessert, Jesse devoured flan while I needed help eating what was basically a really fancy, decadent ice cream sandwich.
grilled calamari
octopus w/ potatoes
Afterwards, we walked down the street and met our roommates and some friends at a bar called “La Puerta Roja” (the red door). We spent the next few hours there just having fun and drinking beer. It was a wonderful night.

At La Puerta Roja. From left to right:
Ian (EBC friend), Jesse,
Jack (roomie, Audrey's boyfriend),
Me, Amalie (other roomie),
Audrey (roomie, Jack's girlfriend) laying on us

Next weekend, we are taking an official vacation to celebrate our first anniversary. We’ll be spending a few days in Tandil, a city about 4 hours south of Buenos Aires. We’ve booked a cabin built into the mountainside and we plan to drink artisenal beer and sample the homemade salamis Tandil is known for. There will be more to come!


  1. OMG you actually went to Jesusland! i heard about that place when i was there but we never made it out there. Thank you for the pictures--priceless, no wait, i guess they're worth about 80 pesos:)

  2. I appreciate that you were respectful and all that... I think it would have been a real challenge for me not to make snide comments or allow the occasional guffaw or hoot.

  3. I'll tell you, Jesusland was every bit as creepy as it was totally weird. I honestly think you'd have to take the place with a grain of salt, no matter how devout you consider yourself. When giant Jesus raises out of a mount, arms extended, batting his eyes animatronically, you can't help but smirk just a twinge. Maybe it's good for kids to get some knowledge and grandmothers to revive/jog memories, but beyond that... The best is the t-shirt giant Jesus has on under his robes. There's a big red heart on it, just making sure you know he loves you. Classic JC!