Thursday, 10 May 2007

Brazil vs. Argentina: Statues of Christ

I don't really need to say anything about Cristo in Rio, do I? Good. What people don't realise is that Buenos Aires has its own statue of Jesus, which is probably almost as big as the one towering over Rio (I've only seen his feet close up, so I can't tell for sure but the feet were quite big, and you know what they say...). But unlike the well lit, well prominent Rio version, the Christ in BA is quite well hidden. In fact very well hidden most of the time. I couldn't even see him at first.

I was trying to find a huge swimming pool complex to spend a hung-over Saturday afternoon, and the bus driver helpfully told me to get off about 16 miles too early. After an hour of melting like chocolate in the burning early afternoon sun, and with no shade around, I came across buses at a gateway, and a queue of adults and children queuing to get in. I saw something that looked like the tubes of waterslides above the fence. At last. But the sign said 'Terra Santa'. What? Through the gates I could see three plastic crosses on a hillside with figures attached to them, and plastic figures and plastic palm trees around. Why plastic when you can have real ones? Even with my Spanish, I could work out that it was a theme park based on the Bible story. Possibly the tackiest thing I have ever seen, but I couldn't see right inside to judge properly.

An hour later, and I'd found my way around the fence to the pool complex. After getting my feet checked for verrucas, I made it to water. Sometime towards the afternoon, as the pool aerobics were beginning, I was sitting on the edge of the pool, enjoying the setting sun and splashing my legs, when I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye. Over the fence in the Holy Land, a figure was rising out of the plastic dirt. My mouth dropped open as a huge statue of Jesus came sneaking out of his hole, like a meerkat coming out of its burrow. We pointed and laughed incredulously as he made it to his full height, complete with lighted halo, and began to spin slowly. First to one side. Then the other. Then he looked up at the heavens. Then down at the people. The hands at the end of his outstretched arms swivelled slightly too, like he was trying to feed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square and nobody had told him that it was now illegal. Unfortunately, I wasn't close enough to hear if he spoke to his flock in a mechanical voice, like The Terminator with a beard and a pastel-blue robe. Sadly, his eyes didn't flash red. Something startled him and he began to disappear back into his burrow, taking his red sash with him. We had almost stopped laughing when it happened again half an hour later. Without doubt the tackiest thing that I or anyone else has ever seen.

Brazil 1-1 Argentina

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