Ever felt like a sweaty head of cattle herded into an overcrowded corral full of stressed, thirsty animals with no way out and little to do but consume the feed provided and take out your frustration on other unfortunate beasts in the same predicament?
If you answered yes then likely you too have fallen straight into a classic tourist trap. The parallels are undeniable, once you pass through the entry gate you are herded down a chute directing you to consume the food, drink, souvenirs and indeed the attraction itself in a predefined way.
I recently fell into a particularly massively huge tourist trap by the name of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. So huge is this trap that it has recently been named one of the ‘new seven wonders of the world’. From the moment you start queueing for a ticket up the mountain you might as well start referring to yourself as ‘criação’ (livestock in Portuguese). You shuffle from queue to queue, paying intermittently at seemingly pointless check points and wind your way through cheesy souvenir shops and overpriced cafes until you arrive at a freaking escalator that takes you to the top, or rather the foot of the 39.6m/130ft tall art deco statue version of the very late Jesus Christ.
Of course the view on top is absolutely spectacular, worth all the inconvenience and pain endured. Though is the experience pleasant? Not really. I took this shot of my friend Steaphan Paton (an awesome Australian indigenous artist, check him out on tumblr) who’s suitably irritated expression sums up the experience beautifully. He stands burning in the shadeless platform as tourists stumble into each other’s photos all around him and a joyflight helicopter buzzes by in the background adding to the disquiet chaos. If you’re in Rio you have to go, but don’t expect the peace and tranquility that the big JC has upstairs, you’d need to be up at his level to attain it.