Friday, 6 March 2015

Cirque du Cash

Back when I was a little boy, my uncle took me to see the circus. I remember the experience as one of my more fascinating childhood memories: the huge circus tent at the banks of Tel Aviv’s Yarkon river, one of my uncle’s employees winning a pressure cooker pot at the fair where one was expected to spend money before the show, and then the show itself. It was called Circus Mederano and it was wow!
Recently, at another continent on a different world, we took our son to see the circus for the very first time. I looked forward to the experience myself, given I’ve only been to the circus once before. Our circus of choice was Cirque du Soleil, whose Totem show is currently visiting Melbourne. And yes, I was hoping to be able to give my son that same awesome experience I once had.
Then it kicked in. The cynicism, I mean. First, there is the unavoidable matter of ticket prices, which border and eclipse the 3 digit realm depending on one’s choice of seat. Then there is the website that forces users to book their seats and enter their credit card details over a Flash built website from 2012 – hackers must love the circus! There really was no ticket ordering choice but online; luckily for us, I noticed the iPad version of the site, inflicted by Steve Jobs' lack of affection towards Flash, lacks seat selection facilities but also lacks the shit security hazard known as Flash, too. So we booked over the iPad.
Long story short: The show was good. It was very well organised, it had all the impressive things one expects to see at a top notch circus, and it had all the money grabbing one expects there too (e.g., $20 for the right to park on the nearby grass). My son? He was excited throughout and so thoroughly enjoyed the affair that immediately upon it finishing he asked (demanded?) we go again next year. If you are considering the experience, I would recommend investing in the more expensive seats as the show does tend to orient itself toward those in the front part of the circle (yes, geometry freaks, in French Canada circles do have a front side).

Did I enjoy the show? No, I didn't. And the fact I didn't troubles me.
I did not enjoy the show because I often see much more interesting things on TV. I watch movies that offer much more elaborate action. I read books that are far more imaginative. I play computer games where I, not some person I have never seen before and will never see again, perform stunts that far eclipse what any earthly circus can perform.
I have been to many different places. I have sampled many different foods. I worked at all sorts of different organisations doing all sorts of different things. At work, I deal with different people from different cultures on an hourly basis. I have even migrated from one country to another myself, with all the cultural shock and adaptation that comes with that.
In other words, I have, in my life time, accumulated a vast number of experiences. These have conspired against me to turn me into some sort of a cynic: it really takes a lot, nowadays, in order to impress me. The competition is fierce, and frankly, a circus does not stand a chance.
Between you and me, I couldn't care less about circuses. I do care, however, when my levels of cynicism rise to degrees that render experiences I do hold dear - such as travel - ineffective. I will admit: when I consider visiting a city I haven't been to before, I am starting to think along the lines of "what can that city offer me that I haven't experienced before". I know there is more to any city than meets the eye, but I also know that I have been to some of this world's most glamorous cities - I live in one of this world's most glamorous cities - and that topping those experiences is a tough act to follow.
It occurs to me that in order to break through this thick layer of cynicism I am required to venture to places I have never been to before. That probably means that, when choosing a holiday destination, I should probably avoid anything Western and instead go for the extraordinary: your India. Your Japan. Your China. Anything else would be just more of the same.

Image by TBWABusted, Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) licence

1 comment:

wile.e.coyote said...

Issue might be connected to the fact you need to original exp.
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