Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You Can't Make This Stuff Up Part 2

In this week's edition of "Only in Brazil," I take you to a Brazilian shopping mall typically known for its higher-end customers. Like most malls you and I are familiar with, there is a central plaza area where, depending on the season of the year, there is some traditional display. It's the area where Santa and his elves sit at Christmas time and the area where the "Made in China" market set itself up a few months ago...wait, what? Anyway, it's THAT area, the one that you can look down upon no matter which floor of the mall you are on, and the one surrounded by the escalators and elevators and McDonald's ice cream stand.

Imagine my surprise today when I walked past this area to see a pool. A rather large pool. A very large pool in terms of circumference, but only about a foot deep. "Strange," I thought. So I bought my McDonald's ice cream cone and decided to check it out. Then I see a child, about 8 years old, inside of a large plastic bubble that is being filled with air from one of those giant firetruck-like hoses, the same kind used to fill a bounce house. "Strange," I thought again, considering more than once how unsafe it probably is to put a child inside a giant plastic bubble and fill it with air from a bounce house hose.

And then it all came together.

For a mere R$10, about 5 dollars, you can pay for your child to become a human gerbil. As soon as the bubble, which ended up being a huge ball about 6 feet in diameter, was full, the employee shoved the kid and his bubble onto the water, and for a good 10 minutes the poor thing climbed around the plastic bubble as it floated and bounced on the water. He tried endlessly to stand up inside the bubble, but all of his efforts were in vain as he just continued to fall down. Again and again. It actually seemed like a cool idea at first, as bounce-house-like environments are ALWAYS cool, until I saw what it actually was. It was uber lame.

And then, as though it weren't torturous enough, the parents decided it was the little brother's turn. The kid, probably about 3 or 4, went and climbed into a different plastic bubble and crouched down, just as his brother had, as it was filled with air. I'm sure the parents were thinking "this is great, our two boys will be out there together on the water, in giant plastic bubbles, and really just have the time of their lives." Except something went seriously wrong. Upon realizing that he was inside a giant plastic bubble, the 3 year old panicked. He started crying hysterically as the bubble grew to be 3 times his height. And then I found myself, still enjoying my McDonald's ice cream cone, watching a 3 year old absolutely flip out inside of a 6-foot-tall plastic bubble. His parents decided it would be a good idea to leave him inside the bubble and try to console him by pointing at his brother and how much "fun" he was having. The kid, probably terrified by the HUGE LOUD hose blowing air into the bubble, was not buying it and began the "stand in one spot, put your hand in your mouth, and make the most pitiful open-mouth cry you are capable of" tactic, the most convincing of all pleas for help, if you ask me. The parents continued to watch and point to his brother until the employee finally was sensible enough to turn off the air, open the bubble, and take the poor guy out. By the time I left the pitiful scene, big brother was gathering quite a large crowd of onlookers and he continued to tumble around his floating bubble.

I only wish I had had my camera with me.

Only in Brazil.


Wase... said...

I too wish you had your camera! However, the mental picture is pretty awesome!!

Cyndi said...

I'm feeling claustrophobic now! That sounds like a scary miserable experience.