TVLandia: Somewhere in Latin America.


Where is TVLandia? The mythical Paraiso of wealthy, tall, fair-skinned, fair-haired, impossibly beautiful people, pondering first world problems during visits to luxury restaurants and high-end fashion boutiques.

It is somewhere in Latin America, but I never found it.

I saw its bleached inhabitants conducting their sanitised and dramatised travails during daily, nightly and incessantly replayed Telenovelas, or soap operas, on screens throughout Latin America, a continent of predominantly olive-skinned, dark-haired, brown-eyed, working class people toiling day after day in low paying jobs just to feed their families.

I never saw anyone, from Lima to Tegucigalpa, from Oaxaca to Asuncion, who resembled the gleaming characters on the TV screens.

Is there a secret, highly-guarded, autonomous territory nestled deep in the heart of Bogota, Sao Paulo or Mexico City?

Is this wonderland so revered, so exalted among the populace that its name dare not be mentioned, especially to a grubby backpacker like myself?

Does one require a passport, or years of Botox, plastic surgery, peroxide and enhancement to enter its hallowed streets?

Do the inhabitants even exist, in human form anyway? Or, are the perfectly-sculpted specimens merely holograms or computer-generated, CGI avatars?

Are they simply a creation of the TV directors, who feed the continent’s insatiable appetite for pure escapism and pure, unadulterated, idealised fantasy which detaches the pueblo, even momentarily, from their own brutal reality?

Where does perfection reside?

In TVLandia, somewhere in Latin America.