As a ardent patron of Lusitoland down Johannesburg south, my yearly sojourn ended miserably: the imposed drinking areas where one cannot hear the music emanating from centre stage made for a very sorry state of affairs; and the harsh imposition by grumpy ‘bouncers’ all over the place downplayed the supposed festive atmosphere.
The joys of wandering around savouring the wares and sights on offer with a ‘Caipirinha’ in hand seems to be a thing of the past. One now has to sit, or stand, in designated areas chugging down the savoury drink before being allowed to move on to the next row of stalls. Needless to say, it is just not the same. The customary visible looks of joy were nowhere to be seen, instead one was confronted by grumpy strollers, or shoppers, reminiscent of a daily trip to the local mall.
As a matter of fact, what hit me the most was the absence of the usual throngs of patrons at the ticket stalls, something to which every year I braced myself to endure. This year, I walked straight to the ticket office, purchased my wrist band and walked in without ever having to jostle for position with fellow patrons.
To add injury to injury, I took two new inductees to the exhibition only to be faced with “is this what you’ve been bragging about!?” Talk about a slap across the face.
Ok, maybe there was a reason for the change in modus operandi, but given my vast experience with Lusitoland, whatever the reasons were, the changes did not bring value to the vaunted exposition.
Fortunately we found a dear little eatery in Rosebank where we spent the rest of the evening exchanging quips, stories, jokes and exaggerations to our hearts content. A cheerful conclusion to a dreary experience.
Here’s to next year; or maybe not.