Friday, September 11, 2009

Don’t cry for her, Argentina

Our first wanderings yesterday took us to the Cementerio de la Recoleta, where some of BAs most wealthy and influential porteños receive a final resting place in huge marble tombs.

Lisa had never seen anything like it, but of course I had – being born and raised in New Orleans, I grew up thinking that everyone was buried like this!

In New Orleans – a coastal city that’s below sea level – above-ground crypts and tombs like these are a practical alternative to digging a grave in soggy ground and seeing the corpses pop up during the next flood.

In BA, a place like this is an exception rather than the rule – more a testament to social standing and vanity than practicality. But, just as in New Orleans, a macabre place like this is also one of the city’s major tourist attractions.

Thanks to Madonna and her portrayal of Eva Perón, the tomb of a rural family named Duarte is the must-see spot in this city of the dead.

Ironically, the most prominent citizen of Cementerio de la Recoleta – intended to be populated by the wealthiest of BA society – is someone who never quite fit in with the upper crust but was adored my the masses of Argentina’s working-class.

More later…

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