Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life, Death and Evita’s Grave

Recoleta seemed, at least to me, the most upscale area I have seen here in Buenos Aires.  The wide Avenida Libertad is framed by old buildings with beautiful balconies and smooth, elegant marble entrances.  I saw small cafés, beautiful (and equally delicious) pastries, and people that were very easy on the eyes.  I heard that wealthy people live in this area, and I have no doubt about it, especially after visiting Recoleta’s Cemetery.  
Impressive sculpture.  Cementerio de Recoleta

Visiting a cemetery was not my first thought when we arrived to Buenos Aires. At first, I was just curios about Eva Peron’s last resting place.  It has been recommended for many, so we decided to visit.
After passing the wide entrance gates, we saw a small, pristine chapel featuring a Christ’s sculpture.  We passed this quickly, however, and went ahead to enter the actual cemetery. 
In front of my eyes appeared what seems to be a small city, with structures that are not easy to recognize at first.  We started walking through the narrow halls and were able to differentiate the marble tombs that lay next to each other.  I do not mean close. They are together, like irregular objects cramped on a small shelf.  By now, I had completely forgotten about Peron’s tomb.  I was looking closely, noticing every detail around us. 
Every corner, flower, and name here tells a story.  This place tells about hopes of reaching a place higher than this Earth.  A state were suffering, sadness and worry are left behind.  Isn’t that interesting that across the globe, many cultures hold the same idea about death?
Grave Detail
The cemetery, however, says more about life. It tells of about families, their traditions, faith and morals.  This place talks about wealth and poverty, revolutions, loss, honor and triumph.  While being there, I thought about life and death.  I thought about how time, in a way, repeats itself.  The same stories of love, children and family we live today are also buried here.  Remembrances of life made cold stone for now and years to come.
Then, I remembered. We have not seen Peron’s grave!  We were now walking as fast as we can because they were closing.  It is getting darker, and colder.  Cats are walking around meowing, giving the place an even more dramatic look and feeling.   We finally found it. The Duarte Family’s burial place looks humble compared to some of the elaborated mausoleums we saw.  I think that suits Evita’s life, but her story deserves another post.

Evita's Grave

Recoleta Cemetery


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