on June 25, 2001
There’s Pere Lachaise in Paris, Highgate in London, the Cemetario de la Recoleta in Buenos Aires. The Recoleta is a posh area of town, with sprawling, shaded parks, outdoor cafes (from whence we watched the dog walkers), and shops. It’s also noted for the Cemetery, a veritable city of the dead. Mausoleums crowd like short condos, side by side along narrow streets. Not a blade of grass in sight. The only flowers, those left by mourners. Some tombs are simple, others ornate as a Greek temple, others like small homes. We saw family members about their spring-cleaning inside the houses of the dead, caskets laid platforms. Everywhere were the feral cats who haunt the place. Scrawny, wary, and wide-eyed, they peeked around corners to watch our progression. We wandered the narrow streets until we came to the most famous of the tombs in this cemetery, that of Eva Peron, with flowers tucked into the iron roses of the gates that enclose her tomb.
Just outside the gates of the cemetery, life bustles on. We found a spot under an ancient fig tree that managed to shade several outdoor cafes. Here, we sipped coffee and watched Buenos Aires pass by.
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