Friday, April 15, 2005

City of Death

... you can also tell a lot about a people by the way they treat their
dead. For instance, if there was ever any wonder whether Buenos Aires
is a wealthy city, the question is quickly answered the minute you set
foot inside the Cementerio de la Recoleta. The monuments are
spectacular and substantial and each had to cost a small fortune. I
told Clint that the density of art alone was staggering. Every tomb was
a work of art, most with statues or reliefs, some with stained glass,
almost all with crosses. That is the other fact confirmed by a walk
among the dead of BA. Argentines are a very religious people, not in
the let-me-hit-you-over-the-head-with-it way of some Americans, and not
by saturation as in parts of Mexico, but they believe deeply. And it
seems, as with most peoples, they believe even more deeply in, or near,
death. At lunch today, in the Recoleta, one of the poshest parts of
town, the restaurant had a picture of Pope John Paul II on their window.