26th Nov 2012. We visited two very contrasting places today. Caminito a lively and very much working class suburb around the Bocca Juniors stadium. Its slightly dodgy and not considered safe for tourists out side of the few highly decorated streets or in the evenings. There was a noticeably stronger security presence with police every 100 yards or so who just seemed to be keeping an eye on things.
There are a number of artists selling their work, including a severly disabled man with no use of his arms painting with a paintbrush held in his mouth. When not selling he was painting and making impressive progress in the hour or so between us walking by each way. An endless number of souvenir shops including one selling the same “Antartica” T’shirt that Karen purchased 4 years earlier even though we pointed out its spelt “Antarctica” ……………must have had a large stock !
Whereas you are in no danger of being robbed by the residents of Recoleta Cemetery but should you want to stay there permanently be warned its only for the extremely wealthy and well connected being apparently some of the most expensive real estate in Buenos Aries. The marble mausoleums being quite staggering in size, grandeur and no doubt cost. Possibly most famous resident is Evita, and there is a constant stream of visitors to the Duarte family plot where she is interred.
Some of the elaborately constructed edifices are simply above ground gate houses with a flight of steps to the family crypt below, others display the ash urns and full size coffins of the residents. Most are immaculately maintained however some have fallen into disrepair with maybe a glass roof or shutters gone and the contents open to the ravages of the weather. I guess either the money or the family is no more, it is rather poignant to think that there is no one left who cares for something built with such reverence.
After all the locals have an expression along the lines of “It’s cheaper to live extravagantly than to die and be buried in Recoleta!”
Steve 27th of November 2012
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