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Day 9: Day of the Dead

It is Sunday, right?  The one thing about a holiday, you start forgetting what day it is.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Unless you forget to catch your plane.  That’s not such a good thing.  But, it’s not quite time for that.  Still much more to see and do.

I had one goal for today.  Today would be the day I would make it into the Recoleta Cemetery.  And swing by the local market that was in the same area.

First I had to get out of bed.  I woke up about 7am and could hear the last crowd leaving the nearby disco.  There was obviously still a lot of energy in the revelers, and they were happy to share it as they walked down the street.  I wish Americans had this much enthusiasm when they went out.

I went back to sleep because I was just not ready to face the world quite yet.

I got up properly a little after 9 and got dressed quickly to make sure I got some breakfast in before they closed down service for the day.

After breakfast, I made sure to slather on the sunscreen becuase it was going to be another hot one.  And hot it was.  I walked to the local mercado to buy some more bottled water before heading out (I had noticed it had limited hours on Sundays) and I quickly had a layer of sweat all over me.  I’m convinced that for me, sweat has become the new black.

I took a few minutes to cool off before heading back out.  I had a bit of a walk to the subway, but this time I did not have to fumble through buying a ticket.  I already had my pass.  I like to celebrate the small victories.  I even knew which train to board and did not have to play the train lottery, which makes for a nice zen morning.

It was noticeably less crowded on the subway.  I enjoyed it a lot more this time than I did last time.  Before long, it was my station.

Based on my previous attempt at finding the cemetery, I knew which way to go, and this time I wrote down the cross street to get to the cemetery.  Fool me once…

I don’t know if it is because so many party so late on Saturday or if it is because Sunday is a holy day, but it was definitely much more quiet on the streets.

I found my cross street and soon saw the wall to the cemetery.  And no entrance.  Ok, I can do this.  I can get in.  It did strike me as odd that there was a huge mall complete with cinema right across the street, but what can you do when the cemetery is located on some of the hottest real estate in the city?

I kept walking and kept seeing more giant wall and no entrance.  I decided to head to the Feria de Recoleta and then I would conquer the cemetery.   I had to walk past the Hard Rock Café, which was hopping.  I refused to go in.

I wanted to shoot some pictures of a statue I had noticed the other day, and I also needed to figure out exactly where the market was.

I soon discovered it was planted right next to the Hard Rock.

When you think about it, it was quite smart, really.  Put the market next to a tourist destination.  It draws in the tourists who spend their pesos there.  I respect that.

I did the market loop, and went back to more closely inspect a bag I had my eye on.  It felt very cheap and pleathery so it stayed on the hanger with its friends.   There was nothing there that said “buy me” so it looked like the souvenir options were slowly getting more limited.  It may be a souvenir-free trip.  I’m ok with that.

In my loop around the market, I had noticed these trees that have the most beautiful prple blossoms on them.  I had seen them around town a few times and decided to take a picture, since I was hauling my big DSLR with me.  I happened to look over my right shoulder, and there, like magic, was the entrance to the cemetery.  Score!

I ran over to get my picture and then headed to the entrance.  I knew it was free, so when a bloke stopped me to map out where things were, I waited to see what his scam was.  I know, pretty cynical.  I own that.  He was very nice and drew me a map to the hot spots, such as Eva Perón’s tomb.  And then came the plea for a donation.  I knew there was some angle, but he had been very helpful, so I gave him a few pesos.

What struck me first about the cemetery was how open, yet claustrophobic it was.  Tons of tombs crammed in together, but then there were some nice wide walkways.  Crumbling tombs coupled with gorgeous marble mausoleums.  The statuary were phenomenal.

I walked around snapping as many pictures as I could, trying to take it all in.  I found Evita’s family tomb, and had to fight the crowds to snap a few pictures.  All the while trying to not think about how morbid it was to be taking photos of tombs.

There was so much more to see, and I found myself wandering to and fro trying to take it all in with both my eyes and my camera.  The textures of the doors and the poses of the statues were hypnotic.   It was all so different.  I loved it.

I was also hot.  By this time, even the gentle breeze was not enough to cool me down.  I decided to head back to the gate when I heard my name.  At first, I thought it was an audio hallucination, but it was not.  It was Greg and Julie from the estancia.  They were wandering through the cemetery on their last day in Argentina.  We got to chat for a few minutes, and then it just became awkward because we really didn’t know each other even though we had ridden horses together and Diablo had splattered Greg.  Did n’t take long to reminisce about the good times we had all had together, and soon I was back on my way to the hotel to cool off.

Since it was still relatively early in the day, I decided to lay out in the sun and relax for a bit.  If I was going to sweat, it may at least be by a pool.

I had the pool area to myself, and so I took full advantage.  I claimed my lounge chair and put on some music.  I hadn’t been listening to music much on my journey so far because I wanted to be focused on traffic and such.  This was a rare treat and it was so nice to be bathed in the music for a bit.

It was also bloody hot.

Even in just a swimsuit I was sweating so much, I did the only logical thing.  I jumped in the pool.  Well, I didn’t jump, because it was way too shallow for that.  I plopped myself in would be more accurate.   The water was deliciously cool and felt beyond spectacular.  I vowed that I would spend at least a little time every day for the rest of my trip at the pool.

The rest of the day was pretty mellow, and that was ok with me.  I got an invite to go out for drinks, but I was completely wiped out from being in the sun.  I had to postpone.

The BEST holidays

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