I’m so glad to be back home after a fun, interesting, and badly-needed vacation to South America. Dan and I flew to Buenos Aires on Sunday, Nov. 17, and spent two nights there. Then we got on a cruise ship that took us down the coast of Argentina, around Cape Horn, and up the Chilean coast to Valparaíso. We got home, very badly jet-lagged, on Tuesday, Dec. 4. I’ll probably be spending the rest of my life sorting through my thoughts (and pictures) from the trip, but I thought I’d share a few highlights over the next few days.
We had the good fortune to stay at a hotel right next to one of Buenos Aires’s top landmarks, La Recoleta cemetery, where Argentina’s most famous resident, Eva Perón, is buried. Upon entering the cemetery we were given a map as well as directions on how to find her family’s mausoleum, but they weren’t necessary: all we had to do was follow the other tourists who were heading over to her to pay homage. Evita may have died 60 years ago this July, but considering the number of picture-taking people who had crowded outside her family’s mausoleum, and the number of fresh flowers wedged into the crypt’s door, as well as the commemorative plaques affixed to the front of the crypt, she might as well have died last week. I felt very much like a tourist as I took my pictures: all I know of Evita is that she inspired a Broadway musical that inspired a Hollywood movie starring another influential 20th-century icon. I’ve never seen the musical or movie. I knew even less — oh, all right, let’s say, nothing at all — of the many other famous Argentines housed in the cemetery’s crypts. And yet, for me, the not-knowing only added to the place’s sense of mystery. I couldn’t help walking down the rows of mausoleums and thinking that inside each one, a family history resided. Who were these people? How did they get here? It seemed more fun to guess than to know.