Vanity, Vanity, Everywhere
It is said that it’s cheaper to live a full and flamboyant life than to be buried in Buenos Aires’ Recoleta Cemetery. Wandering through Recoleta’s leafy prim avenues, we were reminded of Mayfair or Knightsbridge. We strolled past discreet and polished shop fronts bearing the marque of aristo fashion brands, Zegna, Dior, Gucci, D&G, YSL .Women wore coiffeured hair, quilted jackets stuffed with ochre and orange Hermés scarves and wrinkled necklines fragranced with the scent of old money. No broken pavements with canine ablutions here, polished plaques and brass push plates gleaming in the late morning sun reflected the area’s obvious affluence. Shaded streets led us to the cemetery and the final resting place of Eva Peron.
Unlike any graveyard I’ve witnessed, the avenues of this necropolis resembled a city in miniature. Ornate, serene ordered streets lined with mausoleums in Neo-Greco and Palladian styles topped with Judeo-Christian symbols stood shoulder to shoulder as an example of organised classicism. Esteemed members of Argentinean society propped up these mini mansions of vanity, hoping for greatness in death as well as life.
These vaults were reserved for Presidents, poets, writers, actors, priests and the country’s long dead idol Evita. Surrounded by tribes from around the world, the Japanese queued orderly to have their snaps in front of her granite edifice. Italians crowded into frame with their standard issue of oversized sunglasses. Americans with neon white sneakers and voices loud enough to wake the dead clamoured to claim history through the laying on of hands. Brits awkwardly apologised as they squeezed through to snatch a picture whilst camp young men with moist eyes were clearly overcome with the emotion of touching Evita’s shrine.
A remarkable edifice to the dead and testament to humanity’s desire for immortality. However the evening’s festivities were reserved for those firmly living in the moment...Tango club.