En Memorium…

So, Latin American cemeteries are way cooler than ours in the states.

These photos [which I kaiphed from Rebecca’s blog because we never managed to get them onto my computer…] are documentation of one of those serendipitous side excursions that end up being some of the most memorable moments of most trips. This one was with Becca, Kim’s cousin, and the only other LDS intern, on the way to the temple last weekend. I’ll admit to having a bit of objective-tunnel-vision at the time [I just wanted to find the temple] so I am glad Becca noticed it and suggested we explore—not that I would have recognized it as a cemetery anyway. It was literally like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Apparently, in most Latin American cities people are buried in these strangely beautiful above-ground mausoleums. They’re constructed with a sort of basement with built-in shelving for anywhere from a dozen to a couple hundred caskets underneath [learned that from the construction crew that was renovating one of them—with all the caskets just kindof stacked around while they worked—didn’t feel right to just snap a photo, though I almost wish I had]. On top of that is a room with more shelves [for more recently deceased members of the family] and usually a sort of central shrine area with brightly colored silk flowers [often caked with cobwebs and dust] and family treasures [everything from antique bibles and pearl rosaries to Rugrats dolls, matchbox cars, empty beer bottles and futbol jerseys.]

The further in we wandered, the more interesting it became…

Yep, pretty sure that’s a human jaw bone.

Like I said, strangely beautiful. I actually think it would be fascinating to commission a book called “En Memorium” that’s just images of tombs, shrines, cemeteries and burial grounds from all over the world. Unexpected, intriguing, and profoundly human.