“Do you want to go?”
“Sure,” I shrug. “Why not? Since we are here…”
I owe Mark a church visit. We went to the cathedral this morning but we didn’t stay long as the Sunday mass was starting.
“Okay Mark, wanna go to a church?”
“Feng! Come on! Look, Mark, we can go here if you want. But this is not a church. This is a cemetery.”
“What? I’m not going to lie to him.”
“Yep. You can walk, but you have to be a little bit quiet and you can’t climb on anything.”
“Because it’s a cemetery.”
“What’s a cemetery?”
Yeah, I saw that one coming.
“It’s a place where very old people go to sleep and rest.”
A few days ago, Mark used the word “dead” for the first time. A dead bug. I was surprised but he probably heard us saying just that, “oh, that’s a dead bird” or “a dead bug.” He didn’t inquire further, obviously, he is three.
We are standing at the entrance of the famous Cementerio de la Recoleta, a picturesque yet slightly creepy landmark that is famous for containing the graves of, among other notable people, Eva Perón and presidents of Argentina.
“Dead people here?” Mark asks, pointing to a grave.
“Dead people come and go ‘aaaaahhhhh!'”
“No Mark. It’s a very quiet place.”
“No spider here, just the web.”
“Because spiders like quiet places.”
“That… that is scary,” Mark says, pointing to the sculpture of a skull on top of one of the graves.
“Do you know what is it?”
“Nope. It’s a skull.”
“A head without skin. Can you feel something hard in your arm, under your skin?”
“That’s bone. You have bones in your legs, your arms… everywhere. The skull is the bone of the head without the skin.”
Poor kid. He is going to have nightmares. Or not. He seems satisfied with my answers.
After the life lesson, we head to San Telmo for the Sunday street market. The sky is cloudy and I know it’s going to rain at one point but we start walking the cobblestone-paved streets, checking all the stands. Or at least, I try to. Mark is walking with me, holding my hand, very excited to be at the market. “I like markets! I like the sun! I’m not a baby, I’m a big boy!” He isn’t tall enough to see most of the stuff on display but there isn’t much that could interest him anyway. Most vendors sell souvenirs, Mafalda t-shirts, pins, Buenos Aires-themed craft… it’s lively and very busy but Mark walks, and walks, and then asks to walk some more. I’m afraid he is going to crash but two churros (one filled with dulce de leche) keeps him going.
And then it starts raining. It doesn’t just rains, it pours.
When you need to hide, the subte is the best place to take shelter. It’s older and dustier than I remember it. I would hate to take it to commute, it looks about as reliable as the Parisian métro. But for us, tourists, it’s practical and it’s very cheap, 50 cents a ride.
It poured for a couple of hours and everybody cursed the weather since the River-Quilmes football game was scheduled as well as the Rolling Stones concert in La Plata. Then it stopped, more or less.
“I know why it rained!” I said suddenly. “I’m wearing the tank top I bought when we first arrived in Brazil. It rains every time I wear it. That’s why I haven’t wore it in a while… I forgot about the curse!”
Tomorrow, I’ll change. That diluvio can’t last.