We decided to stay another day in La Plata to visit the Museo de La Plata, a museum of natural history that was closed the day before (all museums are closed on Monday in the city). The weather looked stormy, and it was the perfect morning to study fossils and specimens.
The Neoclassical façade says it all: the museum is old-fashioned, but in a good kind of way. It doesn’t have fancy interactive exhibits and silly gimmicks but it houses 3 million fossils and relics, has plain old taxidermy on display, huge dusty skeletons and other interesting zoological, paleontological and geological artifacts. Mark loves the dinosaur exhibit (yet another kid addicted to the Tyrannosaurus rex!) but wasn’t a huge fan of Egyptian funeral rites, so we left when it stopped raining after exploring pretty much the entire building.
After that, we walked around the city, exploring the parts we had missed the day before. We dared to take an entire diagonal and we didn’t get lost. We totally master La Plata. Hurrah!
In the evening, we ended up in Plaza Moreno, the heart of the city, once again. Of course, when Mark spotted the cathedral—really, it’s hard to miss it—he got all excited. “He likes churches,” I explained an old couples who were looking at us. “It’s good, it’s good,” the man said with a big smile. “The padre is Argentinian after all!” “No, no, his father is Chinese,” I corrected—I’m used to people assuming one of us is from Argentina, Mark can look latino. The man started laughing and pointed to the sky. “Not his father, the padre, the pope!”
Oh. Right. Wrong padre!
We stepped into the cathedral during the 7:30 p.m. mass, and we stayed for about fifteen minutes because I wanted Mark to hear the music and people singing. After all, Catholicism plays a big part in many people’s life in Latin America—in Malaysia, I visited a Mosque, in Singapore, Thailand and China we visited temples, so why not enjoy a bit of the mass in Argentina?
Predictably, Mark loved it. “More music!” he said very quietly (we use a “quiet voice” in churches, Mark finally mastered this, phew!). “Sorry buddy, the guy kind of talks a lot in between singing…”
When we stepped out of the cathedral, there was a beautiful rainbow over Plaza Moreno, and the sky was on fire.
“See Feng: this is how God rewards me when I go to the Mass,” I joked. “A rainbow and a magical sunset for every atheist who steps into a church, this is his special of the day!”