The language school we attend here in Santiago keeps us busy with classes every morning, and homework each night. But in the afternoons Dan and I take advantage of the local outings they plan for us too. It helps us to get a feel for the city, and for Chilean culture as a whole.
One day last week we took the Metro to the Cementerio General en el Barrio Bellavista, a norhtern neighborhood of Santiago:
It's true I have a rather strange habit of checking out the local cemeteries , wherever I go. For me it's a window into the habits and customs, and history, of the local people.
The Cementerio General in Santiago reminds me of La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, where Evita Peron is buried. The wealthy people built family tombs in many different styles. They look like little houses:
There are all kinds of family names on the tombs. Chile truly is a melting pot:
People of all backgrounds and professions are buried in the cemetery- presidents and national heroes and common laborers alike. Here is the tomb of Chile's famous president, Salvador Allende::
Poorer people may only be able to afford a small plot near the perimeter:
These looked like apartment blocks. As in life, so in death.....
Even Chile's famous soccer team has a tomb for its players:
At the main entrance of the cemetery is an important memorial to Pinochet's victims. Thousands of everyday people who opposed his regime were "disappeared", and many were secretly executed without trial.