Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Iquitos, Peru: Talking to the Dead

"The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will..."

Entrance to the city cemetery, Iquitos, Peru

Many of us are going to spend a long time in a cemetery, and maybe we would like to know a little bit about the place before we go to stay. Yes, even people in Iquitos, Peru end up dead, nice place though this is; and if one stays here long enough, chances are one will die here. Then what? One might hope for a pleasant place to stay, a cemetery plot or a niche in a wall with lots of others to keep one company in an orderly and well-kempt if massive garden of the dead. Whatever it is, one might like to have something more than a random hole in the ground. There's a reason that such a place as a modern civic cemetery is the likely final resting place for most, a practical reason Iquitos has a general cemetery, one laid out to replace the original cemetery at Av. 28 Julio just out from the city centre but not far enough away to expand to meet the needs of an ever growing city. The reason for a modern cemetery is similar to if not exactly the same as the need Iquitos has for an upgraded sewerage system: It's a matter of waste disposal. Dead bodies, to be frank, are more or less sewage. We do have some respect for the person, though, and thus we lay out our dead in ceremonies that link them to us and us to life and the future. A cemetery is, in some sense, a memory bank for a people.

To read the rest of this story, please turn to the following link;

A gentle reminder that my book, An Occasional Walker, is available at the link here:

And here are some reviews and comments on said book:

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