The well connected dead at Recoleta Cemetary in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Spanish language here in Buenos Aires differs from that of Spain and the rest of the Americas. It is quite different from the Spanish I grew up speaking from my Guatemalan grandmother. Argentines, Uruguayans and Paraguayans commonly use the voseo, a relict 16th century form with slightly different endings. The stresses, intonation and words are different so I’m forced to listen more carefully. I even hear a difference in the pronunciation in the north of Buenos Aires from the South. When Isabelle Allende from Chile speaks, the intonation is different as well. Still, I love being in a country where I hear Spanish being spoken outside my window as the sounds of city traffic wake me up.

There are many reasons I have been attracted to Buenos Aires. I’ve always read it’s the most European-like city in South America. It’s been described as the Paris of the South but I find that limiting now that I’m here. The people are warm and delightful, I’m fascinated with the architecture and the art plus it’s the largest Jewish community in South America. It feels like a unique combination of Italy, France and a bit of Spain all rolled into one but I’m in South America.

I am interested in South American cemetaries. Here’s a link to a cemetery I stumbled onto in La Paz, Bolivia last year.

I am grateful that I have a spirit inside of me that sings when I travel. I get a bit excited when I don’t know where I’m going, it’s a drug I can’t do without. I asked multiple people and listened extra hard because I am a bit directionally dysfunctional and because so many Argentinos speak with an Italian accent as half the country is of Italian descent. I found the cemetery after walking about what seemed like forever minutes from my apartment in Palermo. I’m not used to walking. I’m a California girl and really, no one walks in LA.

Over 4 city blocks with more than 6,400 mausoleums, 70 declared historic monuments. I passed one elaborate, ostentatious tomb after another. It’s an architectural wonder, a neoclassical explosion for the eyes. Architectural styles ranging from neo classic to art deco kept me fascinated for hours. I saw graves resembling chapels, Greek temples, pyramids and mini mansions. American cemeteries seem cookie cutter, orderly and simple by comparison. I have a penchant for the odd and unusual so Recoleta Cemetery was perfectly magical not to mention the cats all around.

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Who’s your mom?

Who’s your mom?

This one made me cry-She couldn’t open her eyes

Who’s your mom?

Quien es su mama?

Feels like a red carpet entrance to lost souls where the dead are not forgotten here as fresh flowers decorate the tombs. I’m thinking all these buried had mothers and fathers and friends and lovers and worked jobs they loved and didn’t like so much and one day, it’s over. So I’m thinking, who did I touch today? Who did I help? I find inspiration from life and death as this is real life.

I could have stayed in the cemetery all day but it started to rain. I started singing Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head in my mind.

But there’s one thing I know,
The blues they send to meet me won’t defeat me.
It won’t be long till happiness steps up to greet me.

Fortunately I was wrapped in my black shawl that Joyce gave me in Guatemala last year so I stayed dry and so did my camera equipment and my juicy 10-22 mm Canon lens.

I was walking down Avenue Santa Fe when I saw a restaurant where I liked the vibe. No sports bar tv and bright lights. When I walked in and heard one of my favorite Gloria Estefan songs playing, I knew it was the right place.


Levántese y gocen, que la vida es corta.

Alégrese por fin, que demás no importa.

Oigan bien sin temor lo que enseña la vida, señores.

No te busques otra herida con el mismo error, oigan bien.


Get up and enjoy yourself because life is short.
Rejoice finally, no matter what happens.
Listen well, without fear of what life teaches you, people.
Do not look for other wounds with the same error, listen well.

Ensalada mixta. Empanadas de mozzarella, tomate y albaltaca, cebolla y queso y vino de casa.

Mixed salad. Empanadas of mozzarella, tomato, tuna, onion and cheese w/yummy house vino.

Ensalada mixta de mozzarella, tomate y albaltaca, cebolla y queso y vino de casa.

Pertutti-desert shop on Santa Fe

Pertutti-desert shop on Santa Fe

Wouldn’t it be good if we could hop a flight to anywhere?
So long to this life.
Sheryl Crow-Can’t Cry Anymore


About hannahkozak

I am passionate about photography & have been making photos since I was a little girl. I have been a stunt woman for twenty five years. I have a passion for exploration, discovery, and escape. I dream of every place I seek to travel to. A recovering adrenaline junkie, I seek authenticity in everyday experiences. I love Kundalini Yoga,travel, books,writing and authentic, real experiences and people. I brake for squirrels. Que le vaya bien! View all posts by hannahkozak

8 responses to “The well connected dead at Recoleta Cemetary in Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Georgie

    Another great blog….I love your blogs Hannah!!!! Beautiful photos….I feel what you see…..and heard when you sang!!! oxoxoxo

  • Hope

    Sus mamas son gatas perditas. Muy triste.
    (How’d I do there?)

  • melody

    Oh Hannah…Your food shots made my mouth water..and the poor kitty who could not open her eyes..made me so sad. Your photos always evoke an emotion in me..I dont think you shoot with a camera at all..but with your open heart!! Love you so!!…

  • mattersthatmatter

    we visited here with Kate in 2001. wow! I will send this on to her, she will be so pleased. Hannah do you speak spanish?

  • mattersthatmatter

    of course you do, I guess I meant to ask if you speak the Argentine spanish or the mexican spanish. Kate works for an immigration attorney and speaks both dialects. Though I don’t speak, I can pick up the differences when I hear them. Oh, I am so excited to send this blog to her. She has such a travel bug and is un-satiated at the moment. this will help.

    • hannahkozak

      Kate, I speak the North American spanish. Although I started to speak the Argentine spanish a bit the longer I was there. It’s a very pretty spanish.Boy, do i ever understand the travel bug! Nothing can take the place of waking up in a new city not knowing where to go or what to eat. It’s an elixir for the soul and creativity.

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