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pray to god

An interior view of a mostly-vacant tomb at the gigantic cemetery in Havana. Both of the tombstones say “rogao a dios” – I pray to God.

Here’s the thing I’m wondering about: why do you suppose the tombstones are in Spanish, except for the “R.I.P.” on each of them? Because that’s an English term that translates into Spanish as “que descanse en paz.” Has “R.I.P.” transcended its English words and become a commonly understood shorthand?

Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón
Havana, Cuba
photographed 11.11.2022

cleaned out

This was the state in many of the tombs I looked in at the Havana cemetery. Mostly, there wasn’t anything much inside them. And see how that arched door is standing open? And how the niche behind it is empty?

And then think about how security officers stopped our cars as we left, and glanced inside the trunks.

And reach your own conclusion.

Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón
Havana, Cuba

photographed 11.11.2022

tropical gothic

This cemetery in Havana is one of the world’s largest, with over 450 mausoleums and 800,000 graves. My Lonely Planet Pocket Havana guidebook says there are an average of 50 funerals held here every day.

We had only about 45 minutes here, but I could have easily spent almost my entire week in Cuba exploring the place: you know how I am about cemeteries. I tried to make good use of my time, moving and shooting as quickly as possible. It was hard: I wanted to stop and savor what I was seeing. But that was the way it worked out: at least I got to see it.

This particular mausoleum had a tattered tarp hanging over part of the door, but I am not sure what its purpose was.

When we were leaving, cemetery security guards inspected the trunks of our cars: apparently stealing pieces of graves or mausoleums is a concern.

(Also, the place is so vast and has so many visitors that city bus routes go right through the place.)

(And, the photographer who made that iconic photo of Che Guevara – you know the one I mean – is buried here.)

Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón
Havana, Cuba
photographed 11.11.2022

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