I wanted to spend a little time hanging out with Pugliese, Troilo, Gardel, Caro, Di Sarli and D’Arienzo. Admittedly they’re all getting on a bit, and none of them are very talkative these days, but it would seem rude to be in Buenos Aires without visiting them.
Cementerio de la Chacarita is huge! Recoleta Cemetery, which had seemed pretty large when we visited it, would fit inside this one eighteen times. Terry had sent me a couple of links with approximate locations for each tomb, and finding most of them was straightforward (guide to follow), though D’Arienzo was a little harder to track down …
Several of the tango greats are found together in an area known as Rincón de los Notables. Pugliese, Troilo, Caro, Di Sarli and Goyeneche can all be found here. The latter was not on my radar when I planned the visit, but I left a red rose for each of the others.
Video clips of the tombs will follow.
It was when we visited Gardel’s tomb that things got … strange! We arrived, stood and looked at the tomb, together with a few others, and I left the rose.
Then a woman walked up to the door of the tomb, pulled out a key, unlocked it, opened the door and went inside. Steph and I looked at each other in surprise.
Next, one of the other guys there introduced himself as a local YouTuber, Walter Aniston. He pulled out a microphone and wanted to interview us! He fairly quickly gave up on El Hombre de Muy Poco Español and focused on Steph.
We weren’t 100% clear on the purpose of the video. Another guy there said it was about the city – its history, and its present – while Steph had the impression the video was specifically about Gardel. We think maybe the former is the focus of his channel, while the latter was this particular video. He says it will be up in a couple of weeks, so I guess we’ll find out then.
I walked over to the open door, and just peeked inside. The non-YouTuber guy there then said I could go in. He said something about photos, and I assumed he was telling me it was forbidden to take photos inside, but no: he was asking me to wait while he took a photo, then I could go in – and was welcome to take photos or video!
We were then asked if we would dance, to a live singer! I mean, could this whole visit get any more bizarre?!
Already wilting from the heat, and wearing rubber-soled shoes, I wasn’t exactly equipped for dancing. Steph was in a slightly better position, wearing Katrinski flats, but she was the one who would have do to most of the pivoting – on rough stone flagstones. I won’t say it was our best dance, but they all seemed happy! The YouTuber was filming from a static camera and a handheld one, while this video was shot by the guy from the foundation (it’s only 480p as he WhatsApped it to me):
Afterwards, we solved most of the mystery. The other man and woman were from the Carlos Gardel Foundation. They were there to unlock the tomb for Walter to film insider. Apparently we weren’t quite as privileged as we thought, to be allowed inside: they do attend from time to time, and while they are there, they will allow visitors inside.
All the same, I simply cannot imagine anyone in the UK opening up the tomb of one of the country’s most prominent nationals, and letting random foreigners wander in at all, let alone unaccompanied! Only in Buenos Aires.