Saturday, February 27, 2010

Discreet Pleasures – Hanging Out In Cemeteries


Panteón Angela Peralta

Looking up into the fading to dark azure Mazatlán sky may be the last thing on earth we see as we shuffle off our mortal coil. The angel of death is our constant companion so a trip to a cemetery to see who our future eternal neighbours may well be is always a good idea. We don’t want our constant companion in the hereafter to be someone who has reason to be in eternal damnation and spends the rest of time screaming at their devilish tormentors. No one ever wants to have a noisy neighbour.

The Panteón Angela Peralta (municipal panteón no.2) off Calz. Gabriel Leyva is the place to go. Just imagine resting next to the famous operatic soprano Angela Peralta whose voice is described as like a ‘the trilling goldfinch’. Sweet music will always calm the troubled soul. However she did not die peacefully but of the black plague. She arrived unluckily in Mazatlán to give a concert just when the plague was at its worst and most of the troupe’s members were wiped out with her. She did have time to be married to Julián Montoel y Duarte on her deathbed but did not have the strength to signal her assent so one of the company moved her head manually. Although her bones are back in Mexico D.F her 'trilling' soul still soothes the long term residents of panteón no. 2 Mazatlán.




This cemetery, as all cemeteries ought to be, is slightly unkempt and falling apart around the edges with the occasional collapsed grave and falling down mausoleum but it is quiet, cool and contemplative with some fascinating gravestones, flora, fauna and dead people’s names. Some that can show the history of this city – Juan Regenstein from Germany, Don Juan Nepomusemo Machado (Plaza Muchado), German Evers owner of the original Pacifico brewery and tombs of some of the Chinese community.

So take heart in the fact that if you are about to fall down dead and don’t have the means to be transported back to your country of birth, The Panteon Angela Peralta is as good a place as any to be placed because here, Death the final leveller, dressed up in her slightly down at heel architectural finery surrounds you on all sides. You may not even mind the occasional open grave with a gruesome sight of a wizened arm and hand extending out an overturned coffin six feet down in the dry earth.


We at MazReal have decided that when the time comes, the proximity of death will provoke within us a lust to seize the moment and lie in state on a wooden ship Viking style doused in flammable tar or petrol and be pushed off the beach at Olas Altas while selected friends can shoot flaming arrows to ignite the funereal barge on which we will be burned to a crisp and sink slowly beneath the waves into the Sea of Cortes as a firey Mazatlán sunset bursts outwards and upwards.

Who says we do not deserve to die like we were Gods.




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