Thursday, November 17, 2011

Temple of Doom

If you go to a cemetery in Australia, the atmosphere is quite serene. If you didn't know any better, you could think that you were in a well groomed park rather than a cemetery. Yesterday we went to the cemetery here in Carcar to visit my Grandmother's grave who passed away 4 years ago. It was a very different experience. 

When you first arrive, the road leading into the cemetery is lined with stalls selling everything you could possibly need including flowers, candles and even head stones. 

As we headed into the cemetery, a couple of kids followed us. I assumed they were simply going in the same direction. When we arrived at the grave, they began to help sweep and tidy the area. Mum asked why they weren't at school and they said that they had no money or food, so we tipped them well for their cleaning service!

As I looked around the cemetery, I began to notice something. The pieces of concrete that I thought were stepping stones were in fact pieces of broken head stones and when I looked carefully, I could see bones laying around. 

It turns out that this is quite normal. If a body I buried in a public tomb, after 5 years the bones are removed and placed in a small concrete box. These concrete boxes were everywhere throughout the cemetery and after years and years, many of them are neglected and broken. Their contents spill out and pieces of the boxes have ended up being used as stepping stones. 

It was very Indiana Jones-ish with skulls and bones laying around the tomb like graves. I was waiting to stumble on the temple of doom.


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