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Ever fantasized about stretching out on a gentle hillside beside the ocean for a good long snooze?

Depending on how long you’re actually planning to remain in the horizontal position, you might want to consider the Vieques Municipal Cemetery.

Vieques Cenetery MF

Granted, most of the cemetery’s inhabitants have made longer-term commitments than you’ll probably want to make. In fact, a good number of them seem to be anticipating very long stays, and quite a few have even built little houses for themselves.

Vieques Cemetery MF II

But a less binding, more vertical, commitment is also possible. Just stroll five minutes west of the village of Isabel II in Vieques, and you’ll find yourself in the quaint cemetery that’s not only beautiful in itself but also boasts a million-dollar ocean view that’s—well—to die for.

Vieques Cemetery IV

I’ve always been a sucker for cemeteries. When I lived in London and popped over to Paris on a regular basis, I visited the famous Père-Lachaise cemetery several times to stand before the graves of such luminaries as Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.

Pere Lachaise

More recently, Michael and I spent a couple of hours in the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, where everyone who’s anyone in BA society is buried (or should I say housed), including Eva Perón of Evita fame. Lots of the mausoleums in the cemetery have glass doors, and when you peep in you can see the coffins laid out, unprotected, on marble shelves. You almost get the sense that if you knocked extra hard the residents would rouse themselves from their slumbers and invite you in for a cozy chat.

DSC01141

The last time Michael and I were in Vieques we decided to explore the island’s cemetery, which we’ve driven (or biked) past scores of times without stopping. Although it’s not a sprawling necropolis like Père-Lachaise or Recoleta, it tells the usual sad and poignant tale of all cities of the dead—lives lived to the fullest, lives cut too short, spouses laid out side by side for all time.

It’s an interesting spot to reflect on your own life, if only for a few bittersweet moments.

And though it’s smaller than Père-Lachaise or Recoleta, its view is much better than either.

Take that, Evita!

[If you enjoyed this sketch of Vieques, you’ll find lots more like it in my book, Tropic of Sunshine, available on Kindle, Nook and Apple iBooks. www.tropicofsunshine.com]

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