Magical Mystery Tour - mud diving in North Sulawasi, Feb '07
I love the sea . How could anyone not love the sea ?
" When I die, I'm to be cremated and the ashes scattered in the sea," I said to Guzal as I gazed at the astonishingly beautiful Gur-e Amir Mausoleum in Samarkand. " Why would you do that ?!" Guzal exclaimed in horror . As a Muslim she could not comprehend any burial other than earth burial. " Well, Hong Kong's so small we've run out of space to bury the dead. " I replied lamely, not wanting to argue in the mid-day heat. " You come and be buried in Uzbekistan," Guzal said decidedly, graping my hand, " we've plenty of land here in Uzbekistan !"
My father, however, has other ideas . Since he's bought a burial plot for himself and my mother in Colma, California , he's been nagging me to buy a space next to theirs ." We don't get to see you much in life since we live so far apart, I wish the whole family to stay close together in death ". I'm adamant in my refusal." I don't even like coming to the US when I'm alive, why would I want to be stuck here for all eternity after I'm dead ?" My father mopes about in the house , visibly upset. In exacerberation my mother scolds him, " How'd you know where anybody is ? You'd be dead !"
While I ponder on the dubious honor of being more in demand in death than in life, it occurs to me there's no law that says the young must out-live the old , especially when one examines the scrapes I somehow unwittingly managed to land myself in - getting mixed up with a gang of gold smugglers in Nepal ; caught in a boat fire in the Maldives ; lost in a Japanese war ship in Palau ; thrown off a running horse carriage in Tibet ; stranded at the Slovaki border at midnight after being marched off a train by a soldier at gun point ; perforated an eardrum in Bali ; drifting in the strong currents of the Indian Ocean for 3 hours in Aceh until a Greek lady heard my whistle for help .... the odds are not encouraging .
The truth of the matter is we have absolutely no control over the hour or mode of our own demise, even whether our body can be recovered for burial . But we do have control over how we live . Given the paucity of choices, it is thereby my pledge to live each day well : joyfully, purposefully, meaningfully . Then I'd ever be ready whence and whenever the Greatest Magical Mystery Tour begins .