Friday, January 03, 2014

Iquitos, Peru: Chuck's Surprise Cremation Party (Part One)

About ten years ago I realised that I was close to death – nearing 50 – which is pretty much the end-- and that I had to get busy researching it all if I were to do it right. There's no second chance. I had to read a lot of books about death so I wouldn't blow this last thing in this life I would ever do. Now it must be something like urgent, me closing in on 60. I've read enough about death by now to bore most people to the grave no matter how old they are. So, my next step is to hang out with Chuck who is older than dinosaurs. Chuck is in his 70s, and he's looking into cremation in Iquitos, Peru. He's going to Chicago soon to go skydiving again, around his 30th jump or so, but when he returns he has to be ready for the eternal dirt nap-- Death. He's a tidy kind of guy and doesn't want to leave himself lying around when he's gone. He's looking into a prepaid cremation plan in Iquitos now since he cancelled the one he had in Miami. No point in a cremation plan in Miami if he's dead in the Amazon. It would cost a lot to fly his corpse all the way up there to Fla., and since Chuck would be dead there's no real point in pissing away the cash on the trip. We're looking into him getting cremated in town.

To read the rest of this story, please turn to the following link;

A gentle reminder that my book, An Occasional Walker, is available at the link here:
And here are some reviews and comments on said book:


Always On Watch said...

Have you read Mary Roach's book Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers? I just finished reading it and highly recommend the book if you are researching the eternal dirt nap.

Dag said...

When I saw the title of Mary Roach's book, Stiff, I immediately assumed it was a health book concerning one or the other of the two things all middle aged men are concerned about, in my case: My knees.

I got it and read it and nearly died laughing. It was funny, yes, but also highly informative, such as which seat to choose in case the plane crashes. I liked the character sketches, too, like the monster lady in charge of heads in turkey roasting pans awaiting plastic surgeons. I recall all this even though I read the book when it first came out, back when I was a far younger man. Roach's book is one of the best on death I have read, and I have read a lot of 'em.

My book, An Occasional Walker, is arranged loosely into themes, one of which is death. My book on the Bolivian Amazon, to come out I know not when, is about death in part as well. But there I learned more about death than from any other time, any other experience I have had in life till then. Now, thanks to some desperate time stranded in the jungle, I see life and death very differently. I see everything differently because of that period. The fact is, I always see things differently, day by day, learning as I go. I wish I could live to be a thousand years old, just so I could continue bumming around learning what it is to be alive among people and in the greater world. I am blessed to have such a life as I do, even if it's too short. It's good. When it's all over, I hope I have a chance to say "Thank You."

Always On Watch said...

Thanks to a generous homeschool parent, Mr. AOW and I -- and two of our friends -- will be going to a resort in August. I think that I'll take An Occasional Walker with me. I know that I'll have time to read. And I'll let you know what I think of your book. I do occasionally write book reviews at my web site.

I, too, read Stiff when it was first published. I like it ever better the second time around.

I share with you an interest in death -- if "interest" is the right word. For example, all my life I've been fascinated by cemeteries.

Dag said...

I was in Iquitos for a short time before I realised I had more than enough pages for a new book, 320 pages in about six weeks; but it wasn't the kind of material I felt warranted a new book at all. For that I had to go out and write real things about the city, its history, its culture, its people. One of the first things I did was look into the new Chinese made sewerage system. Public health depends upon such low-glamour works. The series was surprisingly popular. In keeping with my interests in public health I also wrote about cemeteries, not so popular.

I have no idea how to make that a live link. I hope it works, the story, ultimately, being one of triumph and beauty, the story of the three dead German lads.

I finally replaced the hated poster of Marlene Dietrich I had stuck on the ceiling in the bedroom when I was married, me hoping to be a good husband, and I replaced it with a rubbing from a cemetery in New Haven, Ct., a 90 year old man dead in 1640 or so. Somehow my best gal liked the Dietrich poster better.

Funny thing about death. I am totally keen on giving lots of it to our enemies. Stranger still, they seem to be begging for it. Can't say there's much justice in the world. There is enough good, though, to satisfy me. Every day I find a little bit more.

I'm living in something of a resort on a semi-permanent basis in Iquitos, Peru. Life in the jungle, or at least, in one of the three most isolated cities on earth, is free like the life we used to have at home. Hope you have a great time at your resort.

Freedom. Life is so good some times.