Guest Post By Peter Klika
I love cemeteries. Wherever I travel, I always try to visit the local cemetery if it is not intrusive. A cemetery can reveal an intimate picture of the history and culture of a location that travel guides seldom do.
Pictured below is the mausoleum of Eva Perón (Evita) in Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is famous for its elaborate mausoleums typified by the bronze soldier ( no, not me) next to the resting place of a forgotten hero of the Chaco War between Argentina and Paraguay.
Next is the Colonial Cemetery of Penang in Malaysia. Seldom visited, I was the only living being there on a sultry afternoon. Pictured here is the simple tomb of Francis Light the founder of Penang as one of the British Straits Settlements. The other two were Singapore and Malacca. Eventually the British took over the entire Malay peninsula calling it Malaya, renamed Malaysia after independence from Britain.
Last is the crematorium of Pashupati outside of Kathmandu, Nepal. The deceased are cremated in an elaborate Hindu ceremony as their souls are released to their next incarnation. A family can hire a priest (foreground) to honor the departed soul and even prepare a horoscope that foretells the next incarnation. Although not widely known, only certain castes can be cremated on certain days, and higher castes are cremated upriver from lower castes.
So, walk and talk softly as you reverently visit. Flowers are not obligatory, but are always appreciated.
Peter Klika is currently “rewiring” after working for the U.S. State Department, NASA, the University of Hawaii, the Governor of Hawaii, and the law firm of Klika, Parrish & Bigelow. He painted cranes at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to put himself through graduate school and worked as a professional navigator on various yachts while writing his PhD. He has sailed both around the world and the rim of the Pacific Ocean, led several Himalayan expeditions, and walked solo across Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. He has contributed to such diverse publications as National Geographic, Arts of Asia, UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. He participated in five documentaries on Tibet including “Finding Shangri-La” which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. He divides his time between Seattle and the Big Island of Hawaii and various exotic destinations. His is most passionate about his family and friends and tries not to take himself too seriously. He knows fortune has smiled on him and takes nothing for granted.