5 Floors Down. 6 Feet Under. Howling Laughters.

6:16 PM

Laughter shouldn't even be present during the funerals. Call it an omen but in this one, laughter made himself felt, we all shivered.

St. Paul's is this quaint little church located at Ahmadi which everybody agreed to be perfect for the funeral of an almost perfect person. Family, friends and colleagues gathered to pay tribute to a man that once was. Heavy hearts were lifted as it became obvious that religion and societal status did not matter on that day. In fact, nothing really mattered except for that special person being laid to rest.

My good friend Fatma, who said she wants to be my sister, was confused on how come nobody was crying hard. A sniff here and there is discounted as crying. Apparently, in their culture women has to weep and beat themselves hard.

I realized that despite the cultural differences, there are only slight differences with how we do funerals.

  • Everyone cries. Hard or in moderation, tears will and still flows freely.

  • Color of clothing will either be black or white. Or combination of the two.

  • Eating after funerals are almost always prepared by someone else other than family.

  • Everyone pleads their own God's to accept their love on into their welcoming bosom.

  • 40 days is practiced. For some, spirits stays on earth for 40 days, after that they go to heaven thus family gather around for rounds of prayers. Others wear their black garments for those amount of days to show that they are grieving. No matter what the reason is, it's still the 40 days number.

  • During the funeral reception someone will always laugh.

In our case, everyone laughed. Even the widow.

But before we talk about foods and laughter's. Let me tell you that I've never been lost on the road and had this much fun. No thanks to the ambulance driver, it took us almost one hour to get to Sulaibhikat cemetery. We went round and round the great expanse of the desert. Maybe he's too proud to ask for directions because I could have told him how to go to 5th ring road with my eyes closed.

It felt like a joy ride. Like a company picnic. Morbid as it may sound that is actually how it felt. We had loud music and people were being naughty by sly remarks of funeral practices around the world. People were falling in love with 2007 Rav4 edition, with good looking bosses, with arabic bad words, with sect disparities, with arrange marriages and riding with boys. Not everything was interesting to me but it did give us a good laugh. Nothing is greater than learning each other's quirks and quips.

The burial was quick. Probably because it was so hot it actually feels like hell. I could feel my shoes melting on my toes and I couldn't see as my hair was being blown wildly everywhere by the wind. Despite the heat and the sand blowing in our eyes, the sacramental rite was solemn and heartfelt. Especially when the "piper man" blew his horns and played amazing grace. It was beautiful. Short but beautiful. When I die, I want amazing grace to play over and over again, shuffled with Green day and Matchbox 20 favorites and never the "Hindi Kita Malilimutan" (I’ll never forget you) song.

Losing our way to the reception again proved to be an eye opener. Finding Oasis beside highway 40 for a thirst quencher is one of them. Who would ever think that a decrepit little patch of tin roofs could save you from the gruelling heat of a sun with its ice cream and ice cold water. That losing our way until the end of the world Shuaiba Area gives me the chance to be boastful about my Kuwait road rage knowledge.

Reception was held at: A Thai fine dining restaurant located in Hilton Hotel Mangaf.

I've only been to this place twice. First was when the "The Filipino Mafia" got tired of the usual chicken and beef delicacies we decided to get authentic cuisine. The menu was of course in a language we couldn't understand so we did what we thought was best. Closed our eyes and ordered whatever our dainty little fingers could point at. Laughing at ridiculous looking servings, devouring them with gusto and that Thai lady manipulating the strings that produces romantic incomprehensible melody was what stuck to my memory.

This time, it's buffet style. I so wanted to take a picture of that HUGE and I mean HUGE serving tray of calf (some said it was camel - eeee) with yellow rice but I didn't. I was so stunned to even comprehend how to use the camera. The food this time was A-ok. Nothing weird (except for that calf) nothing fabulous either. Just your normal average buffet.

When you're going to this restaurant, I highly recommend individual orders rather than the buffet. I will also urge you to hurry up in checking out that restaurant as I've heard from an underground rumor that this place is going to close soon. It will be a sin to miss the wonderful gulf view and the authentic Thai ambiance that you can't have anywhere else in Kuwait. Before I get stoned for being an insensitive mourner let me leave a word from the "The widow":

"I am sure he won't have this occasion any other way."

Rings of laughter only meant that we are rest assured that he is in a better place. That we are not making him feel guilty for leaving us so soon and be restless in Valhalla. We had fun that day but we never forget for a split second why we are there in the first place.

We parted ways with a subdued thought that life goes on as usual but it sure will be a lesser place.

On other news. Courtesy of "The Filipino Mafia" grape vine, a Hilton employee jumped off from his 5Th floor Hilton Accommodation. Rumor is, he lost it when his girlfriend in the Philippines ran off and got married with other guy, his mother was hospitalized and diagnosed with mental problems and to top it off his sister died of child birth. All of these recent events made him depressed and irrational consequently pushed him down the pavement. I am not sure if it's luck but he survived the fall. He is admitted in Adan Hospital unconscious and with a lot of internal damage. Although we do not condone suicide as it is a sin, friends of this young man would like to solicit prayers from the Filipino community. That he may survive this tragedy with renewed strength and better view in life.

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