Saturday, May 12, 2007

Carpe Diem! And They Did, In Style

Wify (that’s an endearing term for my wife, in the same vein as hubby) called me in the office yesterday morning regarding her planned outing to the Bay waters with Sister Yu Huei, Sister Connie, Venerable Hwei Chen’s Mom, and Mama Soon. It was a treat for Venerable Hwei Chen’s Mom on the occasion of her visit to the Tampa area. Included in the road/boat trip, a short one from where we are across the Bay, was a Releasing Life activity.

Chauffeured by Sis Yu Huei, the entourage braved the hazy condition and arrived at Clearwater around 3pm. Then they immediately boarded a launch boat for a leisure cruise around the Bay. There was another lovely couple from Ohio (wify always manages to strike up a conversation with almost anybody) and that’s it.

It’s not very often that wify gets to be around places in my absence. But I have learned to let go through the years. Not that I’m possessive and not able to trust her instincts (one can never be too careful), but rather I always get worried for her safety when she is out of my sight. But she promised to keep me posted through mobile telecommunication. And I have learned to suppress negative thoughts, at first consciously. Now the negativity only visits sporadically and fleetingly.

The cruise took them scything through the calm Bay waters, kicking up regular trains of boat waves and wakes emanating from the moving boat from both sides. The boat spots a leaping dolphin on its top, and they did catch some glimpses of dolphins swimming not too far away (but perhaps too far to be shot, with a camera that is). Wify was also not able to catch the lovely sounds that the dolphins are known to make either. Just the droning of the boat engine and the serene sight of the dolphins going about their business in their natural habitat, broken perhaps by the occasional verbal exchanges among the spectators.

The cruise made a brief stop on what looks like a sandbank in the middle of the bay. Like lost souls marooned on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere (use your imagination), the ladies frolicked at the water edge, were perched on top of washed up tree stumps, and just generally enjoyed the piece of heaven on earth, away from the hustle and bustle of city life (actually that only becomes a backdrop and out of earshot only).

Then it was back to the shore for the Releasing Life activity, followed by a vegetarian dinner at a Vietnamese Chinese restaurant not too far away. Do you know that many Vietnamese Chinese speak Cantonese? And the lady proprietor of this restaurant is no different. And it so happened that wify can speak a smattering of Cantonese (she is Hokkien/Fujian, similar to the Taiwanese/Mingnan dialect but perhaps her Cantonese was honed by interacting with my late Mom who only spoke Cantonese, and also the old lady helper around the school where she lived while young, come to think of it). And the two talked like two long lost friends who have just found each other, aided by a common thread revealed during the conversation.

The lady proprietor had spent a year on a transit camp when she left Vietnam in 1978, and that transit camp was Pulau Bidong, an island offshore of the State of Terengganu, Malaysia that was designated a refugee island by United Nations during the height of the Vietnamese exodus. So that’s the common link. She was first dispatched to Holland and later wound up in US following her husband. It’s a small, small world, the famous refrain made popular by the DisneyWorld people.

Wify reached home about 10pm, still in high spirits nary a trace of fatigue. That’s what a good company does to you. Thus concluded a memorable outing, a lady's day of sort, the moments, many, caught in the pictorial journal that follows, the befitting manifestation of the spirit of Carpe Diem!

Yummy! Nothing beats having some delicious chinese dumplings
to start the day, or in this intant, evening (Mama Soon to the left
and Venerable Hwei Chen's Mom to the right).

Nice breeze! The four lady friends at stern (Wify to extreme left and
Sis Connie to extreme right).
Obviously the 5th member of the entourage,
Sis Yu Huei, is the photographer.

Staking a claim on the sandbank, with a solitary tree and a
rather extensive grass meadow to boot.

Instead of Tom Hanks in Castaway, we have four graceful ladies smilingly in distress.
But the backdrop is a dead giveaway.

What's with the boat captain? It seems a cruise would not be complete
without a picture with the captain. Perhaps for safely delivering
the entourage back to the shore? But I feel assured at the sight
of the stacks of life jackets at the ceiling. Shouldn't they be wearing them?

Life begetting life, the Buddhist Way.


chen said...

Thank you very much for the nice article and for the efforts of posting the pictures. Happy Mother's day to Beekhoon sister. We love her!!!! she is one of my greatest supports on road of Buddhism and in life.

Say Lee said...

Many thanks for taking the trouble to ferry them around. You have been a great help.