There is an unpleasant place called “Mùdì (Mùdì=墓地=burial plot)” in Chinese, best pronounced as “Moo” by the likes of my 80 year-old father, and best heard as “Mall” by the likes of his 75 year-old Chinese friend visiting from New Zealand.

Auntie Tan had been a special visitor. She is not only the widower of my father’s best friend from China, she was also our neighbor when we lived in China over 30 years ago. Her second son was my classmate, and her daughter was my sister’s best friend in grade school. We go a long, long way back.

Auntie Tan lives in New Zealand with her daughter, and was here on a solo trip to fulfill her long cherished dream of seeing America.

Last Friday, I took a day off of work, and took Auntie Tan and my father to Monterey Bay for a day trip.

We had sat down in a fancy sea-view restaurant for lunch when my father left us briefly for the men’s room.

Our Sea-View restaurant.

I asked Auntie Tan if my dad took her anywhere interesting during her week long stay in Los Angeles.

“Ah! Only TOO interesting.” Auntie Tan, and proceeded to tell me about a most fascinating misadventure with my father.

A true story told by Auntie TanThe conversation was all in Chinese, with the exception of a few English words, such as “Mall”.

I was telling your father how after living in New Zealand for 12 years, I really consider New Zealand home now, and have decided to be buried in New Zealand after I die.

A few minutes later…

Your father said to me, “We have Moo here. My Moo is the world’s 5th largest!!”

I told your father, “I didn’t know you have the world’s 5th largest Mall here. My daughter didn’t tell me.”

Your dad said, “Your daughter wouldn’t know that!”

And then, he asked, “Do you want to go see it?!”

“Yes! I want to go see the big Mall.”

So, we got in the car to go see the Mall.

Along the way, I said, “Why is it that on the way to such big Mall, there are hardly any cars or people among us?”

Your father explained, “Today is not any holiday, you will see very few people there.”

I thought to myself, even in New Zealand, we always have people at the Mall.

Then an open lawn with beautiful huge garden came into view directly ahead.

I grew even more puzzled. “Shouldn’t there be tall buildings at the Mall.”

Your dad said, “Why would Moo have buildings?!! We don’t bury our dead people in the buildings, we bury them under the earth.”

Your dad gave me a tour of his American cemetery.

Ha, ha, ha, only someone like my father would think it fit to give his old friend a tour of his future eternal home.

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