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The joys of US Foreign Service



Tim Brown reports: "Paul is not exaggerating at all. I never had to observe an embalming personally. But equally bizarre incidents involing American citizen services cropped up constantly while I was in the Foreign Service. One of my favorites was the repatriation of the remains of a citizen who had died in Elat, Israel. There was no cold storage morgue there, nor any embalming services, nor were there hearse/ambulance services available to move the remains to Tel Aviv where embalming could be done. But the family desperately wanted the remains sent back to the US for burial. So we rented a taxi, bought all the ice we could find in Eilat and sat the body up in the taxi's back seat, packed it in ice, and had it driven through the Negev to a Tel Aviv mortuary for preparation.

On protecting third country services, sometimes consulates provide courtesy assistant to non-US consulates. In Merida, Mexico I regularly visited Canadian and Australian prisoners in jails in the region on behalf of their own governments and then sent reports to their consulates. In Paraguay, although no longer a full time consular officer [I w as in the economics section], I was often asked for advice and help by the honorary consuls of the Central American countries, and did what I could to be of help. In return, they were very helpful with things of interest to me, or more correctly the US Mission.

My comment: In view of WAISers' interest in odd Chinese food, could someone tell me about cannibalism in ancient China? It was once common in the Pacific area, and one book says it is still practised in very remote areas of Papua New Guinea and South America. Stuart Rawlings may have some information about the latter. Apparently corpses were once eaten in Australia for ritual purposes. Those were the times.

Ronald Hilton - 1/11/02


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