The Spanish who opted for two ancient trees as the last refuge of Gabo
Juan Antonio González was a unemployed banking employee until one day he came up with an innovative and unique business: a service of scattering of ashes as a posthumous tribute by aircraft or boats, which has already reached corners such as the pyramids of Giza or the Alps.
Juan Antonio’s is a service so exclusive that two months ago he received a call from the Mexican Government asking for advice on how to spread the ashes of a character of international renown: the writer Gabriel García Márquez.
“I took the phone and what my surprise was when they told me that call came from the Mexican Government. “The desire of García Márquez was that his ashes were distributed between Mexico and Colombia, so I recommended them that they put them in two environment friendly urns with a sapling of the longest living native trees of each country, ancient trees, so that in this way the spirit of Gabo perpetuates the longest possible time in them”, he explained to Efe with satisfaction.
The “advice” was free this time, but in return he received the promise that both the Mexican Government and the Colombian one would facilitate contacts and permissions to carry out his business in both countries.
“I have partners in 18 countries: United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Holland, Romania… Once I organized a tribute on an island in Canada. They accessed a forest with a sapling of a typical local conifer. “It was a place of difficult access and they arrived in helicopter. Sometimes it is not easy to get the permits to do so”, he details.
The name of the company is Yatri, a hindi word that means travel, road, trail. It occupies a market segment that is growing (in the community of Madrid the incineration is chosen in 34 per cent of deaths) and due to lack of space in cemeteries or even for being a greener system (many of the urns carry seeds from where new trees are born) has growing acceptance.
Yatri was born last year in the simplest way: “one day I was walking along a beach in Santander with my wife and I saw how a small plane was pulling advertising out of the window. My father had died recently and then I wondered whether there would be any service of scattering of ashes from the air. I started to work and I saw that there was no company registered around the world that carries out this activity, so I decided to be the first one to offer the service.”
And thus, from Santander to the pyramids in Egypt.
“It is the most expensive service that I have provided 42,000 euros. It was a 42 year-old man who lived in Granada, died of cancer and left said to his parents and a friend that his ashes were spread by the pyramids of Giza, in Egypt. The service included transportation in a private jet and once there, an armored SUV, due to the situation of the country, from Cairo to Giza, where they scattered the ashes in the nearby dunes”, he says.
Yatri services have also come to the Alps, where a helicopter transported a woman from Madrid so she could spread the ashes of her husband deceased, a Swiss, by this mountain range where they were walking when they met.
But Yatri is not just for the rich. For less than 400 euros you can get a tribute in the Bay of Biscay with up to five nautical miles navigation on a sailboat from eleven meters in length, with music and throwing flower petals at sea while the liturgy office.
From a Lady of Marbella which spread the ashes of her dog, a chihuahua, throughout the Mediterranean Sea from a helicopter, up to three siblings who rented a diving team to place an urn with the ashes of his father 15 meters down the sea, in the area where he used to fish. Yatri meets its motto: “To make reality the last wish of your customers by land, sea and air”.
By the way, did the Mexican Government use your idea to scatter the ashes of Gabriel García Márquez?
“They told me that they liked the idea a lot and that it was very emotional to them. But Garcia Marquez’s family has always been very discreet and they wanted to carry the tribute with privacy. They didn’t want the place chosen for the final rest of Gabo to become a place of pilgrimage”, he admits with a smile. We are left with the intrigue.