Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thailand day 7-Bangkok wedding

March 29
Jan and Armin's wedding.

Jan is from Bangkok. Armin is from Bavaria. They met in Dubai while working as flight attendants for Emirates about 5 or so years ago. They now live in Augsburg. I met Jan here in Augsburg at a German Stammtisch run by my friend Silke (who I had met some months before at an English Stammtisch!) Not long after talking Jan and I discovered that our "significant others" are colleagues in the hospital. Jurij knew more people at the wedding than I did! And because of my extreme form of hypochondria I was happy to be surrounded by a gaggle of MD's in a foreign land.

I used to do wedding photography in NYC but never have I experienced a wedding that started at 8:30 in the morning! Apparently Thais are morning people. The morning ritual is this: The groom and his parents followed by a procession of relatives and friends try to pass through a series of string "barriers" each held up by 2 of the brides relatives. At each barrier light hearted negotiations take place until an agreement is reached and the grooms family is allowed to pass.

The party then proceeded into another room. We took our seats and then watched what seemed like a TV talk show. Both parents were seated on couches opposite each other in the front of the room while the talk show host sat on the couch in the middle holding a microphone. All the parents took turns talking interrupted only by Jan's fathers cell phone beeping in the middle of it. On the stage he took the call. It was pretty funny. Must of been really important! The bride and groom then lit candles to the left of the couches and bowed. Rings were exchanged in the middle of the room, words were exchanged with the parents, pictures were taken.

In the next scene bride and groom are stage center and receive flower necklaces. Then a loop of white string is placed on his head which is connected to a loop of string placed on her head. I think its like kinda symbolic or something. The audience gets up and in single file gets to pour with a ladle water onto the folded hands of the bride and groom and give good wishes. Scene ends and we eat a little something.

Intermission lasts the entire afternoon and we take a trip with Alex and Annette, who work with Jurij, Armin's brother and his parents to the one of the floating markets of Bangkok. Basically we walk onto a covered pier which is lined with Thai style row boats on either side. In each boat is a cook and her "kitchen". We order various tasty dishes and sit Indian style with our shoes off at very low tables on the pier. It was very enjoyable! Yum I loved the huge prawns!

back at the hotel was a dinner for way more people who showed up at the earlier festivities. The dinner was delish but the most memorable thing were the drinks. For one if you ordered your choice of coke, water or whiskey (whisky flavored water was what it really was) as soon as you were finished another of the same would appear 5 seconds later. Didn't matter if now wanted a coke you were going to get another whisky flavored water that you have been unfortunately drinking for the past hour.

Alex asked the waiter if he could order any wine. The waiter responded, sorry sir we only have one bottle of wine and that is reserved for the guest of honour! Jan's father is a well known crooner and the guest of honour was a famous singer, I assume a friend of his, who entertained us that night. But only 1 bottle of wine??? And no big drunken dance party afterwards??? Well I guess that's how they do it in Thailand!

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