Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Wedding Day

By 5am, the kitchen (outside our window) was back in full swing as the crowd of friends and family all pitched in to prepare the wedding feast. So by 6.30am we were up and about and having breakfast - sticky rice with shredded coconut with crushed peanuts and sesame seeds and pork sausage ... delicious!

Xuan was starving hungry...

Quỳnh and Net hunkered down to help with the fresh green vegetables. This is the kitchen/utility area of the house next door. That building houses the kitchen, laundry and toilet. Then they went back to the main house and joined the ladies skewering pork kebabs in the huge temporary kitchen.

Like most people all over Viet Nam, when they saw me with my camera out, they smiled and posed for me!

Meanwhile, the bedroom was being decorated for the bride and groom. I have noticed that contrary to the way things are done in Australia, the men here take on most of the decorating jobs. In this case, the groom's mate on the bed was in charge...

... with stunning results. The photo on the wall is one of the wedding photos.

This is the bride's bouquet.

The guests arrived and we sat down to the groom's wedding feast at about 10.30am. There was a tray of food like this prepared for each table (six people). Going round from L to R, there's sticky rice, crushed peanuts & sesame seeds, pork skewers, satay sauce, chicken, mandarines, cat meat, pork sausage, beef & greens, and chicken vegetable soup.
It is quite common here to have my Vietnamese friends put food in my bowl, and as soon as we sat down (before I thought to ask what food we were looking at), Quỳnh dropped some meat into my bowl on top of my rice, so I dipped it into the satay sauce and ate it ... like you do... It tasted a bit like beef, but different - a bit odd - so I didn't have any more. I found out later that it was cat meat. That's when I went back over my photos of the food preparation from yesterday and realised I had a photo of a whole table of cat carcases. Everything else was delicious...

After lunch, we had a couple of hours to kill, waiting for 1pm, when Trung was due to go and get his bride, so we found an empty corner (with a bed) and made ourselves at home. Xuân decided it was a good time to take some photos... here are the better ones...


Khánh even managed a few minutes of shut eye.

Then the girls were asked to help with arranging some flowers. The paper 'bowls' the guy is folding will be filled with sunflower seeds.

Trung and many of his young friends here at the wedding were students at the Nam Phat Church class when it began, with Hannah (a Korean-American) as their teacher. They all call her 'Mum' and obviously love her dearly. She travelled all the way from Hạ Long Bay this morning to be here for Trung and Nga's wedding and there was great excitement when she finally arrived at 11am.

This is Hannah, with her friend, Trang

There were four other ex-students with her, so it was a joyful reunion. We gathered in the kitchen and sat together while they enjoyed the wedding feast, too. She is very proud that several of her students now have good jobs where speaking English is a requirement. Trung is the first of them to get married. I met Hannah briefly last year when Katie was here, but this was the first opportunity I've had to have a chat. It was very encouraging to hear that we are on the same page ... we both love these beautiful young friends too much to see them go to a Christless eternity. I wonder what He has in store?

Trung was so delighted to have her here, but before long it was finally time for him to get ready to go and fetch his bride

So he was all set, and there was time for a few more photos

This time Trung made the trip across town in the wedding car - complete with flowers all over it, and the rest of us followed in a convoy. We all sat down for five minutes while the bride and groom were presented to the company, and it was time to go again!

   This girl gave me flowers.

The loveliest custom is when the groom walks his bride down the road to his house, with all the friends and relatives following in a happy crowd.

Once again the tent was filled to overflowing and there was entertainment and speeches.

There was another westerner... he's German, and is Trung's brother-in-law

Vietnamese kids are so gorgeous!

Hannah organised us all for a group photo...

And there we are ... the Nam Phat Church Crew (with a couple of extras)

Hannah gave the married couple some last words of advice, and it was time to go.
I took out my camera on the way home for more scenic pics.

This is a pontoon bridge - a series of pontoons. It was surprising to see that the river level had dropped by several inches since yesterday.

Boys will be boys...

This is Xuân's home town... much cleaner than Hải Phòng!

Even though we were following a busy main road, there was a traffic jam in this section, where a market presses in on both sides...

... lots of tooting and weaving in and out ...

Then there's this section of rough road in Kien An ... and this stretch was very busy yesterday...

The ride home took over 90 minutes, and I must admit my lower half was pretty uncomfortable for that final half hour! So it was lovely to come home, stretch my legs, then sit down for a cuppa. Khánh stayed for a bite to eat, then went to uni and I walked to school to teach a class! Huge weekend! Fabulous weekend!

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