Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Guess Who Got Married This Weekend!!

:o) This weekend Pae's cousin Yok got married in Ubon. Yok is 12 days older than Pae, they were childhood bestest buddies. "Yok" means jade. Her now husband's name is Maew, which means cat in Thai.

The family here in Bangkok (13 adults) rented a van (capacity 11 adults) and driver for the trip. We squeezed into the van Friday evening and slept most of the way across the kingdom. We arrived in Ubon sometime before dawn and crashed on floors and couches. I think I was pretty beat from a long week at school combined with the 8 hours of cross country, as all I remember after laying down on the family room floor is waking up to Pae telling me "Lets go, nobody's taking pictures!"

I washed the important areas with a super quick shower, skipped brushing the teeth, grabbed my trusty little camera, two memory cards and ran down the "soi" (road) to Yok's house where the wedding had already begun.

Not your traditional western wedding, as the religion here in Thailand is ninety-something percent Buddhism, and the rest Muslim and Christian. This was my second wedding here so I kind of knew what to expect and when to expect it! The first wedding, Pae's big brother's, I was kinda culture struck and just snapping pictures here and there cuz I had no idea what was going on.

I got there in time to run around the corner to catch the groom's family preparing to make their entrance to the wedding. The groom's party marches through the street with sugar cane and trunks and leaves of freshly cut banana trees. A tiny rag tag band of bongos and electric guitar provided a twangy wedding song. It was a great sight and fun to parade in with them.

There were monks chanting, guys blessing the bride and groom with "holy water" (water mixed with whiskey), family members blessing the couple, a gold exchanging moment where the groom puts gold bracelets, rings, and necklaces on the bride, the couple thanking the family members and giving them gifts, family holding an uncut white string while the man running the show gave what I think was a traditional wedding speech (written on several pieces of bamboo), and everybody tying white strings on the couple's arms, and some lady breaking boiled eggs and feeding them to the couple (reminded me of cutting of the cake and bride/groom stuffing each other's faces).

After the actual ceremony people ate, took photos, ate, talked, ate and ate.

It was good to see Yok and Maew tie the knot (and literally there were hundreds of knots actually tied during the ceremony!)

To my surprise, after the wedding, I found out that one of the monks at the ceremony was Yok's father! Had I known or remembered, realized or even asked, I could have gotten some more pictures of him. My bad! He is in the collage above though!
As we boarded the same van, same number of occupants, one of the aunties grabbed me and said "3 or 4 more years, understand? Do you understand? hee hee!" referring, of course, to Pae and I getting married. We'll let the "soi" recover from this one! **This usage of the word "soi" refers roughly to "family" rather than "road" as seven (maybe more) lots on the dead end road belong to the family.
It was a good weekend.

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