This past weekend I attended a wedding... not just any wedding mind you, it was the wedding of one of our oldest (and closest) family friends. When we lived in Cape Town way back when, they were our family and we grew up as cousins. And over the past 20 odd years, our families, extended families and friends have all become an interconnected web of familial ties that have less to do with shared blood groups and chromosomes, and more to do with unconditional and unwavering love and support thats developed between the respective families and mutual friends.
And so we were all invited to the wedding. ALL of us... cousins, friends, cousins cousins, third cousins, friends' friends etc. and the whole crew in Johannesburg sought to make their way to Cape Town - travelling all 1404km's of the way either by air on a two hour flight or by road trip (which took between 10 and 12 hours amongst the various convoys).
Anyways, I decided to document at least one day of the trip... it began on Friday afternoon after work (which is 3pm for me) when we made our way to the airport. Now every time I go to Cape Town, it feels like I've never left. I could literally pick up on a conversation I had when I left and it doesn't really matter how long I'd been gone for. And this trip was very reminiscent of the trip we took up the West Coast in Dec09 / Jan10 (for pics of that trip, go here)... and it honestly felt more like I had been in CT only a few weeks ago and not an entire year later. Click on images for larger visuals.
17:20pm - At the airport, grabbing an early dinner before the flight. It hasn't occurred to me before that most South Africans like hot and spicy food... a mix of hot and mild chicken burgers at Nando's:
21:30pm - After some delays and a rollercoaster ride, including being caught up in a highveld storm surrounded by thunder bolts thousands of feet up in the atmosphere, we finally land and I've never been more happy to see the ground or CT airport before in my life:
01:15am - After all the hugs and kisses and a quick shower, made a bed in the Bride's room and chatted briefly before urging her to get her beauty sleep and decided to get some myself.
05:45am - An early rise... so much to do, so little time. Hair and makeup for most of the girls, transporting all the freshly made food to the hall for breakfast, running around like chickens with our heads chopped off. And some people were still making airport runs for those arriving on the day:
07:52am - One of the Bridesmaids wrestles with the cat who attacked her dress. He must hate that colour on her... people start heading to the hall:
08:17am - The Bride is finally ready to leave... just some last minute touches:
08:33am - Everyone at the hall preparing a buffet style breakfast before the Nikkah (actual service) begins at 09:00am:
09:04am - Guests begin arriving as Nikkah begins concurrently at the mosque next door:
09:16am - Most people mulling about either chatting or completing those last minute details while waiting for the men to return from the mosque:
09:25am - Bride takes photos and waits while her father represents her at the mosque:
10:00am-ish - Men arrive from the mosque & they're officially married. Everyone digs in (some of us after waiting for what felt like FOREVER). Mother of the Bride entertains and answers everyones questions:
10:35am - People head outside to take photos of the newly married couple on an absolutely gorgeous day - 35 degrees celcius (95F):
11:10am - Everyone begins clearing up. An hour to rest before its time to get ready for the Lunch-reception held by the Groom's side of the family. All the "adults" and elders attend while the rest of us youngsters (read under 35's) choose to skip and head to my Uncle's flat / apartment in Bloubergstrand for a change of clothes:
11:40pm - When you live here, what is there to be sad about?!?:
12:03pm - Finally heading to the beach which is just 2 minutes away:
12:50pm - Relaxing in the hot sun. The cold water is a blessing in such hot humid weather and it's very difficult to get up and leave but we have to:
12:54pm - On our way to the Parade we passed this lagoon:
12:55pm - For a moment I what it's like to live here at this specific place... and I contemplated what prevents me from moving back to CT.
12:58pm - We pass by the golf course and the harbour:
13:05pm - Eventually get to the Parade in the city where there's a little market place. We park near City Hall:
13:15pm - Some of the stalls were busy closing up, but it didn't matter because we didn't find what we were looking for. I did buy a hat though... a white Fedora:
13:28pm - On the way to Canal Walk... one of the biggest shopping centres / malls I've ever been to:
13:57pm - Walking running, trying to cram in some last minute shopping before the main wedding reception that evening. Waiting 15 minutes for my coffee to go... yeah this is why I don't live here:
14:44pm - On the way back "home" to prepare for the evening.
15:22pm - Grab a snack, make salaah, chat amongst ourselves, laugh a whole lot, then take a nap.
17:15pm - Getting ready to go to the main reception.
17:58pm - Arrive at the main reception a little early. Waiting on others to make their way:
18:15pm - Hall begins to fill up (because people in CT are generally on time) and the procession begins with bridesmaids, groomsmen, miniture brides and miniture groom in tow - everyone waiting on the Bride with her white Cinderella dress from Syria (and the Groom too of course - in whatever he was wearing):
18:42pm - And of course, we told the Bride that we were only there for one reason... the pics don't do it justice:
19:13pm - Bride's mother sneaks out for a cigarette while she (and her new hubby) walk around the tables greeting all their guests:
20:30pm - Dinner is served and Roast Chicken and vegetables, Leg of Lamb and a CT speciality Sweet Rice is on the menu. We don't eat much, don't want to burst out of our corsets now do we...
21:30pm - Bride leaves the hall for her new home and everyone says their emotional goodbyes:
22:30pm - Leave Bride's house, go home and change into something more confortable and then head back to Canal Walk to meet another entourage while trying to decide where to go to in CT. Sharing some fries while we wait:
23:10pm - Out until the wee hours of the morning, painting the town red (and green and orange and yellow and blue and just about every other colour you can think of), utterly exhausted but not giving a damn.
And that was my entire Saturday.
The next few days were similar... all over the place... there was a male coup of sorts (but THAT is a whole other story on its own), a hilarious lap dancing class caught on video, shisha / hookah, Playstation3 Wars, long conversations that left my tummy aching with laughter, fun in the sun on the beach, driving around, lots of food, and great quality time with lots of family and friends. I can't wait to feel like I've never left again.