Thursday, October 12, 2006

Something New

I was waiting for my friends in the lobby of my hotel one day; we were supposed to have lunch together. One of my friends showed up and told me that one of his friends was getting married and he invited me to go to the wedding, so we went to the wedding instead. I wanted to try the “cyclo” before I leave the country but I never had the nerve to give it a try. Lucky for me, my friend was on a motorcycle that day so I was happy to have the chance to experience what it feels like to drive in a bustling street on motorcycle. Well, except for driving through one intersection, it was not as terrible as I imaged it would be even though we saw a few accidents on the way. I was embarrassed for dressing like a “Tai ke” (T-shirt and sandals) when I got to the wedding since everybody was nicely dressed. The groom works in a pharmaceutical company operating on foreign investments. In the wedding I saw many foreigners from different countries, such as India and of course from Taiwan. The wedding started with ballerinas dancing and then the host introduced the parents from both families and the bride and the groom, accompanied by dancers were sent to the stage on a conveyor belt. After a short speech, the bride and the groom filled champagne glasses and cut the wedding cake. The ceremony ended with balloons being released and the sound of them popping mimicked firecrackers, then the lunch dishes were served.

Just like a wedding in Taiwan, the newly wedded couple and both families’ members offered toasts, table by table during the meal. Also, a professional band was hired to do a performance during the lunch but it ended up as a karaoke and dance for guests, unlike weddings in rural areas of Taiwan, where you might expect a strip dance or elegant classical background music for a wedding held in urban areas of Taiwan. The party here revealed the fact that every body was having a good time. Another difference in custom from Taiwan, here the bride and the groom don’t have to change their dress every 20 min or so. After the lunch, the newly wedded couple stood in front of the gate to show their appreciation for the presents from guests. I had my picture taken with the bride and the groom.

Back in Taiwan I had never celebrated the double ten national holiday before. This year I had the honor to participate in the 95th double ten national holiday of the Republic of China that was held in Legend Hotel by Taipei economic and cultural organization in HCMC. I was told to dress nicely so I borrowed a white long sleeve shirt , any color but red, since the political issues in Taiwan, from the lab and that wasn’t an easy task since Vietnamese are relatively smaller in general. I decided not to take the camera with me so I wouldn’t look like a photographer from a newspaper or agency, then I regretted it immediately when we arrived at the venue. It was nicely decorated; on the stage the activity was written in 3 languages, Traditional Chinese, English and Vietnamese. It was nice to hear people talking in mandarin since I haven’t spoken mandarin for nearly one month and my ability to it is deteriorating. I was eager to speak to someone however I found it’s difficult to cut into the exchanging of business cards or conversations about corporate revenues. I introduced myself as a person who is helping the lab in Children Hospital No 1 with a cooperative project. I looked at them and I got the feeling they didn’t care a bit. Anyhow, it was an extraordinary experience for me, it was the first time I celebrated the birth of my country and it took place in a foreign country. By the way, the buffet was nice, especially the apple tart. I can still taste the smell of cinnamon and the creamy texture of the apple in my mouth.

1 comment:

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