Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ara’s big day

Ara, looking a million dollars
I was so pleased to be a part of Ara’s wedding day on Saturday. I’ve known her for the last seven years and she’s been a great friend and if anyone deserves happiness, it’s her. She’s had a medical scare recently but you wouldn’t know it. She maintained a regal air throughout the day and looked a million dollars. Following in the Cambodian tradition, she reminded me of a film goddess in the 60s with her bouffant hair-do. Throughout the day, she changed into eleven outfits and looked gorgeous in all of them. Ly, her husband is a lucky man. The main wedding ceremony was held at their new home, just off Veng Sreng road, a few kilometres from the airport. I got there at 6.30am and took part in the fruit-carrying procession and the pretend hair-cutting segment, as well as scoffing breakfast and lunch, and watching the other parts of the ceremony, including a performance from the well-known male and female comedy duo, Sorng Sis and Chhoy, which had everyone in stitches. It was wonderful to see old friends like Lina, Sokrum, Alis, Thida, Phea (who chauffeured me everywhere), Kalyan, Sarein, Vourch and many more. I also made a host of new friends including 16 year old Soksay, niece of the groom, who had come with a coach-load of relatives from Kompong Cham, where the happy couple were both born, and who was keen to practice her English on the only foreigner there, as well as twelve year old Lida, a bright and bubbly niece of Ara, who had a cheeky streak and became my shadow for the day.
At 3pm, I returned home for a shower and forty-winks before heading for the wedding party at the Mondial Center in the city a couple of hours later for the usual copious portions of food and dancing. I am now a fully-fledged member of the madizone line-dancing squad! As the only foreigner amongst over 700 invited guests, I was very popular and enjoyed the ramvong, saravan, cha-cha-cha and more before the live band called time around 9pm. It was a great occasion, Ara was immaculate throughout her exhausting day and whilst many of the expat community pooh-pooh Khmer weddings, I love them.

Ara and Ly with guests before the main ceremony

Ara and Ly with attendants

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