Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lucky Day!

The Vietnamese are all about being lucky. Lucky this, lucky that. Today was no different. For one reason or another March 29 is a lucky day, which means wedding celebrations are in full swing. And I mean full swing, anyone that was thinking about getting married will be doing it on the 29th due to the "luck" the day brings them.

The engaged couple
Last week I secured an invitation to Ha and Thuey friends engagement party on the 29th, only to come home and be asked by Ha to go to a wedding with her on the same day. Sadly I had to decline. So this morning I headed out to the hotel to meet the girls. We double biked, ferried, and motor biked all the way to.... I don’t even know her name's engagement party. It sounded like Ann but every time I said it no one had any idea what I was saying. I'm ashamed.

Men sitting at a seperate table giving sacrafices

Either way I was greeted with open arms. We arrived early and I was given the "please take a seat order" while everyone around me seemed to have a job. The elders of the bride and grooms family sat in a room and gave sacrifices on an altar while the cousins and aunts were in the kitchen slaving away. I was told that all the women of the family slept over the night before and woke up at 3 am to start cooking. The food never stopped. We had salad, squid, chicken, beef, shrimp, soup, another kind of soup, bread, and rice.


cooking in the kitchen

family picture

As the guests leave, their hosts give them cigarettes and toothpicks

The family served the elders and the "guests" first. We had nothing shy of a feast. Once we were finished, the bride and groom and their family were able to sit and enjoy a meal. It was so different then what would happen back at home, but it was so enjoyable. The men and women sat at different tables, but there was still that one mixed table with the "people you don’t know where to put". Yes, I was at the table and rightfully so. Either way it was a day to remember.

On the way home it started to pour. By the time I reached home I was soaked head to toe. I took a warm shower and due to my lack of clothing I wrapped myself up in bed and took a snooze. I woke up around 6pm and decided to take the plunge. I was going to try and be a customer at the restaurant downstairs.

Me soaking wet!

It's been a strange transition not working there anymore. I have tried to stay away for dinner time and explain I have plans hours in advance so I’m not asked to work. So I put in my order and out comes Ha. I gave her my big smile and said tonight I'm a customer. She replied with her usual, "You help me" During my 5 second contemplation, she continued, "Mr. Vong went to wedding and drink too much" As she said this he appeared loud, swaying, and definitely in no shape to help any customers. So like the sucker I am, I agreed.

I ran back upstairs to put on all the dry clothes I had and came down to a party of 13. Mr. Vong was welcoming them and saying "drink beer, what do you want!!" As they shouted out orders, I grabbed Mr. Vong and said a firm but polite, "No, you go to bed" but what I really was saying was "please don’t make this any harder on me" He understood and happily retreated to his room.

The night ended up being great. We had tons of customers that for one reason or another ended up ordering very similar meals, which made all of our jobs very easy. I ended the night with a glass of wine thinking maybe March 29th is a lucky day after all.

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