TRAVEL THERE: WHERE ARE THE BRIDE AND GROOM?
In case you’re just joining us, let me remind you where we are. I’ve just attended my first Coptic wedding, an amazing experience. Now I’m sitting in the Pearl Ballroom of the Heliopolis Fairmont, waiting for the arrival of the bride and groom. I didn’t join my husband as he went to work the room, because I had a broken shoe and didn’t want to wander around barefoot. There is no food, no drink and no music, because nothing is supposed to happen until the bride and groom arrive. Everyone around me is speaking a language I don’t understand. I haven’t eaten since breakfast and we’re coming up on ten o’clock. The adventure is wearing thin and my bed is beginning to sound pretty good to me. The promised buffet and belly dancer aren’t as compelling as they seemed before.
Angry with No One to be Mad at
Don’t you just hate it when you find yourself growing madder with every minute that passes and you don’t even have anyone to blame. Of course, Bill would be using the time to visit with old friends. He didn’t tell me to stay at the table because my shoe broke. I made that decision myself. And who exactly could I blame for my broken shoe. I chose them out of my large collection of shoes and I have no idea when or where I’d bought them. It was no one’s fault but mine that I was the only woman in the room with slicked back hair. My nieces had tried to get me to have my hair puffed up professionally. I couldn’t blame anyone else for the fact that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Who besides me decides to diet on a vacation to a wedding? I couldn’t even blame anyone for the fact that they were all talking to each other in another language. I’ve been married to Bill for over 20 years. I’d had plenty of time to learn a little Arabic if I’d wanted to to.
Even without basic language skills I began to realize this wait was a little longer than the usual Egyptian wedding reception. The blame for the delay was generously passed around. Some said it was because the wedding was on a holiday and there wasn’t enough staff to take care of everything. Some blamed the caterer, who was, by the way, out of town directing the whole thing via phone. Some blamed the couple themselves for not coming down to join their guests and rumors of wild partying in the bridal suite spread out among the tables. Some blamed the groom and his family. Others blamed the bride and her family. We didn’t have anything to eat or drink, but there was plenty of blame to share.
It Gets Better, But Not For Me
Because of the extreme wait, some changes to tradition were made. Someone finally delivered a plate of mezza to the table. I wanted to grab it and find a corner to devour it in, but I played it cool. I had a couple of olives and a few bites of something else. Later I regretted my restraint. Everyone must have been as hungry as me, because every crumb disappeared almost immediately.
They also loosened up the liquor, but when the drinks finally did arrive, it was just scotch. On the night before the wedding the bride juggled guests while the groom juggled scotch. There was not going to be a bar or champagne. Mind you, they drink very good scotch, but that’s all they drink. Bottles of the popular beverage enhancer were placed on the table in generous proportions, but I don’t drink scotch – at all. The room got friendlier and the blame for the delay got gentler.
I had to make do with Coke Zero. It took so much effort to get a can of it, I dared not do more than sip, because I might never see another. I soon felt very much like the designated driver, only it didn’t come with any of the satisfaction serving that the role usually provides. I was just the only person in the room over four feet tall who was not drinking – and I was starving.
I learned from the four foot tall crowd that there was a sweets station. It was cute, with cupcakes and candy, but no true cure for hunger. Out of desperation I sampled some of the choices, but too much sugar when I’m hungry only gives me a headache and I hate wasting calories. So I continued to suffer in silence.
Will the bride and groom ever show up? Come back next week and find out!
2 thoughts on “Egyptian Time Dragging By”
Look forward to the next installment. Something was surely amiss to delay that long.
As the only natural American in the crowd, I know I’m the only one to whom time mattered at all. Time is a very fluid thing in Egypt and they don’t feel at all the way we do about it. As soon as the scotch came, the mood changed completely. While they were curious as to what was happening, it wasn’t as if it were a really big problem. They were going to be up until the wee hours anyway. I knew it was completely my issue, but I knew my American friends would appreciate my dilemma!