TRAVEL THERE: LET THE PARTY FINALLY BEGIN
Of course, my nephew and his new wife did finally arrive at their own wedding reception and a party like you will not believe began. Before I share the excitement, let me explain the delay.
The Big Moment – Delayed
The big moment at most wedding receptions is the entry of the bride and groom, but in Egypt they heighten the anticipation by not allowing anything to happen until the bride and groom appear. That practice almost caused a riot when the newlywed pair failed to appear after a couple of hours. The crowd settled down when snacks and some liquor appeared, but there was still an undercurrent of rumor around the ballroom.
Since we were in Egypt, I should have known traffic was the problem. A few weeks ago I told you about the crush of traffic in the construction-clogged neighborhood of Heliopolis, but in spite of the wedding’s Heliopolis location, that wasn’t what caused the problem. The guests who attended the ceremony made it back to the hotel in just a few minutes.
I’ve mentioned this was a holiday, the end of a long weekend, so many of the guests were traveling. The plan had been for them to skip the brief wedding and show up just in time for the entry of the bride and groom into the reception. Only the traffic was really bad and a large percentage of the people who really needed to be there were stuck on the road into Cairo.
Just about the time I was ready to gather up my broken shoes and head to the room for a good night’s sleep, my husband returned to the table. I really wanted to chew him out for abandoning me, but I reminded myself that I’d been the one who said I’d just stay at the table. I may or may not have told him that I was ready to go back to the room, but he let me know that the action was about to heat up. The missing guests were arriving in droves and the newlyweds were making their way to the ballroom.
Fireworks and Applause
While the rest of us were just anxious to get on with the celebration, my grand niece’s and grand nephew’s anxiety had been about something else. When the bride and groom appeared, the tiny wedding guests were to display a pair of signs about the last chance to run. As the excitement level rose in the room, they were hustled near to the stage. Since the wedding had already happened, the timing for the signs seemed a little off to this American, but this was Egypt and time has a whole different meaning there.
Then suddenly, the newlyweds were there – the beautiful bride and my handsome nephew. I doubt any group of wedding guests has ever been more glad to see their newlyweds. It was an astounding appearance! A lightshow, fireworks – even canned applause. You would have thought we were at the Olympics, but we were in a ballroom beneath the Heliopolis Fairmont. The award for bride of the season goes to Mariam!
If More is Better Then this was the BEST!
As soon as Bassem and Mariam showed up the flood gates of hospitality opened. Before too long a bountiful buffet was presented. I swear we could have opened up the doors to every one staying at the Fairmont (both the older section and the Towers) and still had leftovers for weeks.
There were two buffets, one for the main course and another for desserts. There were also several specialty stations. Problem was, my stomach had decided those few bites it got with the mezza was all it was going to get, so it had shut down for the night. What I did manage to eat was great, but I couldn’t do justice to all those beautiful proteins, carbs and fats.
The dessert bar was unbelievable. It stretched for what seemed like miles and had an amazing array of choices. Any cruise ship would have been jealous. In fact, I have to say that the actual offerings were better than any boat I’d been on. The table wasn’t overcrowded with the decor some cruise ships employ, but the selections were top quality to match their great variety.
Starvation abated, it was time to dance- and dance we did. The dj was great and pretty much every song was danceable. Like most weddings, there were more kids and women dancing in groups than there were couples, but the energy was high. Finally, I was not the only barefooted woman in the room. My sweet husband obliged me, by taking me out to the floor a number of times, as did several of my nephews, cousins and such. The groom spent a lot of time on the dance floor, but the bride could usually be seen enjoying her friends up on the white sofa in the lounge.
But the true highlight of any Egyptian party is the belly dancer and you’re going to have to come back next week for that. I’ll leave you with a picture of me and my guys.