6/12/2009 02:39:00 pm

Airport Weddings and Pedidas

Posted by Unknown |

I have arrived now in the Guatemala. I'm "Sister's Wedding Ready".

After I last blogged I ventured out into LAX to get myself booked into my next flight to Guatemala 1:45am. I decided to check in early to save myself the hassle of lining up with a thousand other people. But when I arrived it was a like a Latino convention. I thought Latin American people were meant to arrive late to everything, but not the check in it seems.

But despite the people, I made it. I spent the whole time in the line running my tongue around my teeth and dreaming of brushing them. So I went and had dinner, then brushed my teeth. Oh how it felt so nice.

I made it on to my flight after sleeping at the gate in the uncomfortable chair for an hour, and I pretty much slept the whole flight.

Guatemala City airport is spacious, shiny and empty. It seems like they built it anticipating a boom in travel which is yet to come, but I'm happy to give them points for optimism.

Customs and Passport Control scared me because they were in another language (Elvish, if you're wondering), but I made it through alright. They didn't seem interested in my 7kgs of icing sugar. Which has given me new inspiration to begin a career as a drug runner. No one expects you to bring drugs into Latin America.

Victor and his Mum picked me up and drove me directly to the supermarket. They wanted me to see the sights.

Then it was to Victor's place for a shower, off to the posh mall for pancakes and back to the airport to find my Father.

While we were waiting at arrivals (which is situated outside, even though they have a perfectly good, shiny, new and empty arrivals hall inside) a bride and groom pulled up in a wedding car, got out and then proceeded to get married right there outside the Airport. They had a celebrant, photographer, video guy, bodyguard, cake person and everything. They stood there said their vows, had their kiss, took their photos, ate their cake, drunk their champagne and threw their bouquet right there in front of the people picking up their friends, business men and taxi hustlers. It was amazing! It could easily have been a performance by an improv theatre group, it was rather strange. I would have taken photos but I didn't want to miss the kiss.

Dad arrived just in time to miss all the fun, and we headed off for Antigua.

Victor handed us on to a taxi driver who arrived only an hour after summoned. I used the time to doze deeply. When the taxi driver got us to Antigua he promptly got himself lost. We stopped about 7 times to ask for directions. I think perhaps Guatemalans have a habit of giving directions even when they don't know the way. Everyone asked gave an answer, and only one person actually got us too the place. It may just be an over-developed sense of self-confidence. Whatever the case, we arrived at the house we're staying at only a few hours late.

We were welcomed at the door by Jane, Jo, Janet and Jem. It was a little sad to break up their retreat for women with names starting with J, but it was nice to see them. I like them all.

It actually turned out that Grandpa and Valentina were hiding inside so the J convention had already been crashed.

The house we're staying in is a large, new but old looking, posh place with a maid. I've never had a maid before, but I shall make us of it by throwing rubbish on the ground in front of her and watching her clean it up.

I'm actually not sure how well we're all coping with the maid. Everyone keeps feeding her and trying to do her cleaning and tiding for her. I wonder if our egalitarian nature insults her professionalism.

After arriving at the house I accidentally fell asleep on my bed, and woke up in time to get dressed in my nice shirt and ugly pants for the evening's Pedida. A Pedida is a Guatemalan tradition before a wedding where the Mother and Father of the Groom and the Groom come to the house of the Mother and Father of the Bride and ask permission for the Son to marry the Daughter.

Last night we had the Pedida. It was nice. All the important people made speeches. They all got translated. There was a bit of crying. I managed to stay awake through the whole thing, but I got a lot of worried looks that I might soon fall off my chair. It felt significant, the Pedida not the narcolepsy.

Needless to say, my parents said "Yes".

The two families (plus well loved ring-ins) then had a feast provided by the women of the French clan. The feast was meant to be traditional Australian, but I think it was more Hungarian due to the fact that Hungary actually has a culinary tradition to draw on. We did have Pavlova in honour of Jo's Australian/New Zealandish roots.

I went to bed around 9pm and woke up at 9am. It was one of those sleeps that feel as nourishing as a big roast dinner. It made me very happy.

Today started with pancakes and a trip into Antigua for coffee with Dad, Grandpa and Valentina. The women are now all off for Jo's Despedida (her hen's night) and I am blogging.

I'm eyeing off the hammock on the back veranda. It looks highly relaxing and exotic. I want to read a book in it and fall asleep. That'll be the life.