Hong Kong – January 27, 2007

6 02 2007

2007-01-27 (Saturday)

It was wedding day today!  It meant I finally got to wear the dress shoes and new pants that I’ve been packing around for the last two weeks.  I got up at around 0800 and prepared to go.  My brother in-law from Guangzhou and his wife were staying at the apartment as well so we took a taxi down to Tsim Tsa Tsui where the wedding would be.  The wedding was being held in a small chapel which was part of a “Wedding Store” for lack of a better word.  It seems that HK has gone Vegas.  You get 30 minutes in the chapel and then you better clear out since the next couple is booked.  Quite the operation.

They had a lot of guests so the little chapel area was quite full, making it hard to get good photos.  The ceremony was brief and simple but quite nice. The one little hitch that had people giggling was that they had to wait for the ceremony next door to finish with the fancy signing pen so that they could use it at our ceremony.  We went out to the “walk of stars” area for pictures.  The bride was in a beautiful slim white dress with silver sequins at the back on the lower part, accenting the fall lines of dress beautifully.  On her shoulders she wore a white faux fur stoll that complimented her long black hair.  The groom was in a classic tuxedo with a white necktie.  Looking very sharp.  We posed for various pictures of collections of people with the bride and groom and I managed to get a few good pictures as well.

From the wedding we headed into a minibus (actually a school bus) and went over to the reception location.  We were on the 12th floor (I think) of a building right next to the old airport, and in some sort of private club.  The room  was large for the size of the wedding, I thought,but it is common with Chinese weddings that many people don’t come to the ceremony but come to the reception.  There were about 18 tables.  The bride and the groom arrived without fanfare and we were treated to a slide show of their lives apart as kids and together more recently.  They made brief thank you speeches and then we all got down to eating.  Lunch was a sumptuous spread of Western and chinese foods.  The buffet table was the length of 8 tables probably!  There was so much good food and good conversation.  The bride and groom came around and we toasted them.  We continued eating and chatting for some time.

When we could eat no more we were informed it was time to head off on the minibus again.  This time we were going on a little tour.  First stop: the temple.  It is customary in times of celebration to go the temple and pay respect to your ancestors, so the family presented gifts of food for the temple and incense for their grandfather.  The temple is building a new, modern worship hall so we went up to see it.  It was bright!  A real oddity for a Buddhist temple from what I have seen.  They wouldn’t allow any photographs so I couldn’t get a great shot of one of the workers cleaning the large central Buddha.  He was using a big feather duster, and it looked like he was tickling him under the nose.  Since the construction was ongoing, you could see that the Buddhas had been brought in segments and reassembled in the hall.  They would soon be gilded, leaving no sign of this earlier segmentation.  The temple has been a long time building, as are most buildings that are built using donations.

Aside:  What is it with Buddhist temples and photography?  Why won’t they let me take pictures?  Some say “because of the flash”.  But when I tell them that I will take the picture without a flash they still say “No.”  Christian Churches, Muslim mosques have all be very accommodating.  Why not Buddhists?

From the temple we continued on our tour and headed to the north end of the New Territories where across the short strait you could see mainland China.  The area was known in the older days for its large scale oyster farming and more than a few mainland chinese that slipped across the border.  These days it’s a busy little network of winding roads linking various container yards and small villages.  We drove past the bridge that is under construction which will create a fast link to Zuhai and Zhongshan in the future.  It’s a massive project.  We passed a couple of small “pay to fish” ponds.  The ponds were concrete ponds that were about 40x100ft and had people sitting on stools under sun umbrellas fishing away.  It would appear that they pay by the pound for fish caught as there was a scale set up near the entrance/exit.  Interesting, but not my type of fishing.  We continued along the road until we got to points where we had to keep backing up to allow traffic to pass.  It really felt like we might be going the wrong way.  Obviously the primary flow of traffic was the other way so we turned the bus around and headed out.  We stopped at the “wishing Tree”   These days you can’t throw wishes onto the tree since a couple of years ago a major branch broke under the weight of the “wishes”. 

We got back to TST around 1700 which left us an hour to do some shopping and what have you.  Mrs D and I headed up to the McDonalds to get a quick drink.  This was the ONLY time I have been to a McD’s outside of North America.  I see no reason to eat there when there is always good local food.  At 1800 we headed up for dinner.  You could tell it was going to be a classic “10 course” meal.  After lunch I had been thinking I wouldn’t have to eat for another week… never mind that NIgHT!

Chinese restaurants almost all have “private rooms” where you can dine without the noise of all the other people around.  When you get a private room, you get your own washroom, and usually at least one waiter/waitress stays in the room the whole time, refilling tea/beer etc.  We had one of these rooms and there were two tables set.  The food was exquisite and classic Cantonese styles.  It certainly left me ready to roll home!  When we were done Mrs D and I caught a taxi with her brother and his wife back to the apartment in Aberdeen.  We got home and before Mrs D could even unpack she was packing again.  This time in preparation for our three day trip to Zhongshan.  We had to get to bed.  I had a feeling it was going to be a long day on the 28th.

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