10th May 2009
Seremban, Malaysia
2°41'17.12"N 101°58'0.27"E
36°

 

What a week it's been. We've been to the most colourful. interesting and happiest wedding ever. With neither of us really sure what to expect it was always going to be good fun, but we had no idea how much.

We made it to Malaysia by the skin of our teeth - no point telling us that you're about to shut the door; international aviation law says that if our bags are in the hold, you can't take off without us on board. It's a bit ironic that this happened to be the only Air Asia flight we've EVER been on that has departed on time.

We got a bus straight from the airport to Seremban, but only after asking FOUR people where to get it from. We were told we had to get the bus to the the main KLIA terminal, get a train to KL Sentral, than a bus to Pudaraya then a bus to Seremban. Nope. The next one told us we could get a bus to KL Sentral then to Pudaraya then to Seremban. Nope. The third one told us we had to get a bus to the main terminal, get a bus to Niali then a train to Seremban. I don't think so. Peter was starting to doubt that we could get a bus directly but I just kept asking until I got the answer I wanted.

We found the bus, paid our RM10 and just over an hour later we were sitting down to a highly anticipated feed at the Simla Curry Leaf, which retains it's place as the best Indian restaurant in the world. I can't believe that the official information counters at the airport could get it so wrong. I think the staff need a bit of educating on public transport - not all new arrivals want to take a taxi, and we certainly weren't the only passengers on the bus (which runs hourly between 6am and 11pm from outside the new food garden building at LCCT, bus station at KLIA if you're heading that way. I saw a bus going direct to Ipoh too, probably everywhere else in Malaysia if you ask enough people).

It was lovely catching up with Praba again the following evening and he whisked us straight off to the house where Peter did a fair bit of drinking and I did a fair bit of trying on my outfits. All FIVE of them. Roshan guessed my size just right by telling Jas that I was about the same size as her (I'm glad I'd dropped a bit of weight in Thailand) and everything fitted perfectly. We were also treated to a Punjabi supper of chapatti's which were just a taste of things to come over the next few days. On Thursday, we were up and off nice and early and it was outfit number one for lots of singing and dancing and the oil ceremony. I didn't realise at the time, but it was only very close family there, which left me feeling really humble when I finally twigged on.

With a free afternoon, I went to get my nails done, leaving Peter and Praba to go shopping for a Punjabi suit, a head-scarf and a pair of shoes. Quell surprise: Two grown men. Three things on the shopping list. One was mysteriously forgotten about. The shoes, we probably could have gotten away without, but there could be no gundwara (temple) for an empty-head. Fortunately Praba had a spare, although I have to admit my disappointment that most of the young blokes wore a scarf rather than a turban - I like them.

After a quick shower and change into outfit number two, it was back to the house for a huge party, and quite a party it was.

The next morning we caused havoc in the town centre. Unsure of how to wrap the oversized gift, I found a wedding shop and took it in. They did a magnificent job, but Peter had to get it back to the hotel, and everyone we passed wanted a look. On the sly, of course. Just as Peter was asking me if I'd seen the car almost rear-ending a truck, a man on a motorbike was almost in the gutter - but even so, his eyes never left Peter. There were several cricked necks and one hilarious incident when a man in a cafe leaned back on his chair so much he went smack down onto the pavement and was lying flat on his back. His friends all jumped up to help him get up, but he was wafting them out of the way so he could get a better look at the statues.

Neither of us got into any trouble in the gundwara or at the reception, then it was off to Ipoh - a good 3 to 4 hour drive away - for a party put on by the groom's parents and then another service at their local gundwara the following evening. After the party, nobody knew where anyone was sleeping, an uncle with a house big enough for most had decided to stay in KL overnight, so a bit of quick thinking was in order. I'd already booked a double room at the Ritz Garden for Peter and I and a twin for Praba and Alfie. Sanjeeta was able to find an aunty with a spare bed, so that just left Mr Singh, Roshan, Brian, Uncle Dumah, Jasmine and the two boys. We managed to get an extra bed into Praba and Alfie's room and one extra room. Still a lot of people though. I knew I was sleeping in the double room with Jasmine, wasn't sure about anyone else.

The boys were flitting in and out, watching 30 seconds of television and managing 20 channel changes in that time, and during one flit in Karan was messing around with the phone - or at least I thought he was, until I heard him say "Room service? This is room 609'. Fortunately he wasn't sure what to ask for, which gave me enough time to explain that room service was for rich people and that there was a shop next door I would go to if he wanted anything. I went down to the lobby for a smoke and a breather and bumped into Kumar, who not only still works there, but has been promoted. We were lucky to catch him - he's recently returned from a 4 week trip to Nepal, visiting his family. I also bumped into the boys meeting up for a night on the town. Telling the room service story to everyone, it occurred to me that I hadn't seen the two little monkeys for a good 10 minutes, having assumed they were driving Roshan crazy. Roshan hadn't seen them, and if the big boys were going out, who was looking after them? Er, you are. D' oh! Just as I was starting to worry - it was 1.30am - they bowled out of the lobby, causing havoc as usual. I got them upstairs with strict instructions on room service and Jasmine and I were the book ends in the king-sized bed. Karan started the night almost on top of Arjun, with as much distance between himself and me as it was possible to get, but Aunty ended up getting some lovely cuddles and snuggles during the night. Luckily, Peter and Praba went for a quiet drink rather than hitting the clubs and Peter woke us up at 9:45, just in time for a quick splash of water before breakfast. He'd slept in a room with Mr Singh and Dumah, while Praba, Roshan, Alfie and Brian had piled into the other room.

We decided that it was all a bit too much to drive back after the gundwara service, so we stayed on an extra night, this time with myself, Peter, Praba and Alfie bunked down in a room together, and Brian and Roshan getting room in the hotel next door. It was certainly a cheap way of doing it, although I think the hotel probably shook their heads for a long time after we'd gone. A nice easy ride down the highway and we were back in the hotel in Seremban for a nap by 3pm. Monday. It had all started at about 7am Thursday. Christian weddings are incredibly boring and last about an hour. This one went on and on. It was amazing, we both loved it and feel very honoured to have been there. We were taken in as part of the family, and really made to feel as though we were part of it.

Thank you. And congratulations to Jas and Ramdesh.