25-28 June 2010
The Gap Year Buddy and I awoke late (again) to find that the family had gone out for Friday prayers. When they returned, we went out for some more Penang Fried Kway Teow before heading back to pack for Johor Bahru. The family had invited us along to their nephew’s wedding. I had never been to an Islamic wedding before and I was excited to watch the ceremony. We all climbed into the car at around 5pm and four hours, and one Baskin Robbins ice cream stop, later we arrived and settled down to a dinner of seafood fried rice and lime juice with the extended family, in front of more World Cup fun.
Later, we were taken to see the gifts that the bride would be given the next day. Apparently, the groom’s family present the bride with presents on the big day and vice versa. Hers were all presented on stands decorated with gold, and ranged from perfume to shoes and chocolates. I’m now expecting the same at my own (imaginary) wedding.
After all our lie-ins, the 6.30am start was a bit of a shock to the system but still I managed to roll out of bed and tuck into my breakfast of noodles, fried eggs and a red bean soup. I wasn’t too keen on the latter. After I finished, I put on my new maxi dress and threw a scarf around me to cover my shoulders, which I fastened into place using my corsage.
On our arrival at the bride’s house, where the ceremony was taking place, we were presented with breakfast number two: vats of different curries. What a start to the day. Next, it was time for the ceremony. Unsurprisingly, it was conducted in Malay so the Gap Year Buddy and I couldn’t understand what was happening. We also decided to keep to the back of the crowd, so that the family could get the best view. The bride was beautiful in a heavy dress and make up. I have no idea how she managed to stay looking so put together in the heat. I was melting.
Afterwards, it was photo time and we were encouraged to have photos with the happy couple. Obviously they didn’t really know who we were but we posed with them anyway. Photos done, our party headed back to the hotel for a brief break in activities.
After nap time and some welcome relief from the heat, we arrived back at the house with the groom’s family and proceeded to march together from the cars, with the groom at the front of our little parade and people carrying the gifts behind. The bride was waiting at the entrance to the tent and the groom was met outside by a troupe of boys banging drums, a group of local men who did a martial arts performance (apparently the idea was that the groom had to get passed them to reach his new wife) and a group of children doing state dances.
It was interesting to watch but I can’t deny that afterwards the Gap Year Buddy and I practically ran away from the heat and threw ourselves into chairs underneath a ceiling fan in the marquee. Lunch was then served while the bride and groom sat on throne-like chairs, with family members fanning them. As they sat there, we tucked into our food before it was time for more photos. As we left, we were given wedding favours of fruit, sweets and an egg, representing fertility. It had been an amazing experience but, again, we were happy to be met with the air-conditioned car on our way back to Kuala Lumpur. We arrived back at the house, after another Baskin Robbins stop-off, and settled down to a dinner of Domino’s pizza, BBQ chicken wings, onion rings, garlic bread and football. It had undeniably been a very good day.
Being back in KL meant we were back to our lie-in routine. After we finally decided to get out of bed, we headed back to the Sunway Pyramid Mall, using the excuse that it was too hot to do anything outside. We made some unnecessary purchases (including a sweater) and some classic Penguin books, including Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytales – which I proceeded to quickly lose en route to Vietnam. At least they were cheap. We then ended up at a Japanese pasta place for a lunch of cheesy rice with chicken and mushroom.
Later, after we were picked up, we went to Coca Restaurant for the Steamboat buffet. Basically, it was a pot on our table full of chicken, fish, fish balls, vegetables and green noodles, which cooked on the table. Oh, and it also had jellyfish in it. That was a new one. It didn’t really taste of too much, it was just hard to get a grip on it. Our trip was slowly being dominated by food and football – as you may have noticed – and we made it back home in time for that night’s England game.
The next day was the day the Gap Year Buddy and I were to leave Malaysia. We went off for a breakfast of nasi kandar before it was time to head to the airport and fly to Vietnam. Sitting in the airport, I read the “Free Book” that the Gap Year Buddy had picked up from a girl in Cairns. The idea is that you read it and leave it somewhere for someone else to pick up, read and pass on. You can even register online to say where you’ve left it and to mark its journey, which, in our book’s case, started in Dublin in 2006. I can only wonder where it is now.
Read about the rest of my trip:
- Malaysia Part One: shopping in Kuala Lumpur
- Malaysia Part Two: a journey to Penang
- Malaysia Part Three: towers and fairy lights in KL