Unfortunately Karen could not get out of work, but I was able to attend my first ever Vietnamese wedding. The lovely Hai Yen was to be married to Ngoc Hoang on Monday, Oct 05 at 9am. Hai Yen was a Student Services employee of Cleverlearn who Karen and I had both worked with over the past year. The location was Thai Binh villiage about 100km's outside of Hanoi city. I left my house at 5:30am and made my way to work where there was a small bus waiting to take us all to the wedding. My small group consisted of Western teachers, Bret, Kate & Andrew and myself along with Beverly our Phillipino Acedemic Head and of course Chi our interpreter and guide. (Also an SS employee)
I will start by saying 100km's in Vietnam is not like 100km's in Canada. The road was so rough and bumpy it was like travelling in a stagecoach. It took us almost three hours to reach the little villiage and my internal organs were shaken not stirred.
The wedding began at an unthinkable 9am with a banquet and copious amounts of beer and Vietnamese rice whiskey bing knocked back by most. As the only westerners in the visinity we were a odd and curious sight to behold for most of the guests. I felt a little guilty about stealing some of the spotlight away from the dashing couple as we were certainly the center of attention frequently throughout the wedding.
With my stomach full and my head spinning from the rice whiskey, we observed a simple ceremony involving the exchange of rings and a few songs provided by guests. The wedding was finished as abruptly as it had started and to my utmost shock and surprise I found myself pushed in to the reception line and spent 10 minutes shaking hands with strangers, directly beside the bride and groom. With that task finished I found myself back in the van to endure the bumpy ride back to Hanoi with a stomach full of food and whiskey, to become upset by the horrific road conditions.
All and all it was a fantastic morning, and I wish Yen and Hoang the best of fortune in all of thier future endeavors.
Stay tuned for a video of the wedding to be posted within the week.