1 November 2015

Greg & Penny’s Adventures in China for Adam & Ava’s Wedding Celebrations – Part 3

And so, we come to the final few days of our adventure – the wedding celebration in Yangshuo, our recuperation the day after and the homeward journey via Hong Kong.

The third (and final) wedding celebration was very conveniently held in the Xi Town Riverview Inn where we were staying. Preparations started bright and early on the Saturday morning – more blowing up of balloons, this time with the assistance of a cylinder of helium! Balloons and purple bunting were tied everywhere, fairly lights were strewn all over the terrace overlooking the river and even I was trusted to carry out a few menial tasks provided I was adequately supervised at all times. Everyone did a great job and the venue grew increasingly splendid as the afternoon wore on.

With the final preparations in hand we all trooped off for a quick shower and brush-up to emerge once again in our wedding finery. This time, as the father of the groom, I was recruited to greet the guests with Adam and one of his best men. More importantly, of course, I also got to be the “bag man” for the hongbao, the red envelopes stuffed with cash – a very significant responsibility and one which, I have to say, I carried out with considerable aplomb and style.

This time, the celebrations were modelled on a western wedding complete with a processional involving Adam and all his best men, Pen and me and even Adam’s dog, Tally. After we less important actors were in our respective places, Ava proceeded down the aisle on the arms of her mother and father with the Bridal Chorus blaring out over the sound system. I have to say again, even though I am biased, she looked absolutely stunning in her wedding finery. The paparazzi, naturally, were all over it – the guests crowded forward with their various cameras and phones poised to capture the moment!

There was a ceremony of sorts conducted by Jono, one of the best men, and an exchange of rings and a “you may now kiss the bride” moment followed by whoops and cheers from the assorted onlookers. What the Chinese contingent made of the performance I cannot imagine but everyone certainly seemed to have a great time. After the “ceremony” Adam and Ava cut Penelope’s magnificent wedding cake and the party well and truly began. Again, there were stacks and stacks of delicious food, an abundant supply of alcoholic beverages and the ubiquitous shots to get through, this time with Jim Beam rather than baijiu, the rice wine paint stripper we enjoyed in Liuzhou!

As the evening wore on some Chinese lanterns were released and an impressive display of fireworks followed – impressive in the sense that a couple of the best men, who were responsible for detonating the fireworks, were determined to bring down one (or more) of the Chinese lanterns as they floated casually up into the night sky. Fortunately, their aim was poor (or they were simply too inebriated to focus) and the lanterns escaped their attentions.

And, just in case you are thinking we’ve left out the singing in this celebration, I can assure you that there was some singing including a fantastic rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. This would have been bad enough on its own but a few of the best men decided that, since there was a ready supply of helium-filled balloons, we should try instead to perform an alternative version – Bohelium Rhapsody – which was as amusing (and non-musical) as you might imagine. Fortunately, there is no video evidence, only a couple of photographs.

The next morning we stumbled relatively bleary-eyed out of bed but felt surprisingly human in spite of the excesses of the night before. Ben, Donna, Pen and I made our way down to West Street to find some breakfast before meandering back to the hotel to help with the clear up operation. Sorting out the detritus was relatively straight-forward and the place was immaculate by shortly before lunch time. Adam arranged with his best men, the bridesmaids and several of the guests to meet for lunch at the Outside Inn a few miles out of town which was fabulous. The food was more than plentiful and absolutely delicious, especially the chips/French fries which were cooked in peanut oil and sprinkled with Sichuan pepper – gorgeous!

The next day, alas, was our last and we had to sort out our belongings, pack and say good-bye to the delightful Xi Town Riverview Inn. We gathered at the bus station to catch the 12.00 bus to Guilin airport for our flight home that afternoon. Adam and Ava came along on the bus with us to the airport to say good-bye. Unfortunately, their return bus left the airport about ten minutes after we arrived so the good-byes were rushed but heartfelt nevertheless. They departed back to Yangshuo and we kicked our heels waiting for our flight to Hong Kong.

No significant delays this time and we were back in Hong Kong before we knew it. Ben and Donna had arranged to spend a couple of days there – we had only a six hour stop-over before our flight back to the UK. So, we all jumped on the airport express railway to Kowloon and then took a hotel shuttle bus to their hotel. We just had time for a quick bite of dinner before we bade them farewell and made our way back to the airport for our midnight flight back to the UK.

And so, the adventure concluded. We had more fun than we could ever have imagined, met some wonderfully friendly people, ate some fabulous meals, explored some stunning scenery and generally just had an absolutely wonderful time.

We’ll certainly come again!

Love to you all,

Greg

 

 

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