Friday, 11 December 2009
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As you might have gathered by now, I am in Panama this week. The main reason for this trip was to attend the wedding of my girlfriend’s cousin Nereida and to also use this opportunity to meet the rest of the extended Beckford family. I had previously only met Marianela’s sister and her parents in Curacao.

Weddings work a bit different here and I guess I should tell you a bit about it.

When I had arrived last Friday after 16 hours of travel and was finally in the supposed safe haven of my hotel room, I thought this would be it for the day. Wrong. Not 3 minutes after having arrived and actually with my pants down, there is a knock on the door. Alright, pants back up and open the door to find: 5 more Beckfords welcoming me to Panama and asking me to join them upstairs in the suite of the wedding couple. This is all at about 10 at night.

Alright, change of polo shirt and up I go. In the suite, there is the wedding couple with a slightly unwell groom on the couch with a blanket around him, Marianela’s parents, the sister of the bride and her American husband (great! someone to talk about Sports with) with two small kids (who came from the US), Marianela’s sister (came from US), Marianela’s brother along with wife and small child (came from US), the cousin who now lives in Canada with wife and 4 kids ranging from 6 to 15 and various other individuals to numerous to mention. I was welcomed very warmly and 2 minutes after my arrival I had a beer in my hand. 10 minutes later I think I had “mucho gustoed” my way around the room and met everybody, had learned some new variations of my name (e.g. Wodka) and was desperately trying to remember who is who and how it all comes together. Most of this without Marianela by my side…

If you find it slightly odd that on the evening before the wedding the bride and groom are together drinking the time away in their hotel room with their family, trust me, so did I. Strangely enough, everybody in the room was in some way related to the bride and nobody was there related to the groom.

Several beers and hours later most people retired, but being eager and stupid, I joined the groom, Mari, her brother & Jared from the US to go to the casino where I swiftly departed with a sizeable sum of money. We eventually retired to our room to get some sleep for the next day.

The morning was I guess a relatively relaxed affair and during the course of the morning we meet the groom again to find he is still there on the couch with his blanket not looking too fit. Still, bride and groom are together. Again, if you are wondering at this point you need to know that the church wedding ceremony was scheduled for 7:30pm. This way everybody has all day to run errands, phone each other in panic and generally to get ready and dress up. In the early afternoon Mari went off to the hairdresser. Being a guest with no errands or phone calls to make, being able to dress myself in relatively little time and with comparatively easy hair to style, I took a nap.12436_201141906921_521381921_3678610_6222049_n

Starting in the evening you would think that it gives people enough time… The wedding actually started on time with all the main participants, but trust me, if you’re from my part of the world you can only marvel at how many people showed up late for the ceremony. The priest was an old rather strict looking dude who I think did not exactly approve of that either. The ceremony was in Spanish of course so I only had a rather limited understanding of what was going on.

When it was all said and done, having no intention to boil in 30 degree celsius in a suit outside the church and also due to a minor shoe emergency we headed back to the hotel and let Mari change her shoes. Even with that detour, I think we were among the first to arrive in the restaurant. By now it is after 9pm. The room fills only slowly. God only knows where the people went in between church and party. Not being used to these kind of wedding proceedings, I had severely misjudged the whole situation. I did have lunch, but nothing since then and by 9:30 pm I am considering to eat the flower arrangement on our table.

We use the time to introduce me to 3 dozen or so more relatives and I personally use the time to try to calculate the probabilities on whether the breasts of the bride’s hot friend are real or not. Unfortunately, the research related to this is not being met with the scientific acceptance I had hoped for from Marianela. Neither are all further attempts to assess the situation later in the evening, so I cannot present you with a proper finding.

Eventually, the wedding couple arrives, there is a toast and then the buffet opens. I would at this point like to praise the Marriott in Panama for an excellent location and great food as well as and especially our server Roger, who outdoes himself in an effort to get everybody properly intoxicated throughout the evening. Panama December 2009 098

At this point the band is playing and there is no more delaying it. I will have to dance. I am one of maybe 10 white guys and I’m certainly the new guy, so there is at least 50 pairs of eyes following my moves. It is not so much the dancing. I can dance with Marianela no problem. It is the music. Those of you who have been exposed to Latin music will know that all of these songs are about 13 minutes long and this is my problem. It just does not stop. Be that as it may, it turns out that my dancing skills are approved and I have to dance with Mari’s mum and various other ladies. This goes not quite so well as with Mari, but apparently still well enough for a non-Latino guy.

Well, there is not much more to it. Marianela does not catch the bouquet and I do not catch the garter. The restaurant where the party is held is also the breakfast room and I start to worry that they will not be able to reset the room. Being told to leave the worrying to others, we eventually go to bed. No casino required today.

Thank you Nereida & Alfie for letting me participate, felicitationes and all the best for your future!!!

Friday, 11 December 2009 14:16:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [1]  |