June 28, 2007

A Wedding Story

The wedding was an experience unlike any other wedding I’ve been to in my life and honestly I wasn’t expecting anything different.

The Kaftan’s were collected Saturday AM by Esther and we each got the exact dress we reserved. However my biggest fear was now a reality – THE SMELL. There is absolutely no way they cleaned that Kaftan from the night before. What to do? Remember this thing is a thick silk type material and “febreeze” exists only in the American memory banks here in Africa – “TIA”. I had no choice but to use the Palmolive (American, yeah) hand soap in my bathroom. I did my best to clean only the smelly bits but most of the dress ended up getting wet. I hung it in my window to dry for the next few hours. It didn’t matter it still smelled and was damp, not nice!

We went for pre-wedding drinks at our new spot La Ferma or The Horse as we have coined it. Not everyone “of course” just the “it” group. The others were late, as always, Compass (count on us to be late) Properties!! With a bottle of wine and vodka in the car we were off. The place was in the heart of Tetouan. Steve led the crew thru the very busy streets on a Saturday evening. He wasn’t sure he exactly remembered where it was since he had only been once and the groom was driving. He did an excellent job but along the way we lost 2 of the cars. It was tucked away literally in an alley.

It was now 8:30 and the groom was waiting for the Compass people to arrive before the wedding was in full swing. As we entered the place, hall (no clue what the name was) we were escorted to a section they had saved just for us. The room was full of women and children, various shapes and sizes wearing many colorful Kaftans. It was 95% women! Generally the men and women are put in separate rooms but they allowed all the Compass men to stay with us in what felt like our own “VIP” section. Everyone was staring as if we had just walked off the Red Carpet.

The music began and it was SO LOUD it was almost deafening. There were a group of musicians seated in a circle in the center of the room. Out of nowhere came a group of men with very unique looking instruments. The dancing started and did not stop for the rest of the night.

The bride was about to arrive. She makes several changes, 3-4, throughout the night depending on her wealth and the number of gowns she can afford. The very first time she appears she does not fully open her eyes. It is called “Hchouma” or shame. I don’t fully understand the tradition but it has something to do with her first gown being the most elaborate.

Most of us had not eaten all day awaiting a traditional Moroccan feast. Little did we know the only food we would get was pastry and some juice.

It may have been a blessing there was no open bar because the facilities were less then ideal. Imagine having to deal with the Kaftan and a hole in the floor – enough said!

It must have been over 100 degrees in that spot. No open windows and no AC. Everyone was so hot and sweaty. I now understand why those Kaftans smell the way they do. The night progressed and the dancing continued. The bride appeared in her 2nd own.

I enjoyed a dance with a few of the Moroccan children and of course with the groom. That may been against tradition but no one stopped me so I guess it was OK. That was the extent of my dancing for the evening.

Every so often we would try and sneak outside for some fresh air and to fill the “water” bottle without being too rude. The Brits all smoke so they were running outside every 30mins. My Chevy was in front of the place decorated with flowers – classic! Could that lad in the photo pass for a “Petrole”, name unknown or forgotten at this point.

Brian decided to join the band for a quick set!

Steve was able to get an early dismissal pass from Khalid - 11:00pm, before gown #3.

My camera batteries had died at that point so it was perfect timing.

The minute Carla and I hit the car the Kaftans were ripped off and thrown in a pile in the backseat. It was back to The Horse for a few Casablanca’s and some pool.

I haven’t seen the groom since and my Chevy was returned without a scratch!

The Wedding Album-enjoy the photos.

Where are Jess and Erik you may ask? In America - Seattle to be exact....visiting friends & catching a game of the best baseball team EVER!

Just another day in my on-going Moroccan adventure.

1 comment:

xoussef said...

actually there are two slightly different words: Hshouma means shame, and heshma which means modesty and decency.
it's weird you weren't treated dinner, it's very important, at least in south. weddings traditions differ.
here a wedding without dinner would bring shame to the two families, and guests who remain till the morning are given breakfast too.
as for the smelly caftans, you can take them to a blanchisserie next time :) it's not expansive and if you insist they can clean them in one hour maximum.
anyway all girls look grate ^^