Friday, April 22, 2005 9:37 PM
part 13

Several of Ling-Li's friends were getting married at around the same time. On hearing about all of the preparation that goes into a wedding, we decided to investigate a bit on our own. Our first stop was at a shop that offers a bridal registry. The idea is that the wedding couple creates a list of everything that they'd like other people to buy for them. Obviously some people want bigger stuff than others, because this shop even offered furniture such as couches! We had to make an appointment at this shop, just to get in the door. Entrance is then by invitation only - no-one is allowed to just drop in. Once inside, it was like another world - they had food stations with people cooking things. We were given a device that combines a barcode reader with something that keeps a list of the items selected, the price, and the number chosen. We wandered around for a couple of hours (it's a big shop), and didn't find anything particularly compelling, but we could overhear other people accumulating hundreds of dollars worth of items.

All of the bread here seems to be made with honey. That makes them sweet breads (as opposed to sweetbreads).

During the next week, we went to one of the shops that was holding the registry for one of the couples. I shouldn't have been surprised that when we printed out the list, it was over two metres long!

We went to a food tasting, hosted by a catering company. The premises were very high-class, in a surburban castle of sorts. The tasting was held in one of the ballrooms(!), and there were lots of liveried people waiting on the tables, so the expectations were high. Unfortunately, the food was, well, ordinary. It seems that we were not the only ones with that opinion, given the number of plates that weren't empty at the end of the evening.

Some people need to rethink their naming. I have seen food called "Mush" (and it was really unidentifiable), tea called "Nestea" (very nestea indeed), and a manufacturer called "Real". "Real" food.

While on the subject of rethinking, there is a company whose slogan is "Rethink". Unfortunately, the word "Rethink" appears before the company name, resulting in "Rethink <company>", which is exactly what I'm doing.

One of the weddings that we attended was on a boat. There was a funny mix of music - rock, disco, rap, etc, but I couldn't help laughing when the Bee Gees came on, singing "Staying Alive", and a guy in uniform (Airforce, though, not Navy) started dancing. It was just like the scene in the movie "Flying High" (or "Airplane", as they call it here). He even danced the same way, more or less (sadly, without the "Saturday Night Fever" parody). Perhaps he had seen the movie, too.

The sign said "Fire-proof hotel", but the building still had a fire-escape.

Finally, we went to a "Bridal Expo". There were hundreds of people there, the men carrying bags of increasing weight, as the women ran around and collected things. :-) The popular stands were the ones that had food, which was mostly chocolates and similar things. However, by far the most popular of them all was run by a restaurant. They had freshly cooked pasta, and a refrigerator containing tiramisu. The queue for their stand snaked from the back of the room (where they were) to the front of the room and out the door. Pity the stands nearby as people stood in front of them but completely ignored them (except to grab their chocolates).

We went to see a musical that contained a "female" character (don't worry, I'll explain that). The programme hid the gender of the actor - "R" did this, "R" starred in that, "R" has lived in... It seemed like a strange thing to do, but the point was to hide the fact that the character - and I'm not really giving anything away here - is actually played by a man. How did I find out even before the show started? Because the programme contained the understudy's full name. The musical is decades old, but interest in it was renewed a few years ago when it was converted into a fairly average movie. I had a couple of complaints about the movie, and this version of the musical. The first is that one of the characters is supposed to be a, er, "big" woman (which we know from one of the songs that she sings), but she wasn't. The second is that the actors (dancers and singers) had no concept of comic timing. Some of the lines require pauses in mid-sentence to get the effect, but the actors simply recited the words. sigh.

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