Tag Archives: dancing

[UK 2011] The night was young, and so are we, but only God can make a tree!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Probably because we were knocked out from the wedding festivities the night before, I don’t remember much of the morning of May 8. I’m sure it involved sleeping in and then heading over to Waitrose or Sainsbury to feed ourselves. I remember going with Pat & Jerome to Primark (a shopper’s haven, my long-distance love, etc) to buy a hand carry bag for Pat while I did a mental checklist of the things I’ll buy there to take home with me.

Meanwhile, Dale went to a farmers market, something which I also planned to do on a Sunday morning. Fatigue won over and the three of us stayed at home while– and I’m sure this is totally what happened– Dale tied a scarf around his head and carried his wicker basket to Chapel Market, while birds sing all around him. There, he met the love of his life, a small-town farmer that grew the most delicious strawberries.

As soon as Dale got back, strawberries in tow (this part is true, and they were really delicious), we decided to go ahead with our previously-aborted plans of meeting Vince, Ajay’s friend and a fellow Filipino who lives in London, to spend the night dance, dance, dancing away.

What? Didn’t we just do that during Angel’s wedding?

Yes, we did. But this was a legitimate night out in town. Pat and I wanted one before she went home to Manila the next day. So we decided to meet Vince at the Trafalgar Square, so we can also fit in a few minutes of taking photos. [Note: Here’s when I should have gone to Australia House, a.k.a., Gringotts.]

Pat and Dale on the train.Either Dale's yawning, or he's belting out an emotional ballad.

Trafalgar Square is one of the more famous tourist attractions in London. It is also a popular venue for rallies and demonstrations.

Trafalgar Square!

Trafalgar Square again (well part of the fountain), with the National Gallery in the background

Smack at the center is the Nelson’s Column, with the four lions “guarding” it. Lots of people seem to like chilling in there. Jerome attempted to climb on one of the lions, with Dale on his heels. I would have also tried climbing up that lion, but not while wearing a skirt.

Jerome with one of the four lions

There’s also a large fountain and some other sculptures in Trafalgar Square, which I’m too tired to Wiki.

Vince introduced us to his friend, Tendai, and this pub, Montagu Pyke. We had a quick dinner there, and also a few cocktail drinks. We ordered different cocktails at first, but we all ended up liking this apple pie-tasting mix the best, which had Fireball Cinammon Whisky as its base. It was so good that as of this entry, I’m having my friend bring me some of that whisky home from Canada.

My amigos in front of the pub

Jerome and I shared a steak and kidney pie with mashed potato and mashed peas on the side.

Mashed peas aren’t for me, I soon discovered. Perhaps they were when I was 5 months old and eating them out of a Gerber bottle. Speaking of babies (whut?), we were carded when we ordered drinks. Bless that bartender, he was probably our age or younger. I guess our Asian genes can still have us passing for college students there.

After Montagu Pyke, we looked for a place we can go dancing. Our first attempt was at a salsa place (the dance, not the dip), but no amount of “So You Think You Can Dance” can make us attempt the salsa publicly. We ended up at Zoo in Leicester Square, where there were actual college (or high school?) students. One of them looked like Ignasi Miquel. Or Zac Efron. Unfortunately, apart from Ignasi-Zac, the only tappable guys there was this Italian guy who ended up making out near the bar after making 5 seconds of eye contact with a total stranger.

Not gonna lie, the crowd was totally lame. There were quite a number of douchey-looking guys trying to dance with me or Pat (and one guy who actually danced his way inside our protective cocoon– but that was fun.) and a group of slutty tourists taking the London Night Tour. Thankfully, we had our… er, men to protect us and vice versa. Despite all that, we enjoyed the night, even the part with the cheesy 90s backtrack music (Backstreet Boys, anyone?).

Okay, so we especially enjoyed the cheesy 90s music part.

The only photos at Zoo, c/o Vince's iPhone

It was kind of a shock seeing people make out on the dance floor. Had to remind myself that we were in Europe. If we were here, those people would have been doused by an icy beverage. Not really, but they would be given the evil eye. Wait. Will they? I haven’t been on the scene for so long. Or ever.

When it was time to call it a night, there were no more trains to take us back to our hotel so we had to walk to a bus stop with a route that included East Croydon. Pat was going home the day after, and it was a sad because we wouldn’t have her for the remainder of the trip, and also partly because we were reminded that we do not live here in this wonderful, amazing city. 😦

[UK 2011] It’s a Hindu Wedding: Ajay + Angel

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The main reason why we were in the UK finally arrived: the day of Angel’s wedding to Ajay. To give you a tidbit of their love story, Angel met Ajay when we were about 19 or 20. Ajay did a kind of a modern knight-in-shining armour (note the British spelling, hehe) thing for Angel, avenging her from a douchey sort-of ex-boyfriend. They’re living proof that love does conquer not only distance, but also a vast difference in culture and upbringing. Ajay is Hindu and was born and raised in London while Angel is a “good” Catholic girl who was raised with people like me, so that does not bode well in terms of maturity and social skills (though she did turn out better than most of us :P).

I always think about them whenever I encounter this quote:

“Absence does for love what the wind does for a flame: it extinguishes the weak, and feeds the strong.”

The day of the wedding started early for us, with most of the wedding party heading to the venue to prep. Dale, on the other hand, went with Angel to the salon because a male “family member” should be with her at all times. Well, that or Dale just really wanted some pampering time. Pat and I got into our Indian suits, which really did not suit us at all. Yeah, they were pretty, but mostly worn by the middle-aged wedding guests, while the girls our age wore saris. No big deal, Sam worked his magic on our faces and damn she’s good!

Pat and I with the glowing bride. Thanks to a professional makeup artist, we simulated "glowing" too.

Here’s some more pictures of the bride, and details of her wedding gown.

The beautiful bride checking her hair.

Beadwork adorning the bodice and the skirt of her gown.

I feel like I, or even the official photographer, didn’t take enough photos of the bride pre-ceremony. I don’t know, maybe I’m just used to the Filipino (and Western) way of everyone fussing over the bride and taking a gazillion photos of her. But it’s less stressful this way, I guess. Personally, I just wish I had better pictures to show you.

The guys looked very dashing in their tuxes. They played a prominent role in the ceremony, since Angel only had biological sisters and the Hindu ceremony calls for male members of the bride’s family.

Dale, Vince, Jerome - the brodesmaids!

Before it was time for the actual wedding ceremony, there was a ritual of the groom’s family dancing towards the bride’s home. I’ve seen this in many Bollywood movies (okay, in “Bride and Prejudice”). In this case, since the bride’s actual home is a long way from London, the reception hall served as a makeshift home for the family of the bride– sans the bride– to welcome the groom’s family. Sadly, there were no elephants, but I got over it quickly.

Sincerely hoping that was Ajay under the veil.

After a lot of hugging, it was time to go down and prep the bride. Four of us girls (me, Pat, Princess, and Sam) were carrying the canopy which Angel will walk under and we hid with the bride until it was time to go. And then… the bride was revealed to everyone. Fortunately, there was no dancing involved in this part.

I am excellent at canopy-holding!

The bride and the groom

The wedding ceremony was in Sanskrit, which not even the bride and groom understood fully. Or at all. Some of it was translated in English, but there were jokes or maybe stories in Hindu that we just had to smile through. Other than that and the priest’s unfortunate see-through pants (unfortunate for us at the front), the ceremony was beautiful, colorful, and unlike anything I’ve witnessed live before. It was fascinating to see the difference in a Hindu traditional wedding vs. a Filipino one.

The look of la-la-love!

I like how much the families are involved in the ceremony. They have roles not limited to the start and end of the wedding.

The "bros" had a lot of things to do during the ceremony

I knew this wedding was a long time coming– and haven’t we been celebrating for a week now?– but I couldn’t help thinking the entire time, “This is it. Finally!” Not even ashamed to admit, I teared up a little bit. Angel was the first one to get married in our group and I wouldn’t have missed this for anything.

After the ceremony, we had to wait a while before the bride and groom enters the reception, so Pat and I had time to transform from these:

Prim and proper in our Indian suits

…to these!

"Slut up!" was the theme of the reception

This picture does not capture how short this dress is. Thanks sis!

Ajay made a cute intro video for the reception which I can’t post here in all its awesomeness, as it’s password protected. It’s one of the most unique wedding videos I’ve ever seen. It starts with Ajay sleeping on a hotel… pshh, it’s not going to be as good when I just narrate the thing. Just take my word for it, it was mega-awesome. Perks of having a professional filmmaker for a husband.

By this time, I’ve mostly forgotten about my camera and just ate, drank, danced and repeated the three in varying rate and frequency. I probably did the drinking the most because a) the lychee martini was delicious and b) Ben the bartender was Aaron Ramsey-cute. My lame attempts at flirting got me nowhere, so I did what I did best: talked about football. Which mostly got his attention away from the other simpering females who knew nothing of last season’s results. WIN.

I got so by the end of the night, I fell asleep on the ride home. Then the carriage turned back into a pumpkin. 🙂