Saturday, 21 September 2013

An Arabian Royal Wedding

Tea has always been a common denominator in my travels. I outlined that in my very first blog. And as explained previously, being English, very English, tea has always hung prevalently in my existence. This cute little pet name I inherited during afternoon tea with a good group of girlfriends after many years of tea and travels around the globe. The pet name came about in Arabia, but I had been brewing tea in a variety of receptacles, in a variety of countries and continents for several decades prior to my experiences in the Arabian Desert.

And so to continue with my Arabian Prince……

Blessed with a real life four year old Arabian Prince in my class, I was to experience some events that I could only have dreamed of prior to arriving in the Arabian Desert and these would also include afternoon tea. Having become a trusted confidante of my Princes governess, I was given an invitation to one of the Princesses exchanging of wedding vows. I didn't even have to worry about a new evening dress for this very special occasion; I was given the gift of some beautiful fabric and the address of a tailor who, to my design, run up the most gorgeous dress in two days.

All dressed up and collected by chauffeur driven Mercedes limousine, I was driven to the Palace. On entering the Palace gates, we passed armed guard security and continued along the flashing white twinkle lit tree lined driveway until we reached the large bridal marquees. To my utter surprise my limousine drove right inside the first pink plush carpeted marquee where we stopped (on the thick pile carpet) and the chauffeur helped me and my guest out of the car right into the wedding reception marquee.

The decoration was exquisite...pale pink ribbons, roses and baby lights twinkled everywhere. Pale pink thick pile carpets coveted the ground, cream silk drapes, solid silver cutlery and goblets housing champagne flowed throughout the tent. Cut glass shone and sparkled on two hundred or more circular tables around a two hundred yard long cat walk covered in cerise pink rose petals and the edges decorated with thousands of cream and pink flowers of every species one could think of.

The whole setting was overwhelmingly beautiful, it was awe inspiring. I couldn't take it all in. The setting and atmosphere caught my breath; I couldn't help staring for a long while as I digested this amazing vision and soaked up the beauty of the entire space. Nothing had been overlooked; every minute detail had been thoughtfully executed with tender loving care. Not a single item was missed; from the chandeliers to the place settings, from the carpets to the floristry…and all in a very grand tent.

The tent, of course, was full of women and girls. The men were in another very plush tent next door. The women wore amazing finery but most were ensconced in a black opaque overcoat called an abaya. Nevertheless, their finery often came with a long train which followed the women outside of the overcoat. For us two English teachers the three yards of visible finery flowing behind them, was fascinating and we wished with all our hearts the women would cast-off the overcoat and show all. These three yards were encrusted with any amount of crystals, beading, lace, ruffles and truly exquisite fine fabrics; it felt like they were teasing us and of course they were all teasing each other. The competition in the tent between the women was overpoweringly recognizable and at a “do” such as this, one wanted to “out do” anyone and everyone if one could.

Chatter, gossip, laughter and music filled the air as we glided in-between these ornate female creatures discretely espying and memorizing as much of the finery and atmosphere as possible. All of a sudden, over a loud speaker, an anonymous and clandestine male voice, announced that dinner was ready to be served. The tent became a scurry of hushed voices blended with the rustle of fine linen, as the women frantically found their tables and began to discard their abayas. We watched in wonder and awe as the tent took on a different life and colour; crystals, gold and beads dazzled from every corner of the room as the women finally paraded their attire like peacocks. The scene was amazing and spellbinding and we two English teachers loved every single minute. We turned to each other and smiled and completely mesmerized, the two of us were the last to take our seats, as we watched this spectacle unfold. We were now being watched by thousands of Arabian female eyes, of all generations, as in slow motion and with smiles on our faces we graciously found our seats for dinner. The whole room rose, smiled and clapped at us.

And still no bride and groom had been seen.

To be continued……

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