Saturday February 19, 2005
El Dia De La Boda
What a busy day! Just like a wedding in the States - probably everywhere! - this wedding day was busy for all of us.
Lana and Ignacio took the morning time for Ignacio's wedding day haircut, Lana providing careful supervision - no scalping allowed on this special day! Meanwhile, Skip received the extra special care of Paqui's massage therapy over at the Bambú Restaurant where Paqui works, and Steve and Aida headed off to look for the artist who does watercolors of Valparaiso - we were unsuccessful in finding him - and Joaquin took the morning to tour Vina del Mar.
Various ones reconnected and Lana and Aida headed off to the Bridal shop to get all dolled up and Steve and Ignacio went up the hill to Cerro Baron to get last minute instruction from the pastor. We visited the church and had a very special time together there in anticipation of the big event, then went on to Ignacio's house for a short visit with the family, and then returned to Valparaiso for the final preparations before leaving for the wedding itself.
Now, on to the wedding! First stop - the Novia shop - to pick up Aida and the bride - and up the hill to Cerro Baron!
The wedding was held at the little church in the neighborhood up the hill from Ignacio's house with about 50 or so family and friends who walked there from their homes nearby. Once everybody was gathered inside, Lana and I drove up beside the church - took a deep breath - and walked in. We were surprised to find Ignacio standing at the back of the church - we both looked at each other with a "what is HE doing here?" look - but the music started and off we went down the aisle to the old scratchy recording of "Here Comes The Bride."
Ignacio followed, Lana and I kissed, and the ceremony was off and running. It consisted of pastoral teaching on marriage, love and faith, exchanges of vows and rings, a pastoral blessing, then a kiss - and voila! just like that - it was done!
Everybody tumbled out of the church onto the street behind - lots of hugs, kisses, smiles all around - then we got some photos organized - the bride and groom with this group and that group - being careful to include everybody. Slowly people starting leaving for their homes - knowing there was no reception on Cerro Baron - until after a while we were left just the four of us - Lana and Ignacio, Steve and Skip - standing there behind the church with our trusty rental car, all there on the dusty red clay street with the city of Valparaiso off in the background.
So off we went - Skip and me in the front, the newlyweds in the back - off to Valparaiso where a smaller group would be together for a reception and celebration. On the way we decided to stop at Paqui's to make sure they knew the time of the get together. We found them - Paqui, Pamela, Loreto - walking by the side of the road, stopped and had to implore them to join us - they did not want to impose themselves on a "family" celebration. We succeeded and then faced the decision about transportation - a taxi? the bus? the car?
Finally, they all piled in! Into the back seat they went, right there with the bride and groom! Loreto almost went up front with Skip, but at the last second stayed back - but we managed to get to the hotel - all piled out - and enjoyed a wonderful cake reception with Aida and Joaquin, Gladys and Ricardo, and the seven of us from the car! They cut the cake together, fed each other a first bite, had a toast together and we chatted and had fun until the 8 o'clock dinner hour.
Then into taxis to get up the hill to the Turrín restaurant - a great place with a panoramic view of the sea, harbor, and all of Valparaiso. Fantastic! Great service, superb food, spectacular seafood appetizers, great wines (thanks to Ricardo for picking them - he says, perhaps rightly so from what we experienced, that there are no bad Chilean wines. "You can't go wrong."). We all had a great time - talking and joking around the table - lots of laughing and carrying on. Wonderful for everyone, especially the newlyweds!
Now back into taxis for a ride in to town to a dance place - a tango parlor! - a unique cultural experience to be sure! It was like something out of an old movie! There was not a couple in the place under 50 years old, and it was obvious that most of them were they because they loved the dance. There was great energy and a sense of great fun. There we met Rosa and her husband - a tango instructor - in fact, Lana's tango instructor. Two large bottles of Pisco appeared, with Sprite or Coke, and we gringos watched in fascination as the assembled group danced on into the night. When we begged off at 2am they were still going strong!
What a great wedding day for Lana and Ignacio! And a great day for all the rest of us as well!