Today has been an excellent day!!
Via came over in the afternoon and we did some research on hotels in the Yogyakarta area and checked on air fares = about Rp 2.5 million per ticket round-trip (US$250), with direct flights from Batam.
Hotel prices are all over the map – US$15 to nearly $500 per night. We’re looking for something in the $40-60 range with a Javanese flavor and in town, if possible. I’d like to be as close to the in-town activity as possible, with the ability to get out of the city or around within it to see the sights. There are a lot of choices – 109 listed hotels. Many are of modern design and interiors, which is not what we want. Thatched roof and bamboo, please.
Anyway, we had to quit exploring to get ready for Mawar’s wedding reception. Mawar is the Smiling Hill office manager, sits about 8 feet from me every day, and I hope is a friend. She got married several weeks ago, outside Medan. To attend would have meant a short flight but a 5-hour bus ride in a local bus over mountain terrain. We didn’t go. And I’ve got to tell you, while I’ve always thought she was attractive, I never dreamed she was as beautiful as the photos below. Geez!
The reception was near Batam Centre, a 20-minute cab ride from Nagoya. (Eddie took us and waited until we were done to take us back, and also took one of the photos below.) The locale was the Gloria 88 Restaurant, an open air affair with a band stage at one end. The newlyweds had booked it for the night. Mawar’s husband, Rey, I think, is an engineer, so is pretty well off here. They did not skimp on the wedding or reception.
In fact, the Batam reception, I’m guessing, was held mostly for the Smiling Hill crowd, so the expense was not something they had to do. But it’s Mawar’s “family.” The Smiling Hill crowd in attendance was not just bules (expats). Some of our security guards were there, as were some of the construction workers – pretty much most of the employees who weren’t working.
I’ve worked these affairs at Goodies as a roaming photographer, but this was the first time I’ve experienced it as a guest. First, we got there too early, although not as early as Jim and Mutya. Start time was 6 pm, which is when they arrived. We were there about 6:45. It took another hour or so for the crowd to build. More people from Smiling Hill, Indonesian and bule, arrived. Our table grew to five tables. Then the newlyweds entered – with an entourage behind.
Mawar and Rey (I think that’s his name) were dressed as if for a wedding. They had to stand in a dressed-up-in-white area to have pictures taken and to receive guests. They stood right on through everyone having dinner.
There was a cake cutting and a wine sharing, and lots of photographers and a videographer. Once the ceremonies concluded, everyone headed to the food lines. The food was good – rice, of course, a seafood and corn soup, beef rendang and several chicken dishes. Only the beef was spicy.
The band was good but way, way too loud.
The crowd started to disappear almost as soon as people finished dinner. We finally had our picture taken with Mawar and Rey and said goodnight. Dessert for Via at Goodies and a cafe mocha with a shot of JD for me and we were good for the night – until I finish this report.
It was an excellent day!