Hong Kong 2/5

Our second day in Hong Kong was Cynthia and Aaron’s big day, and the catalyst for our Singapore / Hong Kong vacation.  Who are Cynthia and Aaron?  Colleagues that I had known since an early part of my career, one of whom I work closely with on a day-to-day basis these days.  It’s also true that, by the time we were invited to this wedding, I had met the bride in person a grand total of three times, and the groom once.  Intriguing, huh?  In many ways, we were very honored and grateful to have been invited to their wedding.

The elaborate day consisted of several segments, and the traditional part took place at the bride’s home starting early in the morning.  We took a taxi to Tsing Yi, and joined the wedding party in ascending 38 stories up the elevator in a gigantic residential complex.  Remember what I said yesterday about Hong Kong and its skyscrapers?  Nobody else I knew had such an amazing view at home.  Additionally, I had looked forward to check out the size of a real Hong Kong resident’s home (as opposed to what they depict in many movies, such as the gigantic space that Andy Lau moved into in Inferno Affairs).  Well it sure was compact!  Having lived in Manhattan I’d say space is rarely an issue for me.  But even then, I wasn’t sure I can be comfortable living in Hong Kong.

Other than the place where it took place, I was also super excited about the traditional component of the wedding.  Even though born and raised a Chinese native, I had never seen a traditional Chinese wedding.  I knew how it was supposed to go: the groom and his buddies do whatever they have to to break through the stronghold gate which the bridesmaids keep, and get tortured/ripped off in the process.  What made this a more unique cultural experience was that while most of the bridesmaids, like the bride, where Hong Kong natives, the groom and his men were all Americans who were foreign to such tradition.  It was hilariously entertaining to watch.  Unfortunately, Xuan Xuan was starting to get fussy (in a confined space with a ton of people) so we had to excuse ourselves.  Didn’t get to see the bride’s grand entrance or the tea ceremony!  So sad!

Getting ready.  Cynthia referred to the part before the ceremony as “games”.  Not sure the guys felt the same way 🙂

“What did you just say we have to do?”

Through InterContinental’s concierge service, though, we arranged for a baby sitter.  It was Xuan Xuan’s first experience with a sitter, and it was in a completely foreign country!  We had to shell out a handful of cash for that service, but it allowed us to attend the actual wedding ceremony without disturbance.

Jumping on the third taxi ride between TST and Tsing Yi, we re-joined the wedding guests to take a shuttle bus to Discovery Bay on the Lantau Island.  Running into a few fellow Hokies on the way was a nice bonus.  The ceremony took place at the White Chapel of a hotel named Auberge, with a great ocean view.  It was an extremely minimalist modern ceremony that took roughly five minutes.  The officiant was a semi-bald and awkwardly cheerful lawyer who giggled through the ceremony.

 IMG_1476Look at me sporting my fashionable pink tie from Shanghai

The White Chapel

IMG_1505Paper signed!!

There was a brief break after the shuttle bus took us back to InterContinental, so we took a stroll around TST and walked through some equally fancy places, like the Peninsula Hotel and 1881 Heritage.

Part of the shuttle service fleet of the Peninsula Hotel

IMG_15771881 Heritage – this former headquarters of the marine police now houses stores like Tiffany, Rolex, Shanghai Tang, and Vivienne Tam.

 IMG_1543The Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower was a historic monument and one of HK’s most famous landmarks.  Like Bank of China, I felt like I grew up with this building because it was referenced in a comic book.

In front of the Clock Tower were some rather odd displays that had nothing to do with our friends’ wedding… or maybe it did?

We also checked out the children’s wing of Harbour City, the largest mall in Hong Kong.  It was a complete Fifth Avenue experience for two year olds.

Burberry Children & Fendi kids

Gucci for the young ones

Dior Baby

No, if we couldn’t afford Burberry for ourselves, chances are we couldn’t afford Burberry for Xuan Xuan either.  As a condolence, this poor family shared a single pastry at this mall.  Here’s how it went down…

Gosh that’s a small snack!


All gone!!!!!!!  🙁 🙁 🙁

Dinner reception (wedding part 3) was a fairly typical Chinese banquet, except that it had a five-star view of the HK skyline, and its twelve course included some delicacies that I had never heard of.

IMG_1588Double Happiness

The bride’s brother and the groom’s sister giving really good speeches.

Xuan Xuan getting up & close to the newlywed.

We had seen (smaller versions of) this golden pig necklace in NYC Chinatown but had never understood it.  Here was Cynthia modeling how to fashionably pull it off.

The waiter wouldn’t put the roast piglet head on our table, but generously cut up the scrap pieces of the fish and gave me this awesome display (no sarcasm here, I actually loved it).  In the background was the menu of the night.  We were full by the 4th or 5th course.


This little one was so under dressed because she absolutely refused to wear the evening gown that had been taking up 1/3 of a suitcase for the duration of this trip.  Thanks a lot Xuan Xuan.