Penang Trip Part 2

[1:30pm Penang time; 1:30am New York time; 6:30am here in Frankfurt Airport]

My second visit to Europe has been a lot less pleasant than the first time.  I’m stuck here for three hours by flight schedule instead of by mechanical delay, i.e. no compensating free meal, and instead of being able to roam around the airport, we’re restricted within a small confined boarding area with no food or drink or souvenior available for purchase, let alone any chance to win an Alpha Romeo.  There’s no working phone data connection or Wi-fi.  Thanks Germany – this must be what jail feels like.  Oh, and I just watched a mouse running by.  Yay for Mickey.

For some odd reason, the returning trip is always less encouraging.  16 hours earlier at the Penang International Airport, I watched the four most obnoxious line-cutting actions right in front of my eyes at the immigration counter.  Two parties of two Indonesian (I think) ladies apparently had no concept of queueing order or “please wait behind the yellow line” and proceeded directly to the counter, standing right next to the passengers being examined.  The first pair apparently knew one of the passengers at the counter, and started passionate hugging and screaming like what American girls do when they get overly drunk.  It was such an awkward situation that neither I, nor the officers, knew what to do besides letting them do whatever.  I spoke up minutes later when the second naive/retarded pair cut in front of me.  They gave me the look like they had no idea on what basis I was making a fuzz, and just moved to another line.  Maybe they really don’t know anything about airport security or orderly conduct?  I really hope they’d visit New York one day.

But a bad returning trip is not so bad as long as the actual trip itself is good.  Ariel and Chee Seng’s second wedding is happily over, and I’m glad to have seen some traditional Chinese practices, for probably the one and only time in life.  CS’s sister asked whether we Taiwanese follow the same traditions, and I had to explain that we weren’t exactly of Taiwanese heritage and had no clue about some of this stuff.  The tea ceremony, for example, where the couple served tea to all family elders, accepted their gifts and blessings, then gave red envelops to all the family children.  CS’s older sister and I were “stuck” being not old enough as elders but too old to want their red envelops.  The program was modified last minute and we were the only attendees that drank tea standing and involved in no monetary exchanges.

The wedding reception was awesome.  The magnitude of fanciness was something I don’t expect to witness again unless my friends win the lottery or get married in a country with low labor costs.  The grand entrance was led by one of the four singers/dancers performing at the event:

The centerpiece on table #1 looks crazy:

The the first course entered the room between two rows of waiters with plates of candles by the red carpet (not pictured).  Each table had its own dedicated waitress serving food to the individuals, and there were additional food/beverage waiters running around:

The event went rather quiet and slow for the most part, until most guests left and Chee Seng’s friends started to get rowdy and toasted the couple over and over, Hokkienese style.  Given the amount of wine spilled on the tableclothes, I was glad to see nothing harder around:

The after party party:

The after party games:

The travel map – it’s a loooong way!