Megan's Wedding in PhillyMon, 22nd May '06, 12:20 am::
Just got back from my friend Megan's wedding in Pennsylvania! CONGRATS MEGS AND CHRIS!!!!! Such an eventful and packed weekend that I am still not over the excitement. First of all, this was my first time ever seeing Megan in person and yet we felt like we'd been friends forever. Well, technically we have; known her online via Fark.com for over five years now. Chris turned out to be even cooler and much more fun than I thought. I mean I didn't know much about him to expect anything. I kept thinking he reminded me very strongly of someone famous and then it hit me... Abhishek Bachchan - famous Indian actor. I mean it's weird to be reminded of movie stars when you meet real people but the resemblance, especially the walk and body language, was uncanny. Megan was definitely the life of the entire party... laughing and dancing every other minute.
The party for me started at the Tampa Airport on Friday afternoon. Having gone to work early on Friday and leaving early, I was already tired by the time I passed through the dreadded airport security. I sit down at this Mexican food place and ask the waiter for the biggest margarita and the biggest bowl of nachos they have. Next thing I know I'm in Philadelphia. I freshened up at my hotel (which did NOT look as polished as the picture makes it out to be) and decided to take a walk around Center City, Philadelphia. I took a few pictures and just kept noticing the little unique identity marks of the city. I noticed rows of houses sharing common walls, kinda like San Fran, but with buckets of flowers hanging from the front windows.
At 9:30pm, I finally got to meet Megan! First time I see her in person and she's looking gorgeous in a bridal dress. It's kinda cooler than meeting someone at Walmart. Also met her friend Wade & Lisa, and of course, the groom Chris. We had wine and vodka, talked for a few hours, and parted ways. Next morning, i.e. Saturday, I had some continental breakfast, Meg/Chris picked me up, and we drove to Chris' Aunt Kathy's house in the middle of the beautiful rolling hills of Pennsylvania Country. Quite possibly one of the most beautiful landscaping I've ever seen in my life with waterfall, and all sorts of trees and plants, which of course is easily explained by the fact that Chris' uncle, Tom, runs a landscaping business. Oh and their neighbors had ostriches. Yes, OSTRICHES!
I met their families as they slowly arrived and we started setting up the tables under the big (30ft x 60ft) tent in the backyard. Good thing everything was pretty much setup by the time we got there and all we had to do was put up the lights and set up the bar. Gee, I wonder who took it upon himself to make sure the bar was setup right :-P Around 4pm, the guests started pouring in. The most relaxing aspect of this party was the attire - casual - jeans 'n shirt! It was more like a big bar-b-que party than some formal wedding occasion. As the sun set, it started getting cold, and Tom got his son Luke to build a HUGE campfire. I think the fire lasted from 8pm to 3am! And I made sure it kept me warm - I mean I've so gotten used to the warm Florida weather now...
As the evening progressed, most of the older guests left, leaving us kids behind. The music was on, the fire was warm, and the drinksa' floweth. I made my special California Sunset mixed drink for Chris and got two more orders for it. As I tell everyone, I'm a computer guy by mind but a bartender by heart. Around midnight, we setup our tents under the big tent - to keep us warm and protected from the harsh winds. Oh yeah, I took a tent on the plane! It was hilarious because the airport people kept looking at me funny when they saw I'm getting on a plane so I can camp out.
Sunday morning was the familiar post-party lazy-wake up chore. Got up, folded my tent, and showed all my mad sleeping-bag folding trickzzz to Megan & Chris. We had some pancakes for breakfast, packed up our stuff, said good-bye to the twenty new people I met, and drove to Chris' grandfather's house. And that is where I think I saw the most memorable country-side - in the little town of Embreeville Mill near the historic Brandywine River. I don't know much about American history but from what I learnt, every other house in this area was built sometime in 1700's and Chris' ancestors owned acres and acres of land. They were one of the first few canners in the country - canned the mushrooms that rural Pennsylvania is so famous for. It kinda reminds me of my ancestors in India because my grandparents and their parents grew up in the same family house in the village that their parents did. It doesn't matter where in the world you were three hundred years ago, life wasn't too different.
As I walked around Chris' grandpa's house, I noticed the exterior walls were TWO FEET THICK! Chris' dad (harbor-master of Longboat Key Marina in Sarasota, FL and the only other Floridian) said it took four years to actually build this house sometime in 1770's. The construction was rock-solid and the design was rustic yet timeless. The cold-as-ice wine-cellar was probably my favorite part of the house. We saw wild goats right outside their front-door and I was told by everyone to NEVER mess with a male goat - as if that was on my list of 50-things I wanna do or something :)
One of the guests at the wedding was Richard Chalfont, a famous painter. I talked to him at the party and later learnt his gift to the newly-wed couple was a beautiful painting of houses previously owned by Chris' family. Pretty amazing stuff.
After about an hour or so, we left to drop me off at a nearby train-station so I could get to the airport on time. Neat thing how the Philly airport is so well-connected to the local trains. Didn't have a problem at all. But man... the good-bye to Meg & Chris was sad... I told them normally this is the moment I say "alright guys, see you next weekend..." or "give me a call if you wanna hang out sometime..." but I doubt that's possible. It's amazing how close I felt to them as friends, even though it was my first time seeing both of them. Anyways, my train arrived on time, I got to the airport on time, and landed at Tampa after two flights, almost on time. I won't say the return trip was uneventful because there were far too many annoying people, unbearable noises, and frustrating incidents for it to be uneventful. However, I'm home now, safe and sound, and more excited than ever to get back to work tomorrow after my mini-weekend-get-away-to-Philly.