Monday, April 19, 2010

Phuket to Krabi/Railay Bay Day 4: Shuttles and Long Tail Boats

{Longboats in the harbour}

We’d come to the end of our stay in Patong, so we got up packed out stuff, went down to breakfast and then waited for our shuttle to take us to Krabi and the Railay Bay Beach Resort. We left at about 9 and the trip took approximately 2.5 hours, not because Krabi is very far from Phuket, but because of the traffic and the fate that no one ever gets above 80km/h.

It was very interesting to see the difference between Phuket, Phang-Nga (which I still have no idea how to pronounce) and Krabi. Phuket is definitely the main tourist area and caters to every touristy whim, from go carting, to elephant rides to loads of shopping. There is a billboard on every corner (a huge billboard usually) advertising every leisure activity you could ever want. It is also more geared to the partying types. Phang-Nga, on the other hand, is much more rural and probably a truer representation of how the Thai people live their day to day lives. It is far less busy and populated and there are vast tracts of forests and farm land. Krabi is once again more tourist orientated, but geared more for family holidays and it retains a lot more of the natural beauty that makes Thailand so appealing.

When we saw the limestone cliffs that are so distinct to Thailand, I finally felt like we where were I’d pictured us being. Phuket was a lot of fun, but it didn’t really look like any of the photos you see in travel brochures. Phuket is definitely geared as a certain type of traveller (those that want to party and shop), but Krabi was much closer to what we were expecting to see.
We finally stopped at a little harbour and I wondered what was happening and if we had arrived at the hotel. But I saw our bags being loaded into a long tail boat and we were ushered on as well. And off we went.

Going out into the bay I was struck by how beautiful it was, with the crystal clear blue water, the green forest and the rising cliffs. There were quite a few long tail boats cruising by and we even saw a couple of pink jelly fish the size of dinner plate.

You arrive at Railay Bay on the east side of the peninsula, which is mostly mangroves, but still breathtaking. I felt like we had arrived in paradise and couldn’t wait to see what the west side looked like as that was where our hotel was and apparently much nicer than the east side.

{On our way to Railay Bay in a long tail boat}

The boat trip took about 15 minutes and when we got there we climbed off our boat and were loaded onto one of the hotel’s golf carts, to be driven to the reception. The Railay Bay Resort and Spa is beautiful, with lots of Thai style bungalows in wood, with palm leaf roofs.

As we checked in we got a little glimpse of the main beach (spectacular) and were then shown to our cottage, which is lovely, with modern fixtures, a very fancy bathroom and a big wooden canopy bed. We got settled as quickly as possible, threw on our costumes, grabbed the camera and headed for the beach.

{Railay West Beach}

{Our room}

I can’t possibly describe how beautiful the place is and how blown away we were. It was all I’d hoed for and more, Even the photos won’t do it justice. The white beach, crystal blue sea, great white cliffs and green forest.

{panorama of the beach}

We decided that we were hungry and went for lunch at the resort restaurant, which is right on the beach and where we dined on divine fruit smoothies (with real, perfectly ripe fruit). We then went for a stroll down the beach and had a had a swim in the (very) warm sea. This is the one thing we couldn’t get used to. It was really hot in Thailand, about 33 degrees with 100% humidity. All we wanted to do was jump into the cool sea or swimming pool, but the water is only a couple of degrees cooler than the air temp so the only escape is your lovely air-conditioned room.

{banana & watermelon smoothies}

The rest of the day we just lazed around, had a late afternoon nap, booked a tour to the Phi Phi Islands for the next day and went to look at the east side of Railay Bay (more the backpacking budget side). We rounded off the day with more fruit smoothies (which turned out to be a serious addiction and which we drank at least once a day if not two) at sunset.

{one of the beach restaurants}

{ Railay East}

{beautiful hotel at Railay East}

{my shoes outside our room}

{the sunset}

*One last note: We bought strawberry oreos at the little convenience store. They are very yummy! And also soon became a regular occurrence. They are way better than the originals

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Phuket Day 3: Katong, Kata and Chalong Temple

{Katong Beach}

Today we went for a tour around Phuket, which is only about 45km from north to south. After a wonderful buffet breakfast at our hotel, with all the bells and whistles, we walked down Patong beach to find a taxi to take us around. It only cost about 800THB (R200) to hire one for about 4 hours and we got to do our own private tour around the island. First we went to Katong & Kata beach, which were just a little south from Patong, as absolutely stunning. The water was much bluer and cleaner than Patong and each of the towns were cleaner, less busy and more upmarket. It was definitely a place we would stay if we ever got the chance to go back to Thailand.

{Kata Beach}

Once we had looked around a bit we went off to one of Phuket’s biggest elephant farms. It looked very well run and maintained, especially compared to some of the farms that we saw later. You can do 1 hour, 1 day or 3 day elephant treks into the surrounding jungle. The Indian elephants were so docile and you can see that they have been bred and used for many generations in Asia. The highlight was getting to feed a 1 year old calf called Peemai with bananas that we bought. He was so cute and took the bananas right out of our hands with his trunk.

{Baby Peemai}

{Honeymoon Hut - thought this was quite funny}

Then it was off to Chalong Temple or Wat Chalong is the largest and most ornate Buddhist monastery in Phuket. The first thing we noticed when we drove in was all the beautiful gold leaf and richly detailed carvings on the outside of the temple and surrounding buildings. The next was all the stray dogs, which are taken to the temples when their owners don’t want them anymore and left for the monks to feed, which they do.

{Chalong Temple}

{Detail on the Temple}

As a sign of respect the Monks as that when entering a temple you cover as much skin as possible out of respect, so Rudi and I put on our long sleeved tops and pants, in spite of the sweltering heat, before we entered the temple. We nearly died of the heat, but felt proud that we were respecting customs. Only to discover that we were the only ones. Everyone else there didn’t really seem to care and walked around in strappy tops and shorts. Anyway, what could we do? So, we just enjoyed the beauty of the place.

{Inside the Temple}


{Stairs up to the roof}

{The gardens}

{More detail}

{The Grand Pagoda which is said to contain a sliver of Lord Buddha’s bone}

{Building that holds statues of monks and relics along with personal belongings like their robes}

Once we had finished looking around the Temple we went into one of the other buildings, which is a shrine to the three respected monks of Luang Poh Cham, and which contained three gold leaf covered statues of the monks. There were many people making offerings to these monks and asking for blessings by writing their request on a piece of paper, pressing it to a statue so that some of the gold leaf stuck to the paper and then placing them in little urns around the monks.

{Statues of the three monks}

{Outside people had also written notes and tied them to the trees}

One of the things we found interesting is that every 15 minutes or so someone would light a sting of firecrackers inside a beehive shaped structure. It made one hell of a noise and we couldn’t understand what the significance of it was. We asked our driver and he explained that it was a way of showing gratitude for a prayer being answered and for good luck.

From the temple we were heading pack to Patong beach through Phuket Town, but our taxi driver had other ideas and insisted on dropping us off at these huge duty free shops along the road. Most were filled with jewellery and while there were a number of things I’d like to have bought, we weren’t really there to show. We later discovered that our driver was getting kick-backs from the stores and for every tourist he brought there that actually bought something he’d get a t-shirt and who knows what else.

Back at our hotel that afternoon we decided it was finally time to go for a swim in that very warm sea. The water was really toasty and not very refreshing, so we have that up as a bad idea and instead headed back to our hotel for a dip in their pool. Sitting around listening to the rest of the guests at the pool we realised that about 80% of the people there were South African.

{Evening on the verana}

We went for cocktails at the hotel restaurant at sunset and then took a stole down beach road. I was feeling a bit funny after my cocktail (it was made with real coconut milk and I think it was a bit rich) so we headed off to McDonalds for a burger (which tastes exactly like it does here. Ah, the wonders of MSGs).

{Sunset & the thunder clouds rolling in}

We were pretty tired from out day out so we decided to go back to the hotel and ended up watching The Brothers Bloom (a really cute indie movie) on tv and then went to bed early.

{More of the sunset & the moon}

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Patong Day 2: Shopping, Tuk-tuks and coconuts

{Buddha Shrine}

We slept like logs! Our room had lined curtains that kep it very dark so when I woke up I thought that it must be very early still, but I had slept enough and so decided to get up. When I looked to see what time it was I got a shock as it said it was already 10:30. I thought we had missed our breakfast (much to Rudi’s delight), which was included in our accommodation, and so, because we were absolutely famished, we decided to order room service, which wasn’t too expensive, was delivered really quickly and which we enjoyed on our balcony overlooking the pool and beach. After breakfast we headed down to the hotel spa for our Thai massage, which we had booked the evening before. When we told the receptionist that we were there for our 11:30 appointment she giggled and explained that it was only 10:30, so we were an hour early. It turns out that my phone was set an hour fast (still on Kuala lumpur time, which is an hour in front of Thailand) and we would have had more than enough time to go for breakfast when we’d woken up.

Once we had realised our mistake we arrived for our massage on time. It was wonderful! They gave us some lemon grass tea and cold towels scented with essential oil (which, as I said before, is something they do all over the place and which is very refreshing) and then we were shown to a double room where we were given some clothes to change into. We lay down on the spa beds which were on the floor and relaxed. The room was wood panelled, with soft lighting and hidden speakers which played calming Thai music.

A Thai massage is more about stretching your muscles than deep massage. It was truly relaxing. It took about an hour and afterwards Rudi and I could have floated out of there on a cloud. The spa gave us some more tea to drink (ginger this time) and bid us farewell.

{Monday Night Muay Thai promo}

We decided to explore some of the shopping opportunities in Patong so off we went, in the terrible heat, in search of the fantastic mall Mr Noy had told us about. On our way there we saw the above sight: a Muay Thai fighter on the back of a bakkie throwing some punches and kicks to promote the fight with the loudspeaker on the bakkie proclaimed would be “Monday night, Monday night, Monday night”.

We got accosted by half a dozen street vendors again, but finally got to the Jungceylon mall. Things are very cheap in Thailand and even more so because you can batter for anything. Most of the mall was filled with clothing stores and things that you can buy anywhere else in the world, but the basement section was full of Thai craft. I could have gone nuts there and spent all our money. We did buy a few gifts and I bought a little wooden elephant and some stunning photos of Thai kids. The only problem was that the lights kept going off. Seems SA is not the only place having load shedding.

{Jungceylon Mall}

We were so hot and bothered by the time we were finished walking around the mall that we decided to take a tuk-tuk back to our hotel instead of having to walk back in the sweltering heat. I’m glad we didn’t have to drive in Thailand as there seems to be no discernable road rules, everyone drives exactly where they want to and only worry about what’s happening in front of them.

{Our hotel swimming pool}

When we got back to the hotel we went for a swim in one of the two pool, went for a walk on the beach and then went to take some photos of the local fishermen huts and the long tail boats.

{Spirit Shrine on the river}

{Fishermen Huts}

{My hunky hubby}

Later we walked down beach road again and went for dinner at a very nice restaurant named Port. I had been dying to try one of the coconut drinks I had seen everyone having and when the waiter brought my order I discovered it was just fresh coconut juice (I had thought it was a cocktail). It was interesting and refreshing, but very rich. Our food was delicious! We had fab spring rolls with a plumb dipping sauce. I really enjoy the Thai food with lots of veggies and it isn’t very heavy.


{Main beach road}

{more scooters}

{one of the many restaurants}

{Buddha shrine at Port}

{our drinks}

{yum yum… Rudi’s love of watermelon smoothies begins}

{springrolls and plum dipping sauce}

While we were having dinner the live ban started playing. They have live music all over the place, at a lot of the restaurants and even at our hotel. They really weren’t very good and you couldn’t understand half of what they were singing, but at one stage they started playing “Africa” by Toto and we got very homesick *grin*

{Statue at another restaurant}

Once we had finished our meal we took a walk down to Bangla Road to check out some of the night life. This street is apparently the place to party in Patong. It gets closed off to traffic from 6pm to 4am the next morning and is lined with bars. We must have been there at about 9 so it hadn’t started to get too busy yet (apparently that only happens at about 11pm), but there were very interesting things to see.

{Bangla Road}

We took a slow stroll along the beach back to our hotel, watching as people launched paper lanterns into the night sky, which drift up on the hot air and can be seen for miles, and admiring the fireworks, which seem to be a nightly occurance. We stopped at a beach side bar for something cold to drink, sitting at a table on the beach with our feet in the sand, watching lightning, which arrives every night, but never seems to bring rain, flash across the sky.

Our Wedding Weekend

It all started the Sunday before the wedding with the arrival of Rudi’s best man, his wife and another friend of ours. Our house got increasingly busy from then on, with my matron of honour and her family arriving on Tuesday. It was a very busy week.

On Tuesday afternoon my mom and I went off to fetch my dress. I’d been waiting for that moment for so long and once I put it on, for the final fitting, I didn’t want to take it off. I’m so glad I chose the dress I did, and while I never got that feeling of “This is the one”, which everybody talks about (I think that’s just a myth), I loved it. There were 2 dresses on my final list, but the one I chose definitely made me feel the most like a bride. My mom and I then went out for a late lunch at Cavendish (and to look for a few last minute things, like my dad’s shirt for the wedding) and it was so nice just to have some alone time with her and chat about how nervous and excited I was about my pending nuptials.

Wednesday the whole wedding party went off to Riebeek Kasteel to the Royal Hotel for a bit of a rehearsal and to go through the final plans with our wedding coordinators. I know I’ve sung their praises before, but our wedding really wouldn’t have been half as special if it hadn’t been for them. They just did such an amazing job with everything and I didn’t have to worry about a thing.

After going over the last few things (timing, order of the ceremony, etc.) we went off to my mom and dad’s place in Riebeek West for lunch. I love their new house and always feel so relaxed there. Louise, Lily, Daniel and Louise’s mom went off to the waterfront in the afternoon and Rudi, Jayson, Andrea, Stan and I went to have a relaxing walk on Melkbos beach. Stan had us in stitches. Rudi got him to do all sorts of funny time trials, like seeing how fast he could hop on one leg or do cartwheels a certain distance. Nothing we asked him to do was too difficult or too ridiculous. I think the other people on the beach must have thought we were mad.

Thursday Louise and my mom treated me to a morning at the spa. Anja, another friend of mine (who’s also getting married this year) and I got the bridal package including a body scrub, manicure and pedicure. They gave us a bottle of Champaign to enjoy while we were having our treatments and we ended up drinking just a little too much, laughing raucously and in the end the spa personal came to ask us to keep it down *blush*. It was very funny though. After that we went to Tank in the Cape Quarters for sushi and cocktails and I was spoilt some more by everyone with all sorts of fun gifts.

Riebeek Kasteel

Friday morning dawned cold and rainy and I prayed that the weather would clear up as our whole wedding was an outside affair. Needless to say, when we went through to Riebeek Kasteel that afternoon the weather hadn’t improved and I just hoped that all the weather forecasts that we had been following for the last couple of weeks had been right, and that the weather would be perfect on Saturday.

Rudi had said that he wanted to be traditional and not see me the night before the wedding *smile*, so Louise, her family and I stayed at a wonderful little self catering place called the Tin House that night, while Rudi and his entourage stayed at Della Vigna cottage.

The Tin House, Riebeek Kasteel
The Tin House, Riebeek Kasteel
The Tin House, Riebeek Kasteel
The Tin House, Riebeek Kasteel

The Tin House is such a gorgeous place with a great vintage vibe, filled with antiques and all sorts of old nick-nacks. It has 2 rooms downstairs and a stunning loft and each room has a big brass bed with snugly down duvets. I took the loft and after supper at my mom and dad’s house I decided to go off to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. So off I went at 9 (yes I know that’s very early). My theory was that it would probably take me a long time to settle down, relax and finally get to sleep, so the earlier I went to bed the more sleep I’d get. My plan didn’t work, even with lots of rescue remedy, and I hardly slept at all, and when I did I dreamt the wedding was a mess. I wasn’t actually worried that something would go wrong (not consciously at least), but the nerves had finally kicked into overdrive and my heart was racing. Just before dawn I finally fell asleep and then all too quickly it was time to get up and start getting ready.

The big day had finally dawned after what felt like endless months of planning and dreaming. I got up and had a relaxing bath in an old fashioned tub that stood right there in my room. I thought I’d be terribly nervous, but in actual fact I felt quite calm and at peace. I felt great and was looking forward to getting on with everything.

I had a light breakfast (oats, the breakfast of champions *wink* or something like that) and then the lady who did my hair arrived. She put it in curlers and I did my make-up, in the most unlikely of places. I sat at the little door in the loft that opened out onto the garden, with a mirror propped up against the wall. It was actually quite nice as I had a stunning view of the beautiful garden and the lovely day that was dawning. My mom arrived and the house was bustling with activity.

Riebeek Kasteel

We finished with my hair and then our photographer, Lizelle, arrived. I got very excited and bouncy at this stage. If I tell you that the photos were the most important thing to me (except for actually marrying Rudi *grin*) then I’m not exaggerating. Looking for a good photographer was the 1st thing I started doing when we started planning the wedding and after long hours of searching, I finally found a great one. Lizelle makes you feel so comfortable and her photos are amazing!

We started taking my bridal shots and when my mom helped me into my dress she had tears in her eyes. It was such a special moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. I don’t know how I didn’t cry right then, but I managed not to (didn’t want to ruin my make-up just after having taken an hour to put it on *grin*). While we were taking some shots in the kitchen I spied the 1969 mustang, which was our wedding car, arrive. I nearly jumped out of my skin with glee. It was stunning! And it also signalled that it was almost time to go.

When people tell you your wedding day goes by so fast you think “yes, I’m sure it does, but mine will be different and I’ll savour every moment.” You don’t realise just how fast it does go by. Things that probably take hours fly by in an instant. The day wasn’t exactly a blur, as I can remember exactly what happened, but I wish it could have lasted a lot longer. All those long months of planning and waiting and everything was over so quickly.

I thought I’d be one of those brides that freak out at the slightest sign of something not going 100% according to plan. But I was so calm and nothing ruffled me. It could have turned into a really stressful day if I kept worrying about all the details, but when I say that it was the most amazing and wonderful day of my life I’m not lying.

Once all my photos were taken my dad and I got into the mustang and drove to the Royal Hotel. Rudi and all our guests were waiting on the front stoep of the hotel for us to arrive. As we drove up slowly I spotted Rudi on the stairs and from that moment on you couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. My husband to be looked so handsome in his suit and sneakers! *sigh*

The car stopped, Rudi came to help me out and gave me a big kiss. He looked ecstatic and told me how I had never looked as beautiful as I did today. It was great to have just 5 minutes to take each other in, say how happy we were and how much we love each other.

Rudi then walked back to the guests and took them down to the amphitheatre where the ceremony was to be held. My dad and I got back into the car and drove around the side of the hotel to where we needed to wait before walking down the aisle.

Then it was time. Crisna gave us the thumbs up and started our wedding march. Like so many of the things about our wedding this wasn’t your traditional wedding march, but a very quirky and different song – Whatever gets you through the day by The Radio from the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. My dad and I started walking down the grass towards the amphitheatre with Lily and Louise in front of us. Lily, our little flower girl, didn’t want to know anything about throwing the flowers like she was supposed to and Louise ended up doing it instead.

Then my eyes met Rudi’s and the rest of the world just disappeared. We both couldn’t stop grinning! I was so focused on him that I didn’t take any of the décor or guests in that were around me. When we got to the gazebo under which we were to be married, my dad gave me a kiss and handed me over to Rudi, who couldn’t help himself and kissed me (naughty man). Then we were standing in front of the minister, saying the words that would make us husband and wife. I thought I might cry, but I was so happy and excited that I wasn’t even close to tears. I was just so overjoyed to finally be marrying this wonderful man.

We went through the ceremony (which was short and sweet) looking into each other’s eyes and before we knew it the minister was pronouncing us husband and wife and we were kissing each other over and over again, while the guests released white balloons into the air.

We were supposed to light candles after the ceremony, as a symbol of our lives coming together, but the minister forgot and told everyone the ceremony was finished. We had to remind him of the candles and ask everyone for another minute of their time. We had two storm lanterns with a candle in each which had been lit throughout the ceremony. As we were lighting our candles from these, to light the big candle, mine went out and I had to use Rudi’s , but in the end it all worked out. Alex, my uncle, then read a message from my gran, who couldn’t be at the wedding.

And so we were finally married! The ceremony felt like it was over in a heartbeat and it all felt like a dream. I was so ecstatic. The day I had been waiting for more than 15 months had finally arrived and I was married to the man of my dreams and my best friend in the world.

The guests remained seated while Rudi, Jayson, Louise and I went up to the hotel to sign the registry. Our guests then moved up to the top patio to wait for us. We signed the registry in the hotel lobby at a big wooden table. Our minister gave us our marriage certificate (a really ugly piece of paper in actual fact) and wished us good luck and many happy years together.

Then it was time to walk out as Mr and Mrs van der Walt for the first time. Michael Buble’s Everything started to play, Jayson announced us and then everyone was blowing bubbles and congratulating us. We had to smile for what felt like hundreds of cameras and get hugs from everybody. Once everyone had had a chance to wish us well the guests moved off to the pre-drinks area and Rudi, our families and I went to take some photos on the front stoep of the hotel.

We must have been busy with our family photos and then the photos with Louise & Jayson for about an hour and luckily someone thought to send out some canapés otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten any. There was melon gazpachio, mini olive and sundried tomatoes quiches, toasted baguettes with chicken mayonnaise & bacon wrapped skewered prawns with clam filling. It was all delicious, but we just didn’t get to have enough of everything.

After the photos we went off to join our guests to kuier. There was a little decorated cart with wine and cold drinks and little pink, green and white boxes of candy floss. There were so many beautiful little details, like the bow tie on the buck in the lobby, ribbons in the trees, little cut out birds and flowers (that my friends and I had spent hours cutting out) and so much more that I don’t even think I saw everything. I’m hoping that Lizelle got a photos of most of the things.

Wiehan, who was our great mc, called everyone together for the speeches at the outside bar area. We planned to have it there to make the whole thing very relaxed and we didn’t want to go the traditional route and have the speeches during dinner. Each person got a small 250ml bottle of JC le Roux, with a pinwheel straw, to sip on during the speeches. Louise went first and gave a beautiful speech about me, that almost made me cry. Then Jayson spoke about Rudi and after that Alex read a letter from my other aunt and uncle, who couldn’t make the wedding.

It was then my dad’s turn to make his speech. He doesn’t really like speaking in public, but he really gave a wonderful speech and he said such special things about Rudi. I think he’s really glad to have him as a son-in-law.

It was then my new husbands turn *grin*. As he stood up and turned to face everyone he had tears in his eyes and at that moment I realised again how much he loves me and what a very happy life we will have together. I still can’t believe that I’m married to this wonderful man.

Once the speeches were over and Jean, Rudi’s eldest brother, had said grace, we all moved off to the tables for lunch. We had two long tables that were so magnificently decorated. Our main colours were green, with a dash of fuchsia and Crisna & Willene brought in a lot of white and silver to balance the whole look. The table cloths were white with a stone grey runner and each person had a white napkin with their menu tied on with a brown ribbon. We had carnations and chrysanthemums and my favourite feature was the silver wine coolers with sticks stuck into them and balls of fuchsia carnations at the top. I also adored the bird cages with little pink and white polka dot eggs nestled inside them. Our décor was fun, whimsical, quirky and, I think, completely different.

We gave each guest a bottle of jam from Het Vlock Kasteel, a wine farm in the Riebeek Valley, and the kids got their Chinese take-out boxes filled with sweets. The place names were printed on a flower shape and attached to the back of each guests chair with a ribbon. I could go on and on about the décor, but I think the photos speak for themselves.

Lunch was scrumptious! There was fresh farm bread with herb butter and the guests could choose between chicken breast stuffed with feta, bacon & spinach on rice or kingklip with herb mash and each come with super fresh farm veggies. I think everyone had fun, chatting and drinking and generally being merry.

We spent a while chatting to our guests and eating heartily. After lunch, while our guests were still chatting away, Rudi and I slipped down to the amphitheatre, where we had the ceremony, to just be alone with each other for a few minutes and absorb the fact that we were now husband and wife. I hadn’t taken in any of the décor while the ceremony was going on, as all my attention was on Rudi, so I just wanted to have a look so I was sure I hadn’t missed anything. It was just as stunningly decorated as the tables, with a white gazebo, ribbons and balls of flowers.

I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves and it looked like they did. I printed a note page for each guest to write us a little message on and from what they said on them it looks like they really did enjoy how different our wedding was.

A little later it was time to cut our “cake”, which was in fact pink vanilla cream and green crème-soda cupcakes. Yes, I did say crème-soda. It’s Rudi’s favourite and it was one of the things he insisted on when we were planning the wedding *grin*. The waiters then brought out our yummy chocolate and vanilla ice-cream, which everyone enjoyed with my mom’s amazing chocolate sauce, crushed nuts, mini Astros and jelly eggs. We had to laugh at Jayson, who, in the process of poring chocolate sauce onto his ice-cream, managed to spill it all over the table and himself.

At about 5 Rudi and I went off with Lizelle and her assistant to take our couple photos. We were probably gone for about 2 hours, but I don’t think anybody minded as all the main events were already over and people were just chilling. The shoot was such a lot of fun and Lizelle had us in stitches, taking us to all sorts of unexpected locations and even making us walk around in the veld to get the right shots. Needless to say we had to pick thorns out of my dress and everyone else’s shoes.

Once we had finished with the shoot we went back to the hotel just after 7pm. Crisna and Willene had something special planned for us when we got back. They lit a Chinese lantern and let it rise into the sky, sending with it all their wishes and luck for our marriage.

We sat and chatted a while longer with our guests, went to say goodbye to a few people and then headed off to our little cottage. The day was all I had hoped for and so much more. It was so special and full of love and I will cherish the memories forever. I only wish it hadn’t gone by so fast and that I could do it all again. Over and over and over.