The following day was Charlotte’s and Suraj’s wedding. After breakfast Sue and Sarah got a mini-bus up to Nungwi. Sarah was very excited, she didn’t go with us for the evening meal into Stone Town the previous night as she wanted to wash her hair and get everything ready. Jamie and I didn’t go with them as we were not allowed to enter the Hotel (Gema del Est) until after 4pm. Sue and Sarah were to help Charlotte get ready, they were having a Spa and massage and Charlotte’s hair was being done. Suraj and Lucas travelled down to us on the return taxi to spend time with us (he wasn’t allowed to see Charlotte). When they arrived we walked along the beach to a nice bar and had lunch. We had to race the incoming tide back, or else things might have been very different to those planned (though Sue and I weren’t at all sure what had been planned). After showering and changing into our glad rags we got the taxi at 2.30pm to travel north. It rained on the way! It stopped when we arrived and the sun came out!
We travelled by golf cart to where Suraj and Charlotte had their rooms. The hotel is a 5 star plus affair in a beautiful location next to a beautiful white beach. It is the largest and grandest hotel on the island and won a prestigious international award this year for service and facilities. IT WAS AMAZING. Jamie, Lucas and I were taken to where the girls were staying and Suraj had to go to his own rooms. I know I have two very pretty daughters, but they were absolutely stunning. Several weeks ago, I had made a video of Sue’s and my own wedding, from the photographs that were taken. It reminded me how gobsmackingly beautiful Sue had been on that day, and now I was was seeing the same again but in triplicate. Neither Suraj and I had seen the girl’s dresses before, but they were perfect. I didn’t even have the customary heart attack when it was whispered that they were all designer affairs. Worth every penny and I don’t want to know how much.
Jamie. Suraj, Lucas and Sue were whisked away. I took some photos of Charlotte and Sarah before we too were transported to the starting point. What happened next was truly amazing. It was the proudest moment of my life as a father, to give my eldest daughter away in such a fashion. What I say next cannot do justice to the sights, sounds and emotions that greeted Charlotte, Sarah and I on the walk to the altar.We walked down steps strewn with red petals, accompannied by 2 Massai Chieftans, we halted awhile at the bottom, while it appeared as if everyone in the world was taking photos and applauding and we given a glass of champagne each. We both knew our throats were very dry. We were then invited to carry on with our walk by another Massai warrior who scattered even more petals across a walk way of plaited palm leaves, laid across the white sand (to prevent Charlotte’s train, dragging in the sand, I think). We travelled via a windy pathway through several flowered arches to flash of cameras and the clapping of what appeared to be every guest in the hotel who were lining our way. Eventually we reached our destination and I reluctantly handed Charlotte over to Suraj (he looked relieved). He was surrounded by 12 Massai warriors and oh yes (nearly forgot), a band of Massai drummers banging the life out of their instruments in rhythm.
When I stood back and watched the ceremony with Charlotte and Suraj taking their vows, I had a chance take photos and see just how many people were there. Sue and I signed as witnesses and then after the KISS at which everyone went aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrh! The couple had to return along the plaited walkway this time with the warriors dancing and chanting alongside to the even louder banging of the drums. At the end of the walk way, the couple I suppose were treated to a Massai wedding? with lots of jumping and dancing, singing and at times what appeared to be threats. Very loud and colourful. words can;’t describe the scene (I did video it). After more formal photgraphs with absolutely everyone and in every compbination, the family were transported back to the rooms. The sight that met is when we returned was fabulous, everything was covered in red flowers and petals, and Jambo was written in flowers on every flat surface including the beds. Surpsingly the toilet pan was also treated to this decoration! There was more champagne available and food and fruit laid out on a table. How they managed to do all this in such a short time is unbelievable.
Very shortly afterwards, we travelled back to the beach for a meal (with wedding cake) that was just superb and so romantic. There was candles and shooting stars and white sand and the lapping of waves and by now, because of so much champagne, malibu and coke, seven very merry revellers. Lucas dropped off to sleep and missed the enterainment of an African band who played a mean Santana set. We lost Suraj and Jamie who manged to find a Hubbly Bubbly pot and were relaxing on cushions, until it was time to go,
We left around 1 am to travel back and must have arrived around 2.30am. I am afraid I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t want to forget a single moment, so I got out of bed at 6,30am to write this, it was such a perfect day. Thank you Charlotte, Suraj and Lucas.