Thursday, October 05, 2006

F&R Welcome Diner – Mombassa

I had started writing about the last wedding I went to in India here and here, before I lost focus and started traveling again. So rather than a neatly outlined sequence of ceremonies and functions all we have is random coverage of a series of awesome events. So be it. So the wedding in Mombassa took place at the Leisure Lodge Resort. This place was incredible. It is a massive beach resort spread over god knows how many kilometers of white sand coast line with an 18 hole, 72 par, championship golf course to boot. The list of facilities available is mind boggling. Arriving there in a bus we received a warm reception from the local dancers who greeted us at the reception.

The rooms at the hotel were clean, cool, and comfortable, all spread over a vast area giving the guest a good workout on a daily basis. I spent most my time in the ‘Luxury Villa’ where my family was staying. The resort had about 5 or 6 swimming pools, one of which was in the ‘Luxury Villa’ overlooking the ocean. This pool and villa with 4 bedrooms probably had the best view on the property. When there were no functions to be attended, we were all present here or on the beach drinking and playing volleyball.

The first official function of the wedding in Mombassa was the African theme ‘Welcome Diner’. The gathering was situated on one of the numerous gardens on the resort. Guarding the entrance were Masai warriors dancing and chanting, dressed in their traditional garments. Seeing them put me in the right mood.

By this time all the guests attending the wedding were present and the festivities were getting underway assisted by the flow of alcohol and awesome chow. And the food was astounding. Entitled ‘African Odyssey’ the enormous buffet featured a variety of dishes from North and East Africa.

The cooking in this Area has a fair amount of Arab and Indian influence. Traditional Indian ‘roti’ or ‘chapatties’ are considered local food in Mombassa. There were a variety of curries, spicy meats, vegetables, and breads up for grabs. There were also some western dishes available for the not so adventurous types.

The buffet tables were decorated with carved watermelons. These fitted in well with the African Safari theme.

My attention as usual was focused on the grilled meats. How often do you get to attack a whole grilled lamb like that? The chef sliced thin pieces of meat and grilled them to perfection on the spot.

Some people have issues seeing the whole animal they eat being cooked. For them there were other items available on the grill including some spectacular seafood. The East Africans use extremely well blended spices and herbs in their marinade giving the grilled meats an exceptionally unique flavor.

In the center of the buffet area there were local women seated making fresh breads. And I am sure most of you will agree that nothing beats fresh made bread with your meal.

This bread in particular was new to me and also very tasty. It looks like a ‘somosa’ but this triangular shaped bread is actually fried and hollow. So when you rip it open you can fill it with whatever you want.

The entertainment for the evening was also ethnic with East African Musicians and dancers. I enjoy listening to music from different parts of the world and seeing what instruments they use. I would say that their brand of music had a light under layer of Arabic or Indian beats coated by high life or rough jazz. It is hard to describe but very unique and fascinating. As for the dancers, they were larger black women with very large bum-bums. Or should I say posteriors. They wore printed cloths wrapped tightly around their waists and then shook their hips vigorously to the music.

I wish I had more pictures to share but by this time I was pretty plastered and on the dance floor my self. The welcome diner gave the family an opportunity to mingle with all the guests from both the bride’s and the groom’s side. There was a whole lot of drinking and dancing that took place to commemorate the occasion.

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