Thanks to the generosity of my best friend and her new husband (see previous post) and their parents, I was able to attend their second reception, given by Alex's parents in L.A. the Saturday following their wedding (their honeymoon to Tahiti was sandwiched in between).
The reception was beautiful and well attended by family and friends of Alex and his parents. Chinese & Indonesian cultural elements included Allison's beautiful red Chinese wedding dress, a traditional Chinese tea ceremony (in which the new couple honors their parents and elder relatives, presents them with tea, and receives from each pair a red envelope), and three ladies playing a few hymns on an Indonesian instrument called the "angklung."
Back at Alex's parents' house later that evening the celebrations and cultural traditions continued. The newlyweds cut the top off an inverted cone of yellow rice surrounded by various Indonesian appetizers. I asked his aunt why this is done, and didn't receive a definitive answer. But then I realized that if someone asked me why couples cut the cake and feed it to each other at the reception, I couldn't really come up with anything beyond, "Well, because it's tradition," so I left it at that. That evening was my introduction to Indonesian food, which I found to my liking in various degrees. Among the more notable things I tried were a hard boiled quail egg that had been marinated in something, and what I like to call "the green stuff," a mixture of avocado, jack fruit, young coconut, coconut milk, black (weed juice) gelatin, coconut gel, and ice, that's served as a dessert. While I don't think I'll be clamoring for some more any time soon, it was actually rather refreshing and didn't taste at all like cold, fruity guacamole (which is honestly what I was expecting).
Over the next several days Alex ended up taking us on what we came to call a "culinary tour of Asia," which included Japanese BBQ & shabu shabu, more Indonesian food (see photo), and Chinese dim sum (where I was adventurous, but drew the line at chicken feet).
Alex also proved an excellent tour guide of the major sights of L.A., and I was able to briefly explore Hollywood (including the Walk of Fame and the Kodak Theatre), Beverly Hills (complete with a stroll up and down Rodeo Drive and a jaw-dropping, finger-pointing drive through the mansion-riddled neighborhoods), Santa Monica (where I had to dip my feet in the Pacific, just because I could), the Farmer's Market in West L.A., and J-town in downtown Los Angeles, along with a visit to Universal Studios.
I left the reception feeling very tall (a 6footredhead stands out a bit in a room full of Indonesian people). I left L.A. feeling very cultured, very thankful, and very well-fed.