After our Dubai friends Sam and Chucky put the date of their wedding at Baan Bophut back by a week, we were free to surprise the family by pitching up at my great niece Giada's combined christening and 1st birthday bash in Italy, which had clashed with the original date.
A rather more different call to prayer than we're used to
The celebration with Dom and Fi, my siblings and most of their partners and offspring by Lake Garda, extended to four days of outstanding food, wine and general merriment, amid great company and lovely weather, after the suffocating heat of Dubai. It was also the chance to load up with some fantastic local cheeses and salami for onward transport to Dubai and Koh Samui. We had just 26 hours at home in Dubai before taking-off again for BKK, and once again I was fortunate to be upgraded to Business class (both ways, it turned out).
The wedding at the hotel was our biggest yet, with 48 guests that had arrived from as far away as the UK, the US (actor/rapper Mos Def's dad no less) and New Zealand, together with a large Dubai contingent. The weather was relatively kind in that it didn't rain or, unusual for Samui weddings, have anyone worrying that it would. An onshore breeze picked-up in the afternoon to alleviate some of the affects of the heat and humidity on an otherwise clear, almost cloudless day.
This was the first time that I'd been at Baan Bophut to witness the preparations that go into the making of such a special occasion. There are a lot of moving parts to one of these event and I must say that I was so proud of Lucy and all our staff at the way they pitched-in and got things organized. The flowers were beautiful and the crisp linen on the chairs, each with a little posy of orchids on the back looked splendid.
After the ceremony, while guests headed for the bar (itself beautifully decorated), our staff wheeled-in the eight, large circular tables which they unobtrusively set for dinner, on this occasion a combined buffet and barbecue. The bride's choice, a combo of Thai, western and vegetarian options seemed to go down well and I was pleased to receive several compliments for my fabled, twice-cooked, oven baked ribs. Unused to praising food he hasn't cooked himself, Tik said they needed more pepper.
We met some wonderful people that we hope to stay in touch with, as well as many old friends and Sam's brothers and sisters that we've known and caught up with, on and off, for many years.
Unable to focus, I put the camera away before the fireworks, fire balloons and many guests sought a form of recovery in the pool. For interested family and guests an album of my photos of the day can be found here.
What else happened during my nine day stay...? Oh yeah, the reception computer crashed and it's having a new motherboard fitted, along with 10 times more memory than it originally started life with. And while we were at it, arranged to upgrade our Internet connection and WiFi coverage to all rooms from an additional all-weather router on the beach bar roof. Hopefully it should all be up and running early next week. Watch this space for either praise or scorn heaped on the contractor, to follow.
Finally, I watched some of our staff enjoy their twice monthly English lesson, on this occasion with a trainee from Island TEFL, here engaged in an observed teaching practice. Island TEFL is one of two such schools that use Baan Bophut as part of their TEFL teacher development. It's a win-win arrangement judging by the enthusiasm of both the student teacher and our staff who, Lucy tells me, really look forward to these lessons.