The Big Day and the Catedral de Sal

Zipaquira Travel Blog

 › entry 27 of 27 › view all entries

I pretty much spent the morning cleaning up bits and pieces of the house and waiting for other people to get organised.  As I didn´t have much to do myself I just tried to keep out of the way until the shower was free.

It was a complete fiasco!  Janneth warned me that Colombians are crazy and always late and I have to say she was right - I have never seen anything like it.  The wedding was supposed to start at 4pm sharp (so the invitations said, in an effort to encourage timeliness in the locals).  Unfortunately the bridal party only arrived at the church to start getting set up at 3.55pm!  We found that the catering people had completely ignored our instructions and set up the tables across both rooms - one was supposed to be for the ceremony, set up to create an aisle, and the other was for the reception.  There was band equipment taking up half of one room, no aisle, in fact no chairs set up at all, the red carpet (by some miracle) had actually been delivered but was sitting in the middle of the foyer and noone realised what it was until half an hour later.  There was an arch to be set up at the beginning of the red carpet.
Fortunately, only a sum total of about four guests had actually paid attention to the invite and turned up on time.  The other 50-odd guests sort of wandered in some time later, as they chose, not really too concerned.  If it had been my wedding I would have been ropable but fortunately, Janneth had expected as much and told her mother not to come to the church until Janneth called her.
The pastors that were doing the actual marriage ceremony didn´t turn up until 5 minutes to 5!
After the ceremony - it turned out the band equipment was so a very song could be sung at the beginning - we went next door to try and organise the table settings.  Nobody had actually written down table groupings and because the catering company had set up the tables incorrectly we couldn´t even have the right people at the head table.
What I really couldn´t get over though was the fact that some guests, who had confirmed their attendance the night before, simply didn´t turn up.  At least 10 of the 50-odd guests simply didn´t show.  And Janneth had already paid for 60 meals the week before so there was nothing we could do about it.
The New Zealanders were shaking our heads in absolute amazement at how rude it was to not turn up to a wedding where someone had paid for you to be there and you had confirmed - twice.
Anyway, it was a lovely ceremony and Lucila and Willy were very happy.  Tons and tons of photos were taken - as you can imagine with everybody having digital cameras.  The whole thing seemed to be the opposite way around from New Zealand - after the ceremony and the greeting of the guests, we had the speeches, the Mariachis, the cutting of the cake and the first dance.  After all that, they served the dinner.  And pretty much straight after the dinner, all the guests left and it was all over.
The Mariachis were awesome.  They are a group of live singers who get paid per song to come and perform for people.  I think traditionally a man would pay mariachis to serenade his wife/girlfriend/lover/etc. but now they are paid to sing anywhere.  Apparently it has always been a dream of Janneth´s mother to have mariachis sing to her and Janneth had wanted to organise it for the wedding but didn´t know a reputable band (plus they are quite expensive).  Anyway, in the end Lucila´s matron of honour, Irene, organised the mariachis and they were amazing.  They all turn up in formal mexican outfits with huge sombreros and guitars.  The group that performed at the wedding had two singers, male and female, and four or five people in total (not sure how many exactly).  Lucila was rapt which was great and the fiesta was wonderful.
Unfortunately for me, after lunch around midday I started getting stomach cramps.  I thought it was just stress but by the time the wedding was over I was in a lot of pain, and Janneth was asking me whether I wanted to go to the hospital.  They rushed me home, propped me up in bed, fed me some herbal remedies and sat by my bedside looking after me.  It was very nice.  In the end I fished out my drugs from New Zealand and took some buscopan.  I think it made me nauseous because I felt really ill all night, although it did reduce the stomach cramps to manageable.  We were discussing what could have ben the culprit and eventually settled on the re-heated lasagna the night before!
The horrible thing was we had already paid to go to Zipaquira very early the next day by train and when we were woken up by Willy at about 6.30am Sunday morning I ached all over, had absolutely NO energy and could barely get out of bed.  I dragged myself through the day which was the train trip to Zipaquira and included a visit to the famous salt cathedral which is an old salt mine (four or five hundred years old I think) which is now a tourist attraction and huge cathedral.  They actually hold sermons and masses in there - there was one on while we went throgh.  In spite of the fact that I felt really unwell the whole day (and had to take more buscopan) and we couldn´t understand what the guide was saying (we´re used to it now!) it was quite an amazing experience and a definite must in Colombia.  It is labyrinthine and dark but the salt caverns are immense and the carvings breathtaking.  The whole day, including train trip, bus transfers, entrance to the cathedral, return train trip and lunch, cost about 52000 pesos - $35 NZD.
We were exhausted when we got home and I slept in the next morning until 9.30.  I´m much better today - still had to take some buscopan but the cramps are much reduced and should be gone tomorrow.
It sounds like we´re going to Girardot (about four hours travel away) for three days, possibly tomorrow morning.  The idea is to go somewhere hot where it is not raining and sit by a pool and relax.  
The rain has started here (This is the beginning of the rainy season).  It has rained Sunday and Monday but the great thing is it´s not cold!
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
photo by: siri