Friday, April 08, 2005

On The Road With Baby

On The Road With Baby

This weekend, the Locks are in Kansas City to attend a Sikh (India) wedding of a friend.

0930. We just had an experience of taking our two month old daughter through airport security. I had my two bags, one for my clothes the other the laptop, the one I'm writing this entry on. Mrs. Lock carried her purse, diaper bag and milk bottle bag. She had to check her clothes bag since you can only have two carry ons.

Getting our boarding pass, the attendant pointed out we were in separate seats, separate rows. Immediately she found a couple of seats together for us. We got our boarding pass, stopped for a bite to eat at the local Cinnabon then we were off to make our way through airport security. What a juggling act that turned out to be. We loaded everything we were carrying onto the conveyer belt (except the baby). Right off, we were asked to remove our shoes. I kicked mine off, took the baby from Mrs. Lock so she could get hers off. A security guard came over and picked our shoes up off the floor and loaded them onto the belt for us. It's probably a good thing he was wearing gloves for that.

Since we couldn't really take a car seat on the plane, we had Baby in a sash-looking thing. Unfortunately, it had a metal buckle so we were asked to remove the sleeping child from the sling before going through. This is where we took turns passing the kid off as we got our stuff loaded onto the X-ray belt. My laptop was about to go through when the guard stopped it and asked if it was a laptop. I confirmed it was so I was asked to remove the laptop from the case. They sent the case through putting the laptop next to the case as it slid through. I handed baby back to the Mrs. to do this. I took baby back while Mrs. Lock got her stuff loaded, hanging on to her cup of coffee. I walked through the metal detector shoeless and carrying our two month old. Cleared. Now as the belt spit out our items, we began the process of loading everything back up. We put our shoes on in turns while one held the baby, we strapped the bags to our shoulder, I replaced the laptop back into its bag, grabbed the coffee, the diaper bag. We installed the baby back into the sling and we were on our way to our gate which was at the far end of wing.

That was an hour ago. We sit here waiting on our flight which just pulled up and is in the process of unloading its current passengers. Time to save, shutdown and get on board soon, right after we feed and change baby.

1130. We're in downtown Kansas City and I write this on the 25th floor of our hotel which thankfully has broadband access. The pre-dinner is tonight, called Bharaat, and we're getting ready to go. Nice for us, the dinner is the lower lobby of our hotel, so we just ride an elevator straight there.

1400. We went looking for lunch. We were wanting to try a BBQ place here in KC, but didn't do much homework before left the hotel. We ended up at a Quiznos and I got the closest sandwich I could find to reflect KC's cuisine - Mesquite Chicken. Baby wasn't happy, hungry I think, so we scarfed down lunch and headed back to the hotel to take care of her.

We lounged around watching TV, Maury and Seinfeld, waiting for dinner. We gave Baby a bath in the hotel sink, getting her dressed right now.

1840. We decided to head downstairs to join the dinner which is scheduled to start in 20 minutes. We're going to try and nab a table towards the back in case we have to duck out with Baby. We get down to the lower lobby of the hotel, and a crowd is starting to amass. We meet some very nice Indian people while we wait for for the groom. We get to know one couple as we chat. It's an hour later, and the wedding party hasn't shown up yet. The crowd is pretty big and we stand around in the lobby waiting for something to start. At about 8p, the groom has pulled up to the front of the hotel in his limo. He is not to come out until the bride's family go out and fetch him. In the meantime, the Indian couple we got to know, the man pulls me out of the crowd and asks me if I talk to the groom, the person who sent me the invitation. I said sure and we went out to the limo where I got to see the groom. He was in full regalia. Black suit, red turban with a golden tiara for lack of a better word, sitting on top. The groom's uncle explained to me this was a crown, but I feel he was translating for me since he couldn't properly describe this piece in English either. The groom had a very ornate necklace around his neck with a lot of American money sticking out of it. He explained the custom is usually done with Indian money so it was funny to see dead U.S. presidents hanging off an Indian tuxedo.
The groom of the Sikh pre-wedding reception holds Baby Lock.
The groom and I chatted for a while and soon the bridal party, mother and members of the family came out to fetch the groom. The groom got out of the car, stood up and hugged the members of the bride's family. Then all went into the hotel lobby where a huge party, a crowd of many Indian men and women, close to 100, were already in the middle of a fiesta. A man carrying what looked like a giant bongo drum was pounding away at it. There were cheers, dancing and lots of hugging. The crowd was here to cheer on the groom and he received them. After a few minutes of dancing in the lobby, the groom proceeded to head towards the reception, one level down. Where he walked, the crowd followed. The crowd snaked around the stairs to the lower level with the groom leading the way. At the bottom of the stairs, the groom stopped. The whole party stopped behind him, all standing on the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, some prayers took place. Garments of clothes were also exchanged between the family members of the groom and bride. The last exchange was between the bride and groom. Everyone cheered and it was time to eat.

And did we eat. Everything was traditional Indian cuisine which was delicious. Mrs. Lock and I loaded up on everything. I wish I could name all the dishes but it looked like we had chicken and lamb, a type of pancake. We filled up. The dance floor was open and with the Indian music blaring, both recorded and live, many were dancing. Specific groups were called up - members of the bride's party, groom's party, families of each, friends of the bride and friends of the groom. Mrs. Lock and I took part in the dance for friends of the groom. A member of the groom's family offered to hold Baby as we danced a ritual dance with the groom and all of his friends. There was no room on the dance floor, we were all packed in, major fire hazard, hands in the air dancing to the eastern music. The groom started a train and 30 or 40 people writhed around the room following the groom. The line was so long, people were still lining up to the train when the head (engine if you will) was already back on the dance floor. More dancing, then Mrs. Lock and I headed back to our table to fetch our baby and take a break. That moment, I think, was the first time Baby has been in someone else's care who weren't her parents.

So Mrs. Lock and I filled up on food and alcohol. She had the Merlot, I was having a whiskey sour. Then they broke out the main course. Main course? We filled up on appetizers? I had a couple of bites of saag, just nibbles. I really couldn't eat anything else.

We met a lot of nice people at the reception, but Baby was the center of attention. At one point, a member of one of the families involved in the wedding, took Baby from my arms and told me to go join the dance. I told her I really wasn't interested in dancing anymore, that I was looking for the groom, but she turned and started walking away from me. Her husband who was standing next to me, called out to her to return the baby, which she did with a smile on her face and many comments about how she was beautiful.

We stayed at the dinner till about 11:30 and Baby started getting cranky. I was impressed with her demeanor after sitting through loud music, people grabbing her for five hours. She did great. So we returned to our room, got Baby calmed down, fed her. We got ready for bed and turned in at midnight to get our rest for the real events tomorrow when we travel to the Sikh temple to see the wedding. Then more parties.