Just two months before our wedding, I won the grand prize at an event held by a well-known hotel chain. The prize was two return air tickets, ferry tickets from Hong Kong (since there are no direct flights to Macau), and a 2N/3D stay in a suite at a 5-star hotel in Macau.
Abhinav and I met through a common friend barely two and a half months before, when we instantly fell head over heels in love. Our decision to tie the knot so soon came as a huge shock to our families and friends, since that’s not who we are. We’re known as the ‘thinkers’ and ‘planners’ in our circles individually; we don’t make ‘hasty’ choices, especially in matters of the heart. But perhaps that’s what brought us together: we’re both extremely similar.
When you’re too similar to your partner, there can be as many downs as ups. You have the same kind of interests and likes but you’re also irked by similar things. Stuff that annoys you at a particular moment infuriates your partner too. And, oh, you have similar ego issues too!
We decided to take the trip as our second honeymoon. The first one in Maldives was all about long walks on the beach, conversations, delicious food, cycling; it had everything we both enjoy thoroughly and nothing that would cause conflict!
The Macau-Hong Kong trip was just the antithesis.
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The problems began when we couldn’t take leave and extend the holiday. We had to settle for a three-day trip during the January 26 weekend. Plus, our hectic schedules barred us from doing the preliminary research we both like to do before our trips. All this meant we were in for a frenzied holiday – not something either of us would usually choose – but, hey, how bad could it be?
Reality hit as soon as we landed at Hong Kong airport, where we realised the ferry ticket required us to walk a considerable distance out of the airport. Gathering this information was itself quite a task, since language was a problem.
Starting early in the morning and changing flights from Bangalore, we were already a little exhausted. Add to it, the stress of running helter-skelter in an unknown country to catch the ferry on time.
Our energies were restored upon arrival at the hotel, even as we dreamed of quickly getting into the room to finally relax. This enthusiasm, however, was fleeting, what with huge queues at the check-in area.
Needless to say, we both were equally irritable and impatient by then. And this was just the beginning.
The next two days were full of moments that could break us. Our city exploration was a long and strenuous walk. Locals would direct us saying “It’s a short distance,” but it would always end up being too short and expensive for cabs and too long to walk.
The highlight of travelling, for him as well as me, has always been food. Putting all the tiredness and temper aside, we stepped out in search of local delicacies to put us in a good mood. This trip had a recipe for disaster on this front too! The food we tasted at the famous Senado Square was too raw, smelly and way too chewy for our liking.
Everything that could go wrong did. Given our temperaments, we could have spent the holiday sitting in our suite not talking to each other! But instead we chose to step out of our comfort zones, not worried about seeing the worst of each other.
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This trip (like marriage) required teamwork, a bit of compromise, constant communication and synergy. For instance, I gave up on my desire to see Coloane, because we had no time left after visiting Taipa, which was Abhinav’s first choice. Similarly, he agreed to spend the 4-5 hours we had in Hong Kong shopping instead of exploring something he wanted to.
Of course, there were ‘grand’ moments too. Our suite was gorgeous. Though we were exhausted most of the time, we have fine memories of waking up in the middle of night and having long conversations. And guess what, we also won a good amount at the casino in the hotel! We could have easily missed these good moments had we not survived the bad ones well.
We like to think that the trip was a mirror of our marriage. It taught us a lot about strengths and weaknesses of not just each other but our relationship as well. Our pictures from the trip are not the best, but the memories in our minds and hearts are rather beautiful.