How about a virtual love story?
Sometime late this month, if all goes according to plan, Rita Sri Mutiara Dewi expects to board a plane in her native Indonesia or perhaps Malaysia - where she works as a teacher - for a trip to the US and an appointment with a physical therapist at a California hospital. But not because she intends to seek treatment for an injury. Instead it will be for her first face-to-face meeting with her new husband. Huh? Yes, it's true. She and countryman Wiriadi Sutrisno were married last week even though they live thousands of miles apart and he couldn't arrange for time off to return home for the ceremony. So it was conducted using speaker phones and Internet web cams and was witnessed by her relatives and a Muslim cleric , who pronounced it legal. It seemed a natural outcome of their courtship, which began in an Internet chat room and flowered via exchanges of photographs and almost daily e-mail messages or - at other times - phone calls. In November, Wiriadi proposed, via the Internet, naturally, and she said "yes." If you're wondering, the 25-minute ceremony, which was arranged by PT Telekom, Indonesia's state-owned communications giant, cost $21.30. The marriage is the second for both and, said the bride, "We are happy."