Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wedding Bells

This post is brought to you courtesy of "GOAL!" cafe down the street from me. Thank god for their free wireless, because this marks day 3 or 4 that we have had no internet at home. We have started the process of hassling the bawwabs at home, which my friend Mina says may work out in the end providing we continue to get on their case for a few more days. Insha'allah.

My Nile Group review I have decided will just be the official one I give to Gilded Serpent! No need to write two different versions of the same thing it seems like, so I will post a link when it's up...I'm still writing it of course.

What have I been up to since the last update...

The "regular" exploits
Hanging out in the cafe is a norm for us these days. Usually I can be seen at this cafe about once (or twice!) a day or every other day by now, sipping my Lipton tea with a ton of sugar and enjoying the air conditioning. It's a nice little place, with shisha pipes and cute waiters all around who now greet us with smiles and handslaps. It's about half-and-half English and Arabic spoken here as we are near to the Zamalek AUC dorms and many foreign students come here to hang out. Directly behind me right now there are two Egyptian guys speaking heavily accented English with a girl who sounds Australian for example, and there's some platinum blond hair glinting off to the left. Arabic music videos, much to my enjoyment, are played constantly on the big TV when there isn't a soccer game on! I was amused to just hear a pop version of one of my favorite Fayrouz songs, "Zourouni."

When we're joined by my various Egyptian friends (mostly students and their buddies) we usually engage in some backgammon, which results in hilarious bets as they love to up the risk factor a bit, especially since I'm new to the game! My friend Islam just lost the other night to my flatmate Kara, so he has to take us on a dinner cruise tonight with a GOOD belly dancer. We're quite excited--when he lost the whole cafe was staring at us for screaming and carrying on!

On the fly a couple nights ago at the cafe we decided to hop in the car and speed over to the Corniche--the street that fronts The Nile on the downtown side--to catch a felucca and sail the river at 1am! Pictures are forthcoming, but let me tell you that it involved some clambering over cobblestones and then outright rocks by the waters edge in 4" heels on my part! I could only have done with with the gracious help of Islam's friend accompanying us who ensured my impractical footwear didn't lead to my doom. That's what you get when you do things on a whim!

Completely failed regarding going there this week because my friend called me at 8:30 AM (beyond early for Egyptians) and asked if I still wanted to come as he was going to leave 6 October shortly. Needless to say I barely answered the phone with a modicum of grace, having been out until 3am (typical for Egyptians) the night before, and therefore attempted to politely decline as opposed to demanding if he was completely insane.

Will retry an AUC visit on Monday, stay tuned.

Abdu, our gracious friend who picked Kara and I up from the airport two weeks ago (!) now had extended an invite to us for a friend's wedding last week, but I had no idea what a grand affair it would be! We drove out to Heliopolis (near the airport) last night in absolutely crushing rush hour traffic, which was not so fun, as was waiting around for a couple hours because Abdu sometimes forgets that 8:30 in Egyptian time is bound to be more like 10:30, but once things got going it was a total blast!

The zeffa is a traditional part of the wedding party, where drummers and dancers usually put on a special show for guests and to escort the couple into the reception hall. You can see some pictures of zeffa performers here, courtesy of Amina Goodyear and the Aswan dancers. This zeffa was lovely and incorportaed a tannoura, as well as drummers, and saiidi dancers. Once we were IN the hall, a popular singer ("from TV!" as Abdu said) Amina took the stage with a horde of about 20 male backup/go-go dancers to lead us all in some loud, crazy music, dancing, and general revelry. As foreigners we were the center of attention, and Amina pulled Kara up in front of everyone, having her give a mini-interview over the mic! Then we both were pushed into the center of the group to make fools of ourselves with saiidi stick and videos of which I'm sure will be circulating around soon enough! "Silly foreign girls being idiots with sticks," or something like that. We had a complete blast, dancing and carrying on until the huge buffet!

What we were most struck and touched by was how hospitable and welcoming everyone at the wedding was, even in the face of our obvious stand-outishness. On the contrary, because we stood out as foreigners (and because we hadn't brought any fancy clothes to wear) we were even more welcomed and encouraged to participate. The bride was so friendly to us, even having us stand in the big group photos, that how could we not enjoy ourselves? We had a fun evening, and returned home in a great appreciation both for Abdu inviting us and for being treated so well.

Well, if you're still following so far, it is time for me to return to my flat and prepare for the dinner cruise! I'm sure I will have something to say about it, but it will probably have to wait a few days if my internet at the flat still isn't up.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, great blog post :)
    Are you living in Zamalek? I'm pretty sure that's where I'm going to be living this fall. I talked with someone from my program and it sounds like all of our classes are downtown and not at the new campus! Strange!

    Glad things seem to be going so well! What an exciting time! :)