Monday, July 6, 2009
The last week has just been a whirlwind of activity so I apologize for the lack of updates! Meeting new people, going new places, seeing new sights has me completely exhausted by the time I sit down to write at night. So much has been going on! Tannoura shows, Nile cruises, countless cafes, impromptu walking tours...I'll just post a few highlights for now and we'll fill in the gaps later. More photos will be coming too!
Ahlan w Sahlan
I have to apologize again to the dancers that are reading my blog on two counts: I haven't posted to Gilded Serpent about Nile Group yet, and I only went to Ahlan w Sahlan for one show. Bad belly dancer!
However, I got beyond lucky with the show I went to, because no less a person showed up wanting to perform than DINA!!! My favorite non-retired dancer! I couldn't believe my luck when I heard she had arrived with her (more than 20 piece) band because I had expected to come watch the teachers and see some good dancing, but not Dina!
Of course there was no videotaping or cameras allowed, so sadly I got no documentation of the show, but trust me, Dina knocked my socks off completely. I've seen youtube videos of her, sure, and pictures, but this was completely amazing. She was just so glowing and beautiful! Her smile illuminated the room and her attitude was completely spot on, not superior or haughty or even too porny (yes, even though it was Dina!) but just welcoming and gracious. Dina also got on the mic to say welcome to everyone and how happy she was to be here even though she had just returned from traveling because she, "loves belly dance!!"
Not only that, but when the band started up with the beginning of the mawwal to "Taht Isshebak" I was screaming because I couldn't believe my luck! This is one song Dina has made famous and happens to be on of my own favorite Shaabi songs to dance to, which I did at my going-away party in San Francisco! That particular section completely brought down the house, but I also enjoyed her performance later in the show to one of Amina Goodyear's favorites "Woah Woah Woah" as we call it that's about fruit--in a rather suggestive way!
I returned to Zamalek completely star struck and feeling I could die happy...seeing Dina live is one major life goal accomplished!
After now being here in Cairo three weeks Kara and I were ready for a bit of a break from the pollution and noise of the city. Don't get me wrong--now that I've adjusted mentally I'm loving it here--but we needed some peace and quiet. So our friends invited us to join them for the weekend at Ras Sudr (literally "Head Breast") on the Red Sea!
We spent our time eating, dancing around in the flat like idiots, cracking jokes, playing cards, swimming, and just lying on the beach. It was so beautiful there, and quiet! The silence and lack of people was shocking after Cairo, and the beach was just perfect. The sand is pale and powdery once you get into the water, and there are copious amounts of umbrellas to shade you from the hot Egyptian sun. The heat is perfectly offset by the slightly cool water, which by the way is completely clear and stays under 4 ft easily half a mile from shore. You can wade and swim forever before you get anywhere remotely deep, which we found quite nice for just messing around and playing volleyball in the water!
We nearly got into a daily routine of waking up around 1pm, eating breakfast (a mishmash of American style junk food and Egyptian foods like Foul), having a bit of a dance party, then spending all afternoon at the beach before coming home to eat BBQ seafood fresh off the boat. We literally bought our dinner one night while swimming next to the fishing boat! Floating suuq!
Egypt vs. Rwanda
Last night, Kara and I went with my friends to see the Egypt vs. Rwanda soccer match in Cairo. My parents seemed surprised when I said, "no no, we're actually going TO the stadium," as usually I've been catching the matches at a local cafe. It's like being at the stadium anyway because everyone cheers and jumps around practically as much!
We managed to cram a record 7 people in my friend's tiny car to do the hour drive (not including the waiting around for various things) to the stadium. I was perched firmly on Kara's lap in the back seat the whole time, which was a bit awkward, but everyone was in high spirits!
Egypt won 3-0 over Rwanda so of course we had to drive through the streets waving our Egyptian flags out the car windows and celebrating! People seemed a bit surprised to see two white chicks cheering and screaming, "Masr!" so we managed to cause one guy to run into the car in front of him for staring. It was just a light tap and everyone just continuted honking and carrying on. We had a great time with our huge group of friends and then went out to a rooftop cafe after for drinks and ice cream!
Tonight Kara and I are departing for the other side of the Red Sea, and a very different style resort town: Hurgada! More to come later!