There hasn't been too much to report lately, besides the usual travel money woes ("Where did it all go?!") and school, school, and more school. We're paying for our two week vacation by a combination of using our previously school-free Tuesdays, and some Saturdays depending on how sadistic the professor is. I finally have wrangled a schedule with sleeping in a bit on Tuesdays, not going every other Tuesday, and with the occasional Saturday lecture, which seems much more doable then the schedule my professors originally wanted to inflict on us. Being in Egypt, we have all become masters of negotiation apparently.
By the by, I have several items for sale up on Bhuz right now, so go check it out! Up for sale are a lovely Khaleegy thobe (being modeled by my lovely room mate on the left here) and several beautiful skirts!
My Ramadan Article is now out in Gilded Serpent for everybody to check out. I had a lovely time here during Ramadan and I hope you all take the time to check out the article, as it shows a very special slice of Cairo life.
Last night I got to go see Randa Kamel on the very famous Nile Maxim! This boat is so ridiculously known for famous people dancing there that I recognized the decor instantly from all the pictures of Cairo big-deal dancers placing them on that stage.
I was sitting at Liza Laziza's table with a couple her friends and Hallah Moustafa, so of course we got a lovely warm welcome from all the staff that know her, the waves and smiles from the band, and just the extra air of being VIPs. I must admit, I did enjoy basking in the reflected pretended "important person" feeling a lot, after having been a nobody since moving here.
The show included the requisite lounge-singer kind of act with two girls singing and dancing around casually a little, a tannoura dancer (who was actually quite excellent), and then Randa herself! She charged out in a boob-hoisting costume with a silver-holographic bra and belt and a yellow satin skirt, slit generously to show the stark line of nude shorts beneath. Hallah and Liza exchanged comments about the costume, which personally I wasn't liking that much. The skirt was riding up slightly above her belt, the line of the shorts was just obnoxious, and the bra was just way to push-up-togethery--BUT, as Hallah said, "Who cares? She could wear the [darn] table cloth and we'd still all love it!"
Randa is clearly a very talented dancer, with a great stage personality. Like all good Egyptian dancers, she has an easy happiness and fun to her dancing that is so accessible and joyful. Her moves are great, and executed so skillfully that I couldn't take my eyes off to take a bite of food! That being said, she is in her "Dina phase," right now which is a bit frustrating as I wanted to see her on her terms. Her moves were very strong and with lots of clean hip locking that I know may be more of a Dina thing. However, Dina has a lovely fluid sensuousness to her that I found slightly lacking in Randa who was hitting everything very solid and cleanly. It was perfect for the folkloric part though, which came across quite well.
She did two costume changes and I much preferred her folkloric ensemble and the bedlah for her last set compared to the first one. The last costume was quite nice in a lovely turquoise color with a sheer skirt over shorts, and much more tasteful than the first.
Oh yes and the band was excellent of course, I was so happy to change from the lounge-singer keyboard and conga drums band to the real Egyptian band! I remember why I came to Cairo now, right...
All in all it was a great show! I love seeing the wonderful dancers here, because it is just so inspiring and uplifting, like a breath of fresh air after sitting through hafla after hafla of mediocre dancers dotted with semi-talented ones that you're too worn out by then to appreciate or enjoy.
Well, I found out my rent is due because of some mix up as to whether the last month of my three months that I gave the landlady was a deposit or a month of rent. Turns out it was supposed to be a deposit, no matter what was translated to me or discussed two months ago. So I owe rent now, and the flat owner is pressuring me to get it in cash as soon as possible which means I am again going through the frantically withdrawing cash as fast and furious as I can and running around to different ATMs, starting again today. I have to front 3 months of my own rent, and Dec-Jan for the other two rooms since I haven't gotten room mates or deposits for those rooms for next semester yet. Hooray. Wish me luck.