Sunday, November 23, 2008

Egypt's Elastic time

'How do you find living here in Cairo?' Its the question I get asked all the time....

Well…. My answer is always- 'It's never boring!'

It's true. You can have days which nothing seems to happen in, but actually these are just rest periods between the manic, impulsive throbbing of the other days!

Life doesn't have a daily structure, there is no 9-5, no Monday-Friday (or even Sunday-Thursday), well, not in my life anyway…. !

For example, yesterday I woke up in time to teach a private class, 11am.

Then we went to the Nile Group festival, my student and I, so she could buy herself a costume from all the stalls they have there. Since she is only beginning to dance she didn't want to spend a lot and it took hours to sift through all the options ( literally…. ) but she managed to buy a lovely little bra belt, with skirt set for only 400le ( around 40)- Thanks to Eshta discounts!!.

However the day had disappeared doing that, and I had to rush home to get ready for work.
I arrived at 7.15pm… since I was told the guests were arriving at 7.30pm… but they played with the evening program ( it was a private party on the pontoon who were mostly Egyptians and Europeans celebrating that days motor sports competitions and doing their awards ceremony) so I was sat in the ladies toilets ( oh the glamour of it all) until 10pm before going onstage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 hours in a loo. Thank god for my friend Emily who took 2 hours out of her Saturday night to sit with me… actually we had quite a laugh, with my dresser giving us her imitations of all the famous dancers styles.. she really is a talented and funny girl!!!

Then the performance…. Lots of fantastic feedback about how they had ever before seen a foreigner dance better than Egyptian etc etc ( one even so brazen to suggest that I could teach Fifi Abdou a few moves- I WISH ! I quickly put that woman right!) … however, it was all very nice to hear… all rush rush rush (after 3 hours waiting) on stage NOW.........

Even my usual structure of work was altered because they decided just as I was starting my tabla solo (The last dance of my show) - that they wanted me to do extra…. So I did the longest tabla solo EVER… actually- it was a fun, interesting challenge to come up with new stuff!!!- and THEN they decided I should have my photo taken with all the finalists of the event, so another song and off I go….!!!

Took a cab 11pm to Sheraton where I sat with 2 lovely dancers from London (who are planning to have me to London in March to teach workshops and perform- watch this space for info!). We had a fantastic time drinking tea, eating chocolate cake and discussing life, men, universe… and of course all things bellydance ( including discussing the idea of opening a nursing home for bellydancers- so that even when we are old and grey we can sit together covered in sequins and listen to the piped arabic music in the toliets!! Shabbi music would have to be banned though- too dangerous to hip joints!!- oh the lengths to which you can take that idea!!!) We had enough to keep us glued there chatting and laughing until 4am!!!!!!!!!!

Bed at the same time as the morning call to prayer. Again.

Very glad I don't have to be up in the mornings to get a child off to school or anything like that though. I don’t think I could exist to a strict 9-5 timetable now, even if my life depended on it!!!!

The time here just seems to stretch and contract depending on what you have to do in it.

Egypt's Elastic time. I love it.

No comments: