Sunday, July 10, 2011


Don’t you already find that the nights you least expect to be good turn out to be the best?!!!

Last Thursday night I was NOT in the mood to party at all. I went out only because I had promised my friend Linda I would attend her open mic night, up on the roof, at Darb17/18. I take the metro to get there since it’s in fustat, very close to the metro stop mari girgis. Ellie and I were hesitant about taking the metro, since at night there are usually just too many men around for comfort, even if you ride the woman’s only carriage, which I always do, you still have to get there in the first place! Even if they don’t ‘do’ anything- they slow down so they can walk next to you, or behind you... it is not a nice feeling! Last Thursday night we were lucky. There was a major football match on with Ahly playing (one of the major Cairo teams) ... so many of the usually annoying boys, were plonked in front of a TV somewhere and not out to intimidate us girls! There is always the shove to get on the metro when it is so busy... people don’t wait for others to get out before they push their way in... It’s the worst thing about the metro. I have heard a story of a guy being separated from his shoe trying to get off at his stop! There is no concession made for a woman with a baby in her arms either. She is shoved along like everyone else.  One woman in our carriage got in... But it was such a stressful event that she had obvious tears in her eyes but the time she came to a standstill! It’s never boring. Even going to an event is always eventful!

So by the time we got to Darb unfortunately we had missed most of the 1st set. The second set was shorter than usual- but had some impressive acts. Leena from India performed a dance that was like a fusion of belly dance, Indian dance and contempary. That is the first dance act I have seen at one of these events.  There was a poet who had written traditional style poetry in fusha inspired by modern films. I couldn’t understand a word- but his voice and delivery was beautiful. There were two guys there called ‘extra cheese’ who did some rapping... and it was incredibly entertaining.... a mix of English and Arabic and very bouncy. I have to say though I wasn’t the only one in the audience who held their breath the 2 times one of ‘the cheeses’ jumped up onto the wall behind the stage (it is held on the roof of Darb after all!!!) The good news for the night was hearing that the open mic events have been deemed so successful that they will now be held every 2 weeks rather than once a month!! Well Done Linda!

Then I decided that part of the reason I had been in a low mood earlier, was because with less work these days than normal, my body was missing movement. If I don’t dance every 2nd or 3rd day at least then I get depressed. Literally... I am addicted to the endorphins that dance releases in my body! I should lock myself into my dance studio and just dance- but for some reason i can never seem to do that.... So off to Salsa at Bian Cafe, Mohandiseen it was. I loved it! They played one rock and roll track, which I sat out, but every other song of the night saw me being spin around the dance floor like a woman processed! I cannot explain the high dancing gives me! But Bian Cafe does not party all night long... and I was not prepared to leave that high too early... so Ellie and I went on with a group from salsa to the Armada nightclub... which parties till the break of dawn- literally. They play a mix of music with some R&B, which I love, and Egyptian pop and shabbi tracks to full on house music (which I hate- but last night with all those endorphins kicking about inside me found me bouncing about the dance floor with the rest of them!!!) It was the best of nights!

 The downside of the night was on leaving the club, discovering that someone had slashed the tyres on the car we had arrived in. His wasn’t the only car, 4 others had suffered the same fate. The theory is that the car valets, who charge money to look after your car while you are in the club, took offence to us just parking in the street and decided to take matters into their own hands. Horrific! Complaints to management were made. Inshallah that won’t happen again!

At the end of the night, i.e. dawn!!!, some of the group were still in party mood and suggesting sharia haram for the cabaret clubs there...... one of our group excused himself with the most entertaining and original reasons I have ever heard; “ Sorry- but I have a revolution to make in the morning! “

On Friday masses have gathered in Tahrir to demand that the original revolutions demands from January are actually met. Mubarak may have been brought down, but many feel it is only the figurehead that has changed and the way the country is being led is as far away from democracy as you can get. I wish them well and pray for a peaceful resolution, now they are on day 3 of their sit-in which has been peaceful thankfully. There is a lot of debate about whether this is the 'right' way forward for Egypt or not. Some people worry that having all these protests will scare away the tourists- who are much needed for Egypts economy. I feel that it is such a joy that Egyptians can at long last- for the first time in their lives and those of their parents, actually hold public political gatherings and voice their ideas, that as long as the protests remain peaceful, they actually cement the progress the country has already made since January. Education though is the real key now and needs to be pushed more. Teach people how to vote, how to campaign, how to chose what thhey want from a government. They have never had options before. Good luck to them all (to us all !!)


Nick said...

Endorphins to politics. Brilliant writing Lorna. You should take over the Cairo letter in New Internationalist!!

Nick ox

Nick said...

Endorphins to politics. Brilliant writing Lorna. You should take over the Cairo letter in New Internationalist!!

Bassem said...

Egyptian ex-pat here who left to the States a decade ago. Really sorry to hear about the harassment issue, pretty sure it was not that bad when I left. The harassers were always there but the passive response is new. Growing up, the whole neighborhood would jump in to chase a pick-pocket or defend a distressed woman.
Sad to admit this isn't going to go away easily, not with a police dedicated to political issues, and soceity norms of being very strict and cautious raising girls while letting boys do whatever they please.
Best advice is to keep adding that thick skin, or as one sitcom poking fun, don't wear red on an Ahly day game, or