Monday, January 08, 2007

My Group arrived!

What a photo eh? headscarves, bellydance costumes and al Azhar mosque... all in one!

I'm just in from a very different but also wonderful night. My group from Scotland arrived last night- 10 girls…all interested in Bellydance (mainly dance students of mine from around Edinburgh) and out for a week of seeing the sights, and dancing and shopping madness. And what a lively fun bunch they are. Even though they didn't get through passport control, and baggage reclaim and all the hotel checking in business etc until 4am- they all still wanted to go out for a coffee!!!! Thankfully, they are staying in the El Hussain- then that was possible- and we popped down to El Fishawy for a sheesha, cuppa, and chat until 5am!!!

Never one to let anyone rest- breakfast at 9.30- with all the exchanging money etc etc…. then taxi's off up to the citadel.
( photo- from right to left- since we are doing it the arabic way... Sarah, Lorna, Michelle, Norma, Annie, Louise, Catherine, Margaret, Rosita, Sara, Olivia and Natalie)

It was a clear day so there was a lovely view of the pyramids. Then- walking round to the coffee shop for lunch- it started to rain…(Yes- rain!!!!!!!! Not much- just spotting really- but still- their first day in cairo and it rains!!!!) so we postponed lunch til after 2 more mosques- where we had a really good guide who had a lovely singing voice too!! By the time we'd had a rest and tasted the foul (pronounced 'fool' and far tastier than they sound!) and taamia sandwiches… the sun was low and bright in the sky and we had a wonderful wander down through Islamic Cairo- past the blue mosque and started on some shopping!!! The green robes in the citadel- for those 'naughty' 'indecent' women!!!

Found a lovely wee shop where you give your name- this guy, Ashraf writes it in Arabic then designs a fantastic piece of artwork out of it- a bird and fish… whatever. Very talented. We walked back to the khan after buying some scarves…. Seeing how the fez is made and being amazed at everything- even though almost al the shops were shut because it was Coptic Christmas day!!!!

The evenings entertainment as the Aladin restaurant in the Cairo Sheraton hotel…. To see an Egyptian dancer, I believe her name is Suzie. She had a very engaging smile, beautiful tight shimmys, and was very eager to please us (esp. Catherine!!) and the other table who were in (a large Christian family with lots of children who were up dancing most of the time- in to celebrate Christmas day!). She wasn't a bad dancer at all- needed (I felt) more strength in her balance, and arms ( but the balance may have been efected by the high heels she was dancing in!!!!). With training- she could be very entertaining. As she was; a pleasent evening's accompianment to a lovely mezze! Not a striking or powerful dancer- but seemed like she was a fun and nice person. It must be really hard to dance in that space... without PA for the band (who were very good when they wanted to be... but occasionally lacked enthusiasm when playing for her which was a great shame fo her) and for such a small audience.

We all had a dance… it felt so good to be dancing to live music again- it's been a wee while and I forgot what a buzz I got from it- talk about adrenaline rush- wonderful. Really glad they are here…. A teacher can never have a better audience than their own students. 'The encouragement' they gave me when I danced, which was hugely appreciated I have to say, was more like Hysteria!!! Thank god it was while the dancer was doing her costume change!
So good to share an evening with these girls and looking forward to the party we have planned for tomorrow night!

And that............... plus whatever adventures they had on the way home in taxi's which I'll hear about tomorrow no doubt- was their first day in Cairo. After only 4 hours sleep the night before, all that activity and senses overload- Walking zombies doesn’t quite cover it- more like stumbling!!!

Photos by Norma!

Merry Coptic Christmas to everyone!

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