Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Scary stuff- when everything is out of your control….

Well- a few of you have complained there hasn't been anything on the blog for a while….. mainly because I have been working every night (which is going great- still loving it) In fact one friend (Aline, on holiday here from Scotland ) came to see me last night on the boat and she likened my reaction to working here to being addicted to a drug. It's true – It gives me a high, dancing, like nothing else can! Anyway- I have had lots of mad and fun moments over the last couple of weeks too- which I'll tell you about soon- but I have to write first about the most horrible 14 hours that I just had!

1st- you have to know my flight back to UK was at 8.30am this morning.

2nd- you also need to know that in order to get your ID card which allows you to work as a dancer here you have to hand your passport over to the Mogamma (the government offices) which you can get back anytime you have to travel.

So what happened? Someone messed up. I won't mention any names at all- but I was let down badly- and the person responsible for collecting my passport for me- didn't do it in time. Even though they had known my travel date for, well- for 2 months actually!

So, although they knew this, at 3pm yesterday (when I still could have called BA office to change my flight) they didn't let me know til 10pm. In between shows (my waterproof mascara is tear proof too- but the khol is not!!!)

I ended up sitting up til 5.30am til the taxi came to take me to the airport so I could try and change my flight (to tomorrow since there is only on flight per day) Thankfully the woman there was very nice and agreed to do this when she heard my story, even though my ticket is not supposed to me exchangeable within 24hr of travel (it will cost me 5o pound though) However- tomorrow's flight is fully booked. So tomorrow at 5.30am I will head to the airport again to wait and hope someone just doesn't turn up for the plane! Otherwise I don’t fly til Thursday- which means all the people who have booked to see me perform on Wednesday night at Morocco restaurant will be sorely disappointed (but not as much as me!!!!!!!!!)

I am gutted. Tonight was supposed to be time with Khalid, and all day tomorrow was for time with my sister and her baby son Sam. Now I won't get that quality time I had planned. So please- send out some prayers that I'll be able to get a seat tomorrow so at least I can see my friends who are booked for the wed night!


As if that wasn’t enough…

My Taxi had an accident on the way to the airport this morning. It was bad. He was either on drugs, or psychotic… but it was the most scary experience of my life- I thought I was going to die when he accelerated straight towards a wall (in an empty street!). Thank god for the curb being so high. That stopped the car before we hit the wall and probably saved both our lives….. I have never screamed like that in all my adult life!

The scary thing was actually after that- when he started to accelerate up the slip road onto the bridge…………….. with me shouting at him to stop….. and then I saw his eyes- wide open and manic.

He did stop, and I jumped (shaking and crying into another taxi) and then he tried to charge me for the journey that far! The new taxi drive r set him straight and reminded him of the fine he'd have to pay if got his company or the police involved- which quietened him eventually. I had even booked the yellow taxi because the cars are newer and safer (and cheaper for long distance!) and I tell you- I made sure I called the company to complain about him as soon as I could talk! I will use yellow cabs again- but only once they confirm to me that that lunatic is sacked!

So I am alive and ok (apart from a very stiff back which feels like I have worked out in the gym for many more hours than I should have!) but wow- what a night.

Hope you see you all in Edinburgh soon!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


What wonderful day so far...

this morning I taught a bellydance class in direct exchange for a massage! An American woman Pam, who is already a nice dancer so fun to teach plus she is the best masseuse i have found in Cairo.... very good! Fabulous!

Then I have just taught 2 girls from Qatar... mainly in arabic. They are lovely and will be lovely dancers so looking forward to classes with them every day for the rest of their holiday here.

Just now I am sitting in a cafe typing this and eating my lunch with the sun shining outside.

and tonight- I have 2 shows on the Golden Pharoah.

I am very happy with my life!

Monday, June 11, 2007

a weekend at Mena House Hotel

A group of friends and I decided to spend a night at this beautiful hotel situated just under the pyramids since the cost of the room worked out about the same as 2 days pool use anyway! It was a fun weekend- as the photos will prove......................

John- sipping his 'Early Grey' in front of the Pyramids, by the pool........ how terribly english!

John was voted 'best male model' for the weekend after this fetching pose...... it attempts to depict the stresses and strains of a hard life..........!

Chilling out by the pool- oh and those pyramids again too!!!!! thats pretty much all we did during the day both the friday and saturday!

The evening had a gentle start- Anna louise, me, Paul, John, Suzanne and Waleed in the Indian restaurant at the hotel......

However- The beginning of the end.....................(well.... we had to celebrate John's Uni results after all!!!)

Captions required for this pic of suzanne and the waiter..........

The food- AMAZING. The best Indian meal I have had anywhere (I even still said that on my 5th helping!!!!!!!!!) Only problem was the price- not horrific by UK standards- but worked out more expensive than the rooms!!!

then.......... not surprisingly.....How we all felt by the end of the meal!!!

some worse than others.........................................!

The hotel lobby...............

Then we went to the Nightclub in Mena House to witness the charms of the lovely Bellydancer Nancy. I felt sorry for her since there was only 1 other table in the place with us... but once she worked out that we could appreciate the music and the dance then she put on a really lovely show. Here, she is attemping to get Paul up to join her- however he was stunned into giggles at the thought of it....

She looked like she was having fun ...........

How she could dance in those shoes though I wasn't quite sure.........

The long walk around the grounds at night to try and encourage the meal to settle meant we got a chance to see this fantastic scene- so peaceful............... a fitting end to the night...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My Cairo CV so far........

I suddenly realised that although you, my blog readers, now know about my regular contract at the Nile and Golden Pharoah boats, you may be interested to know some of the other places I have danced in Cairo....... some were a one off occasion, a few were regular gigs!..........

Movenpick (airport) Hotel (regular performances and weddings)
Novotel Hotel (regular performances)
Grand Hyatt Hotel (weddings)
Mena House Hotel (corporate dinner)
Cairo Sheraton Hotel
Sonesta Hotel
JW Marriot Hotel

and others............ (including a wedding in a private villa in the middle of a mango grove, where the dance floor was glass over a swimming pool and they had a fake snow machine on while the couple did their 1st dance!!!)


Feeling the heat today.....
depending on which website I look at its either 37deg or 40deg. I'll vote for 40.

Its interesting how memories lie hidden in your brain til you are prompted by something. Today, walking home from lunch with a friend, I felt the road soft. I looked under my feet and realised the tarmac was melting! It took me straight back to being a child in Inverness and realising the same thing- never noticed it any other time in my life. Amazing.

What was also amazing was the number of shops I had to pop into on the way home- not because I wanted to shop... but for a quick blast of the Air Con before walking the next part of the route!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Gold story

I don't know why I always seem to be wearing the gold saaidi dress (Eman Zaki design) when friends come to see me- I do have other ones!!! Honest!

Me and my folklorique dancers having fun Saaidi style!

Thats my friend Ruth's husband Mohammed at my feet there........ he's quite a dancer! Oh and the youngest fan of the evening gazing intently on!

And next, my friend Paul up having a go.................. not sure how well he is doing though, from the look on my face!!!!!

exactly what I am doing in this next photo I am not too sure!!!!!

oh of course- you know- that tongue sticking out jumpy move- how could I forget that one!

of course- every good bellydance performance has a yoga break in the middle of it.............. STRETCH UP with the right..................

........................... and STRETCH with the left...............

Its a family show!!!.....................

'THE END'- As close as I get to a 'Highland dance' pose!!!

and to finish..................... of course.................... I love you all............................ blowing kisses!

Now I want no more complaints about there not being enough photos of me dancing on this blog!!!!!!!!!!! (and yes- video will happen sooner or later............. can't give you too much all at once can I?!!!)

Lorna in Pink on the Pharoah

This 1st pic is there, not to show me posing for photographs but to give to an idea of the size of the dance floor I have to try and stay on! I invariably slip of the edge at some point during the night....... Actually- its looks fairly big there............. its not!!!

I love getting the audience up to dance- especially when they CAN dance! I look almost shy and cute in this photo- I've included it because I know that those of you who know me wouldn't believe it without photographic evidence!

Not everyone who gets up to dance however, can keep up- some end up on their knees!!!!

And then there are others who you have to tell (in a nice way!) just to stay in their seats..................................!

Rhanda at the Marriot - again

Just can't get enough of this girl- I learn so much just from watching her dance............. When she comes onto stage at first with the wings- she treats them the same way egyptians use veils- they are there for helping you create an interest- as soon as you have everyones attention you fling them to one side!!
That is just such an amzing stomach huh............ wow.
The new flowers up top look.........

Trousers meet disco lighting- love it! The little bolero jacket was discarded as soon as the saaidi number was completed......

Rota for June on the Nile Pharon (Nile/ Golden Pharaoh, Cairo, Egypt!!!)

Well- I asked for the new rota for the next 2 weeks… and was told there wasn't one- I am working every night …………………. Mostly on the Golden pharaoh (but I guess they might put me on the Nile Pharaoh is the whim takes them).

So- anyone reading this hoping to come to see me dance in Cairo on the boat; Assume I am dancing, but Double check when you book!!!!! The Pharaohs website to get more info is in my links.

Talking links- Morocco Restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland now has a blog (see links) so you can see who is dancing which night (rota updated regularly), special offers, classes info and menu details (once updated )etc etc…… feel free to have a look and leave comments!

Extra drums....

I discovered the reason why I have had an extra tabla player for the last 2 days performing…….. my drummer is off abroad to a festival for a few days, so my replacement has been sitting in. Learning by doing and watching. I have to say, I don't think my drummer (as wonderful as he is) has ever been so good! I guess if I was teaching, or performing, in front of someone who was going to cover my job for a while, I would make sure I was the best I could be too. Anyway- I feel I am the winner out of this one, since the new guy seems really good too and the drum solo is getting more and more enjoyable every time! Did I mention in this blog anywhere that dancing with live music is the best thing ever?!!!!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Private parties….in Cairo

I discovered last night, when I was booked to perform at one.. that often small groups of people (less than 10) will hire dancers to perform in their own homes- just so they can sit and enjoy the dance without people passing judgment on them. Nothing dodgy or sordid in any way although I know it does sound like it is- just a house party- with entertainment. I guess this is even more so if the people hiring are famous (as these guys were) or feel their reputation would suffer if they were seen out and about watching dancers! As if it should be something to be ashamed about……… but I guess for many people in the middle east it is still seen as something not seen in high regard.

Anyway- I have to say- it was my party like this…. And I was incredibly nervous…….. It felt wrong in the beginning (although it set my mind at rest having 2 other dancers I knew there with me who were performing too!) …….. BUT these people were totally respectful and appreciative of the art so my fears were thankfully unfounded. I know I didn't dance my best since I was being very cautious and holding back, but it went ok. I guess there must be some people who will hire dancers hoping for a bit more than dance- but since I had my 'boy' with me to look after me (and the other dancers had the same), and since these people were decent people, it was all 100% ok. Still strange though- that someone would pay that much money (we're talking UK performance rates- not Egyptian ones here!) just to entertain a handful of people. Anyway- it’s a side of the dance I have, not only, not experienced before but didn't even know about- so that’s why I am writing about it. A friend was telling me that sometimes a group of women (esp. Saudi women) will hire dancers for an event themselves so they can enjoy the dance and join in, without men spoiling the fun- now that I am looking forward to- hope it does happen!!!!!