Friday, October 31, 2008

Rhanda at the sheraton

When I had my friends over from Scotland to stay last week we were desperate to see Rhanda Kamel......... but unfortuantly she wasn't working any of the nights we were able to go to the Maxim where she is currently performing- so when we heard that the Aladin restaurant in the Cairo Sheraton had Rhanda performing at 10pm we guessed it would be too good to be true- and it was!

The dancers name there is Rhanda - but she was certainly not THE Rhanda!

It was the usual chewing gum routine ( literally!- her jaws moved more than her hips) until she decided to get me up to dance.......i did............ ( and yes- i did- even in those shoes!!!)

after that she thankfully upped the anti somewhat and we got some nice dancing from her.

Funny how knowing you have dancers in the audience can help you raise your bar ( works for me too- I LOVE having dancers come see me!!!!)

It was really funny when we left at the end that they had closed the sign announcing her dancing that night- it was like they had put her to bed- all tucked up! so sweet!


ok......... I am amazed and surprised.

my mobile phone was found- in the gardens of the place where it was stolen.... totally fine apart from the battery having been removed!!!!!!

how bizarre is that?

Cairo.... a mad crazy city.. which will often frustrate and annoy and tire you out............ but NEVER bore you!

The day I understand this place and all its goings on....... oh- i dont know. never.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gutted - again.........

well, now I have time with all my visitors having returned to their normal lives, I had been really looking fwd to settling down to some serious blogging. Unfortunatly the 1st of these is yet again a complaint of breach of trust.

I went to salsa last night at The Place. It's a nice crowd and I like going there because people are so friendly. However, last night my bag was stolen- probably by one of these 'friendly' fellow salsa dancers.

It had my wallet with money and credit cards, my house keys and my mobile phone.

The security eventually found the bag dumped in the grounds outside, still magically with my credit cards in my wallet and my house keys. (Thank God!)

They took 200le- but left me 100le ( I guess they didn't want to be too mean?) and of course the mobile phone ( new - only a month old) is gone. The phone less important than the photos and texts and of course numbers stored on it. wish they had left me the sim card along with the bag!!!!!!!!!

So someone I dance with......... well, in our group anyway, is such a low life theif. I am just too trusting.

One of the guys at salsa was explaining that if I go to the police with my serial number from the phone, then they can track the person that has it as soon as they try to insert a new sim card. I se a HUGE flaw however in this argument- that I would have to go through the trauma of going to the police. well- thats just not going to happen is it?!

Hopefully i will be able to get my own number back- but that will now have to be my job for this afternoon......... but in the meantime- friends- please email me your mobile number- AGAIN!!!

Once I get over this I'll try and blog some of the good stuff thats been happening!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'sex' on the streets

I have just read this in the BBC news page and think you should have a look too. why? cos Its daily life here in Cairo. the part I really HATE!
Its constant. I have been taking my 3 female visitors around this crazy city all week... and they love the hussle and bustle.......... but the hassle is another topic altogether!

curb crawled, constant sexual comments- its exhausting. everyday - without fail. children too- the under ten years olds are the ones most likely to go for a grope. tell me- where do they learn that this is ok?????? grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. men. ( actually to call them that is an insult to many men around the world who do understand how to act properly- this behaviour in the streets of cairo is not that of men, but of animals who cannot control their desires and feel its ok to bully and abuse women)

rant over- lots of good stuff here too ( thank god- otherwise I'd be OUT!)
more good stuff to be blogged soon..........

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lubna in scotland!

ok- so I figure I am currently in the best place ever to learn dance.........

BUT Raqia is in UK teaching in JOY this weekend. and Lubna is in Scoltand next month.....
"If you want cutting edge Modern Egyptian from a proper full-time choreographer—this is it. The best bellydancers in Egypt have all been coached by top choreographers—now you can enjoy this. Lubna has over 20 years experience of teaching and choreography, and her most famous patron was Nagwa Faoud." Caroline, Bellydance Divas.
Tickets can be purchased through, and contact with Caroline made via the website "BellyDance Divas" <> so if you are in Scotland in November- GO!!!!!!!

so I guess if you want to learn from the top - you can in UK too! ( although obviously I am in Cairo hehe!)

Bizzare thing I saw yesterday-
a carpet, ( like a cut off of old carpet) which had been used as a canvas and painted on top off- MOST bizzare!!!!!! they were selling them in the mall in the four seasons hotel! very very strange- I'll try and get in there with my camera to prove it to you at some point!

By the way - for anyone in Cairo just now... I am working EVERY NIGHT ( on the Nile pharoah and Golden Pharoah boats) and pften day time too ! I've done 21 sails in the last 10 days, I am full of the cold and feeling down- and KNACKERED! thankfully the dancing is going ok ( although admit I really didn't do my best tonight) but generally I am having fun on stage. lots of Egyptian and arab women wanting me to kiss their babies ( wish I could - just scared to give this cold to all the infants of Cairo- might end up as a killing of the 1st born!)

oh- tip for going out in Cairo. If you haven't discovered it yet- the Nile Dragon boat ( near my work) has been painted white and turned into a huge Trianon cafe- it has the entire ground floor and you can sit either in the air con- or 'outside' right on the nile. its a 50le minimum charge- but a fab menu and situation! salads in bread basket, soup in bread 'bowl' and caramel cheesecake all highly recommended!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

grrr- number frustration

I took my new mobile phone to a shop tonight to get it unlocked- they promised all the data would remain- they WIPED ALL MY NUMBERS!!!!!!!!!! I am stranded!

please- all my friends who read this- please send me an sms to my Egyptian number (or emial me) with your number so I can save it !!!

so- I have had house guests for the last 4 nights- am now alone til thursday when the next lot of guests arrive... and working EVERY NIGHT. really glad to be working though. have a new Org player (what they call keyboards here!) and he is very good- unfortunalty he seems to know different versions of lots of the songs I dance to- so i am improvising on stage a lot more than usual! keeping me on my toes though (literally and figuratively). Also he doesn't yet know my entrance music- which is a shame, cos it was a lot nicer than the one I am having to fall back on! Thankfully i have had a run of really good audiences, so workwise things are going OK.

Monday, October 06, 2008

West Midlands tour

I've been back in Cairo nearly a week now- and there is lots to write about, but 1st a whistle through of my tour in West Midlands!!!

I went down to Birmingham on my last weekend before heading back to sunnier climes, and stayed with a friend there. We went out to do lots of shopping of course!), and what stuck me about the place was this HUGE mix of nationalities. I am not used to that. In Scotland there are so few 'foreign' faces, and also in Cairo- the same. The mix in that part of the UK was stimulating to the eye! In one clothes shop queue, I spied at least 20 different nationalities (despite the fact that they all might actually be 'British' )- it was a long queue!

Out with 2 friends (one Jamacian origin, one Pakistan) we were nicknamed the 'United colours of Benetton'!!!- 3 nationalities together.
The mix is refreshing and interesting and I really enjoyed being part of it.
Maybe even more so after my experiences here in Cairo and at home; one as the minority and one as the majority. It was nice just to be part of the mix.

I performed at a Salsa Brava night one night… went well, I think, most feedback was good anyway. I didn't feel very good about my own dance- but am beginning to accept that maybe I am just a little too much of a perfectionist….

The workshops in Birmingham were fantastic- I REALLY enjoyed myself. We had a fabulous huge venue, fitness first, and the people who came were lovely. I really got into it and enjoyed the workshop possibly more than them (although again feedback was great- so I'll not put words into others mouths). Some emotional moments too.

We had quite an Arabic night… at the Moroccan restaurant, Zagora and there was a dancer there. Not really sure she knew what had hit her though when we all got up to join in!!!!!!!!!

................ Then, after that, we ended up with a late night at a Syrian restaurant, Syriana, with wine and sheesha and debka dancing.

A very good night- not sure I got that debka though at all- was laughing my head off the entire time- IMPOSSIBLE to count! was fun trying to talk in Arabic again too- hadn't realised how much I had missed it!

Coventry was a new place for me to teach in, and the teacher based there, Diane Cox was just lovely and supportive, even cancelling a workshop she had planned for that weekend so that she could send all her students to me. VERY supportive and some really lovely dancers there too!

Then my 3rd city in one day… Lisa (a lovely dancer and teacher from Birmingham) had found out about an Arabic night in Manchester so we headed on up to see the 'Nile Band' perform in the Iguana club. I managed to restrain myself at 1st- but before very long I ended up on stage entertaining everyone (surprise surprise!) I really enjoyed myself- LIVE music in UK !!! fab. I was sorely missing my band back in Cairo by this point! I got a lovely reception from the audience, and the band, and it was nice dancing in UK to an audience so enthralled! I was once told, by someone who knew what he was talking about, that I'd never make money from dance- because I love it too much- ie I 'give it away' free. But you know what- I don’t care. Its about so much more than the money! (although I am not knocking that either!!!!)

I made a lovely discovery in Manchester. When I had been watching some of the other ladies up on the dance floor do their thing (before I took over!) I picked out 2 or 3 that I really thought had something special. When I spoke to them after- turns out they go to workshops with my teacher Sara Farouk, whenever she is in Manchester! Amazing how a teachers influence shines though in a good student! Credit to the teacher!!!!

Really enjoyed my time in West Midlands- and looking forward to returning (hopefully in March '09). Thank you to everyone who made that weekend possible, Sugrah, Lisa, Diane, Salsa Brava and all the guys in Zagora and Syriana and in the Nile Band!