Monday, November 24, 2008

Not a good meeting point!

I know it happens here, I know it happens all over the world, and call me naive... but I was surprised at the openess of the prostitution at the Cairo Sheraton!

when I went there after work on sat night, I had my costume bag with me and was fully made up ( of course coming from work) so I guess i may have looked suspicious... but I got a shock when I walked to the lounge area opposite the reception, where i swear, about 12 guys, mainly arbas- all sitting alone, all sat bolt upright and looked straight at me....... like a family of mear cats! It was frightening- and pathetic. I made a very quick dash back to the reception to stand and wait for my girl friends!!!

Then we sat and watched a girl (in very obvious 'working girl' attire) stand in the centre of the lounge.... look around, then make a phone call.... to which one old guy answered his mobile and she wandered the long way around the lounge and went to sit beside him........... it couldn't be more blatant if she had just shouted out ' which one of you losers booked me then???' !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

seemingly it is not unknown for girls just to cold call rooms in top hotels and hang up if a woman answers and ask if services are required if a man answers.!!!


But like I say- I guess it happens all over. And at least the remaining guys just restrained themselves to staring at my friends and I , and apart from moving literally to seats opposite so they could stare even more pointedly and annoyingly, they didnt actually approach!

I suggest NOT to arrange to meet female friends in that particular reception point, I certainly wont in future!!!!

Shame on you Sheraton for turning a blind eye.

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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

U tube

I thought this might be exciting....

but its only 1min long! so all you get is my transition between saaidi into baladi.... not the drum solo as I had hoped!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nile Group Festival and Lorna on the Pharoahs!

I can't believe it- the 1st opening night I have missed for ages and ages.... :-(

My friends who attended the opening night of the latest Nile group festival say it was a good night. A singer to start ( wasn't there so can't confirm who) kicked off night before Hanadi, Asmahan and then Lucy all performed. Lucy being the highlight of the night. I am gutted to have missed it.

I've been ill for a few days, UTI- not pleasant- but was impressed with hospital treatment and tests etc. of course NHS in UK is better all the way- BUT although I had to pay for everything here- at least I was seen immediately, no waiting AT ALL.

The main down side is that here the doctors word is LAW- no-one questions his decision.... well, I did! I refused IV pain relief- they seemed to think i was mad and refused to listen to me at first! and then I questioned what every drug was for.... the question was so unexpected that for a long while the doctor couldn't understand it.... eventually with a little medical term dropping by my friend sugrah ( a nurse in UK!) he did answer all my questions, albeit grudgingly! Its an amazing difference between here and UK ,where by law a doctor has to explain all drugs to you and why they are being prescribed!

I felt pricewise I got a very good deal - but I would hate to be on an average Egyptian wage and be in the same situation. I went to emergancy paid 200le for consultation, 25 for urine test, 35 for blood test, 70 for xray and then returned today for an ultrasound- 200le. Ultrasound didn't just do the check for kidney stones- they checked size, shape, normality etc of all the organs!!! very interesting! anyway- I am on the mend... and just need to drink even more water daily than I did anyway ( can't really see how this is possible, but refuse to go through all that pain again!!!!!!!!!!!!)

so all better now and ready to dance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are a few people calling me who are here attending the fesitval and want to come see me dance while they are in Cairo- so figured i better put my schedule for next 2 weeks online so people can find me!

Come see me dance on the Pharoah boats ........( beside the Four Seasons hotel, Giza- 15mins by taxi, from the hotel hosting the Nile group festival!!!)

19th Nov- Nile Pharoah
20th Nov- Nile Pharoah
22nd Nov- Nile Pharoah

25th Nov- Golden Pharoah
26th Nov- Golden Pharoah
27th Nov- Golden Pharoah
28th Nov- Golden Pharoah

set price for open buffet is 250le.
sail includes my show, tannoura and 'western' band ( and food and cruise ,of course too!)

Times vary- best to check when you book- but make sure you get the boat you want- otherwise you'll have a different dancer!!!
NB- usually Nile Pharoah is 7.45pm sail and sometimes a late sail too. The Golden Pharoah is a 7pm sail and a 9.45pm sail.

Call 02 3570 1000 to book. ( oh and when you book best to say you want a table by the stage if you are coming especially for the dance!)
hope to dance for you soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween in Cairo

...... was a lot of fun. 'Tana quraya' is halloween in Arabic.

I went to a salsa party night in the Imperial boat, Zamalek ( they have a regular salsa night there now every friday) and for a change I dressed up-

I dont normally do that sort of thing... but Cairo is having a positive influence on my sense of fun. People here do know how to let their hair down!

as the pics can show...............

Actually something which might be of interest to people living here- Salsa nights in Cairo.... where to go to dance the night away...

Monday- Nile Maxim, Zamalek
Tuesday- The Place, Zamalek
Wednesday- Dice Club, Agouza
Friday- The Imperial, Zamalek
Saturday- The Boss pub, Maadi

most start dancing around 10pm ( often with classes prior to that) and have a set enterance price which includes a soft drink. This list is not exclusive... but they are the main big ones in the centre of the city!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fellow dance blogger

I have a friend here in Cairo who is studying dance in Egypt, in particular social dance rather than professional performance dance, for her PhD.

She has been blogging on her Cairo moments and there are a few entries about me and some of the other dancers she has seen here too!

Since she isn't lving here as such, or working as a dancer here, she can often be more upfront and open about her feelings on certain things than I feel I can be. worth a read!