I love that in Cairo I can have no plans for a day at all and then it can end up being a totally packed long, interesting day!
For example. Last Saturday I had no plans whatsoever… sitting on the balcony chatting with a friend who'd come to stay from Canada… so we went for lunch (Chillis- an American diner which does the biggest salads you can imagine amongst other things!). Great. My lodger, Christine, then joined us, even better. So far pretty normal anywhere…
Then we went to the BCA (British Community Association) club, which is just walking distance from my place. You pay an entrance fee to get into the bar, and then the drinks are really cheap ( esp. between 6-7pm- the happy hour- 2 for 1- feels just like home!!!!!) Anyway- its not the worlds most exciting of venues.. but its easy, cheap, hassle free.
So Christine and I then decided we wanted to make a night of it (remember at this point I'd only left the house to go for lunch!) . We grabbed a cab to Sawy centre ( the cultural wheel) and took pot luck- what's on tonight? Are there tickets? Oh its started?- great – lets do it! 30le – ok.
We had no idea what to expect and I have to say I didn't expect Anoushka. She was fabulous!!!!!!!!!! She is Cairo born by Armenian parents and she sings like an angel. I just LOVED her voice. But what Christine and I loved even more than that was her sheer talent in performance skills- a true professional. She held the audience in the palm of her hand. She orchestrated her band throughout and danced as well as sang. Not a bad dancer I have to say either- all very much oriental in style (although some salsa footwork going on in some songs!). I was surprised to see someone dance so much while singing- often Egyptian singers feel that to keep their status as singer, rather then the lower status of dancer, they have to stand still to perform ! Anoushka's lighting technician was on the ball too. Lovely figure, beautiful dress, fun, lively, deep personality and of course a range of songs which included ballads, oriental pieces and feisty salsa inspired numbers. The vast majority of the music just frustrated me so much because I desperately wanted to jump out my seat and dance!!! The qanoon player was my favourite in the band. A Wonderful show… I'd go back for more any day. In fact she inspired us both so much that we went surfing online to find out more about her and everything I read just made me feel like I wanted to be friends with this woman! Strong, independent, fun and talented. I'd love to know more of her story!
However, the night did not end there- we wandered over the bridge to the Cairo Jazz Café.. where they were having a talent show! Young bands playing oriental/Arabic music. You could vote for your favourite at the end of the night! Most weren't so great- but 2 bands really stood out… 'el '7hwa' and 'the city band'. Up and coming talent to watch out for in the future! It was very interesting people watching too- esp. the ones who had their mummy's with them- so sweet!
Oh- and then we walked down the road - not something I really recommend to female travelers- not in Mohandiseen anyway- the curb crawling is horrific- and one car nearly ran us over as we tried to cross the road by reversing at top speed just to get a better look at us!!!) Ending up in the 'house of do-nuts' was a little like the equivalent of the chippie or kebab shop back home– what a way to end a day/night out- with a cup of tea and a fresh do-nut!!!!
I'd left the house for lunch at 2pm, and we stumbled back in at 4.30am. That elastic Cairo time just keeps stretching and stretching.
Sorry about lack of photos from these events- since I had expected to only be eating lunch out, I funnily enough didn't take my camera with me- really must learn my lesson from this and carry it around more!