Tuesday, February 09, 2010

more flat hunting............ and the best dance teachers around..

Blooming heck..............

well, thats the polite way to say what i really want to say anyway. today I had a day off work, which was supposed to be a day of rest and recover, however I agreed to go and view just one more flat with my friend. She is still seeking that perfect to be in place!

Downtown first... interesting characters showing us around, an old, greek looking, man with a stick, and a young higabbed girl with a wiggle in her walk. Old downtown flats are amazing- the architecture is fabulous, Italian and French inspired, and the ceilings are even higher than the ceilings i have seen in Edinburgh. Carved stone balconies and wrought iron lifts, wooden floors and fabulous carved ceilings are the order of the day. The downside, of the ones we saw today anyway, are no AC, little light, and LOTS of road traffic noise (and fumes). Romantic, but not practical.

After lots of sitting about, and waiting, we then headed to Zamalek to look at more flats... My friend thought she'd died and gone to heaven when she saw the 1st place.... wooden floors, huge windows, balconies.... just perfect really............ then of course- the price almost double her budget! Grr. It is so frustrating. You tell people EXACTLY what you want, and what you can afford,... and they show you something thats just NOT suitable. The next place was unbelieveable perfect, for the price, until we found out it didn't have enough bedrooms. Yet again the estate agent ('simsar' in arabic) hadn't listened at all.

The last place was funny (near 'nadi sid' - ie the Shooting club- which is also very near my house). There were 3 women 'cleaning' the place when we arrived. I putting cleaning in ' ' because one was asleep on the sofa , one was sitting chatting and the other was sort of cleaning.... sort of.... anyway- that flat is a possible... thank god the day wasn't totally wasted............ checking it again tomorrow in the daylight- god grant us strength!

Whats the point of this blog?............ Just to show how things are never easy here in this crazy city. Never boring either though. And that it does pay to stay tough, and to keep searching and searching for EXACTLY what you want. For my friend, its that perfect flat, for me It was a year searching for a dancing job without strings and with workpapers! Nothing is easy- but when you get what you search really hard for- its totally worth it!

I recently received the comment from a reader that she'd like to hear more about dancing.... The thing is that just day to day living here teaches me SO much about Egyptian attitudes and behaviour. I believe that until a dancer understands that, how can she hope, as a foreign dancer, to 'dance like an Egyptian' ?

What do i mean? Even the Estate agent... in all ages, shapes and sizes plays 'the game'... offering you the perfect flat, teasing you with flats out your reach, persuading you that you are his friend and he'll get you the best deal... all of that is useful on the dancefloor... Never actually promising anything, or even giving, but instead suggesting- a life of glamour,a bit of fun, a cheeky grin, an emotional response, an understanding soul. Telling your audience through your actions what they want to hear. It's all imperative in the dance... as much as a perfectly executed shimmy or hip drop or arabesque.

Even time keeping... often non Egyptian dancers (and occasionaly Egyptian ones too!) dance a little too fast. I've seen myself do it in the past, and still if I am nervous or ill or tired. We often try too hard. Egyptian attitude is so laid back that you think the dancer is going to totally ignore a certain beat in the music, and then she manages to hit it- effortlessly, almost as if it was an afterthought. This is a common approach to life here, planning your night out, after you have already left the house..., planning an appointment to view a flat, only to find you are there, but the owner still needs to be found to get the keys,whats the rush?....

The teachers of this intricate, amazing dance form are all around... in the people.


Rose said...

Hi, Lorna,

I enjoy reading about your experiences Cairo (*and* your traveling adventures). It's great to read about different perspectives on "how things get done." Please continue to generously share your experiences (dance and cultural) about living in Egypt.


Rose in SV

Anonymous said...

I love this post! So very inspirational and insightful. Letting the Egyptian culture and people percolate through your skin into your soul and into your dance. What an amazing way to enrich your belly dance... I am jealous! :-)