Thursday, January 27, 2011

up or down? on or off?


and Twitter

both down again in Egypt tonight.

Which is understandable, with the biggest protests planned for tomorrow, but frustrating for me! Especially when i am sat at home not going anywhere in order to avoid the protests and wouldn't mind keeping abreast of the news. the local news has to come from places like facebook, since the local media seems to be very one sided and limited. The rumours i heard today was that Al Azhar has advised mosques to close tomorrow in the 'problem' areas... and given out a statement that demonstrating is wrong! I don't know that source of this info... but does seem strange if true. I suspect it means that people who just want to perform their friday prayers may get even more upset and protest, when in fact they maybe hadn't been planning to anyway. I guess it may also act as a catalyst for fundimentalists to be more prominant in their involvement. Which may, or may not be the intention!

Anyway- I just want to keep reassuring everyone who sends me messages on here, on twitter and on facebook, that I am safe and well and staying well clear of the problem areas, even if i seem to be offline for periods of time!


Yesterday i pretty much stayed home all day... an arabic class from a new school ( U-can) I am attending (well- the teacher actually comes to the house!) .... and then taught a private class.

I needed the restful day to recover from the last week... too many late nights and partying. I was actually in bed last night before midnight! Unheard of , as those of you who know me well will know!

This morning i woke up with an idea about the small room, which was always filled with junk (suitcases, old carpets, cleaning stuff- you know...) and which I recently cleared out with the help of my friend Eshta in order to turn it into a walk in costume wardrobe. For the time being the costumes will continue to be spread around the house since that small room is now a single bedroom! It looks good too. No AC, but otherwise pretty comfortable!!!

Re the 'revolution'... first a big thank you to everyones messages worrying about me and urging me to stay safe...

I am staying away from the whole downtown area... therefore pretty safe. i suspect that the larger scale protests predicted for friday may well start from mohandiseen again- as they did on tuesday, but otherwise I am pretty far from all the action.

Facebook is up and running again (was only down for about 3 hours) although its running incrediably slow (although that could just be an internet provider thing since for sure everyone is online more these days than is usual... if just because they are staying home rather than face the streets!).

I had a chat with one of the girls who cleans for me... I was asking her view on it all. She said people were upset because everything has become so expensive. If you only get paid 400le per month, and a kilo of peas costs 10le... how can you live? (her example not mine!) Especially if that wage is for you, your wife, and your however many children! She guessed that in the last ten years, the price of basic food stuffs has increased 6x whereas the wages have maybe doubled at the most. So many young people are scared they will never be able to marry because they can't afford to get a flat and live. When i asked whether she thought after all these protests things would change, she said no. She was scared things might actually get worse. She also voiced the opinion that many of her family and friends thought the goverment would refuse to give in to any of the demands , because if they did, the people might realise that actually do have some power and actually start to use it in an organised way! I suspect she may have a point!

Others I spoke to feel that although nothing big will come of this... the catalyst is all that was needed. So, now that Egypts goverment is in the international limelight, then maybe things will begin to improve, people will start to listen. Bit by bit.

Hanshuf....  (we'll see...)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I am spending all day at home- due to the protesters in the street- seemingly another march is scheduled for 6pm today....

Unfortunatly i won't be able to keep my friends and family up top date with events or with my life since now both Twitter and Facebook have both been blocked.

Thankfully the blog is up for now.

I understand why they have blocked facebook , since the main organisation of the gathering of protesters was formed through it.... but I am not sure if it is the right thing to do.. hmm- we can't sit at home and follow the news- so hey- why not go out on the streets instead?

don't worry- thats not my plan (although a good friend of mine who's British is saying she will do it...)

My plan is to stay home, do arabic and dance classes and catch up with emials for as long as hotmail stays up anyway!!!!

Riots in Cairo

It's been an eventful day in Cairo. Today was a public holiday for the police, so in order to insure the police did not get their day off, there were demonstrations all around the city. From my bedroom window we could hear clearly the roar of the crowd who gathered in mohandiseen before marching into medan tahrir to make their protests heard.

At 3 am, when getting ready to leave the club we were in, after dancing the night away, in Maadi, the bar owners switched on the live TV reports and we heard of the cars being burnt out in the streets, and shots had been fired (not sure who or why) and 3 dead. Our fabulous singer (Ahmed Harfoush) took the mic and warned everyone to pay heed before heading home. The images from the square really are very impressive, on TV- I avoided going near.The evenings news gathered the crowd together as people went round everyone in the bar to check how we were all getting home and working out safest routes for us all. Amazing how horrific things often being people together in a way that great things seldom do. Thankfully the streets the entire way home were completely empty.

sorry my blogging on the subject is not more insightful politically... to be honest... i've been dancing all day, avoiding it. I am lucky. For the people who really believe this is the only way to get a brighter future for themselves and their families it is a very stressful time. I hope something positive comes out of it all. More riots are predicted for tomorrow. I am guessing it will be a stay at home day for me! will share more news as it comes in.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

All change at the Pharaoh

Don't you just love how information gets passed on? or doesn't... not until the last minute anyway!

Tonight I had completed my first sail, a nice show with one of my students from japan here to see me, and i relaxed between sails.

Just before I go on stage i am informed that as from today, all late sails on the Golden, and on the Nile Pharoah boats will be an extra half hour longer. 2.5 hours instead of 2. This means I am on stage longer (although, obviously, this being Cairo- not paid extra!). This is a good thing for those of you wanting to see me dance! I get time to do an extra song in my show, on the late sail. The cost to the customer goes up though. Early sail costs 220le and now late sail costs 275e.

Tonight, among others, I danced to Lissa faker and also to Mawood- and the guests went mad for them. Was lovely to have such an appreciative audience... singing along with the songs. When Egyptians are in a party mood they really are the best audiences in the world (unsurprisingly) for this dance!!!

Tomorrow I have a photoshoot with another dancer friend of mine, Marte , from Norway. We decided if we had to turn up at an address in full make up and false lashes, in the middle of the day, then it was best to go together!!

I have a massively busy month ahead of me. Lorna's bellydance hotel will be full to bursting! I have Eshta from London coming, Dominique from Canada, Judit from Hungary , and Popo and her 3 dance friends from Hong Kong and then Christina from Denmark. It will be a multi-cultural month at my place! We're going to have fun!!! Just in case you are interested- there is now NO ROOM AT THE INN until after 8th feb! The next crazy time at my place will probably be around April when the Nile Group festival happens again- so if you are hoping to stay with me then- get it confirmed asap!!!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Shameful behaviour

I am embarrassed and apologise. All my ranting and raving about things being stolen from my suitcase and there are people losing much more than a few things. They are losing their lives.

The bombings in Alexandria on New Years Day are the topic of most conversations around Egypt. My excuse for not writing about it sooner; i’ve been home ill for 4 days (a poor excuse).

21 people killed, 79 injured.

Today i was talking about it with one of my costume designers and she told me the plans for Christmas. You see the Coptic Christians haven’t had their Christmas day yet- that is still to come this weekend, and after the horrific attacks in churches there is fear that that might well be a target.
Seemingly many Muslims are planning to attend Christian churches and pray with them, this coming Christmas to help protect each church from further attacks. Their argument being we are all Egyptian and should stand together whatever name we give our God, it is still the same God.

I think its fabulous people are sticking together like this and I really hope it works. There are enough problems in Egypt without further disputes between Christians and Muslims.

The following images are profile pictures many of my Egyptians friends, Christian and Muslim and using now on facebook.

Here’s hoping for a peaceful 2011.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Airport trauma!

I am so upset!

As i mentioned in my previous blog, on my recent trip to UK my suitcase was only with me for 36 hours before I checked it back in to come home.... but it arrived in one piece!

The saga in Cairo has been even more eventful, yes, it is possible!

When my bag hadn’t arrived in Cairo, surprise surprise, i filled out all the relevant forms etc on the 29th. They informed me that because there was a lock on the case that I couldn’t have it delivered since customs would not be able to check it. I was furious, but agreed to collect it.

They didn’t call. I left it 2 days and called them on the 31st, to be told that it had arrived and would be delivered before 11pm. That was a relief that i didn’t have to go all the way there again.

It didn’t arrive.

I called the next day, 1st, to be told that it couldn’t be sent because they didn’t have a photocopy of my passport! I was mad, but faxed a copy through and was told it would be delivered that day.

It didn’t arrive.

I called 2nd. It would be delivered today, thank god.

It didn’t arrive.

I called (later 2nd) to be told that the fax hadn’t arrived so they still couldn’t send it without that. Very agitated by now, I re-faxed my copy of passport (which involves going out down the street since i don’t have a fax at home). I was told that it would be sent out that night. I kept calling and calling, by 8pm it ‘cleared’ customs and was with the delivery firm and would be with me within 5 hours. Relief!

Too soon...

it didn’t arrive.

I called on the 3rd (3am) to be told it hadn’t cleared customs at all, and that they would keep trying to get it cleared.

It arrived this morning (3rd- 5 days late). Happy? Yes- i was.............. until i saw the state the case was in and check the contents.

3 small bottles of perfume and a brand new, never used yet, epilator which I had bought with my Christmas money had been stolen from my case. So about £118 worth of theft.


Very angry , teary call to the baggage reclaim people AGAIN and now have to go to airport to fill in forms tonight. Really really annoyed. I felt violated when all my underwear etc was spread around my case... that was bad enough, but to have things stolen too. The thing is- If I had just gone to collect it on the 31st, i would have had all my things and had them 3 days ago. When will I learn not to trust?

Whoever uses my new epilator- i hope it hurts!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

oh what a night!

I performed on the Nile Pharoah boat last night, 4 shows and then the 'temple' as they call it; the area between the 2 boats. I really really enjoyed myself. Especially when i got my singer to memorise the words for Laylet Eid ( a Fayrouz song to the tune of jingle bells!!!) and came out on stage in my santa costume! They look on everyones faces was priceless! lets just say- it was a massive hit, with the band, the staff and the customers. Although perhaps especailly with the phototgraphers since EVERYONE , including the staff (!) wanted there photo taken with santa Lorna!!!

great fun, and for a change i didn't have to run off to do other jobs after the shows since we finished so late. Which was a relief since I have a horrible chest infection, i suspect due to 3 days spent in airports over the last 10 days!!

i went home for christmas, and was stuck in amsterdam airport for 2 days due to the snow, then on my return, i got stuck in glasgow and then again in heathrow due to fog! My suitcase, containing the new costumes I had specially made for the show in glasgow on the 28th were in the case... which eventually arrived on the 27th! one day before I was due to leave again. So I had one day to unpack and repack! needless to say, with the fog effects, my suitcase has not managed to arrived here to cairo either. in fact, in the 13 days since I started my journey home and back, the case has only been in my custody for 2 of them!

Despite all that christmas was lovely. Snowy, cold (-17deg!) but lovely. I spent a lot of quality time with my family and with a few friends. Next time hopefully I'll get to party more!

It's good to start a new year and still be a bellydancer on the Nile!
Sometimes I really can't believe how a girl form scotland can end up here doing this job, but I am so happy and grateful that I am! Long may it continue!

I have a massively busy house over the next 6 weeks with total of 8 house guests due over that time, .. 6 of those due in the same week (not sure how this will work, but we'll squeeze together somehow!) we are going to have fun!

 If anyone is in Cairo and wants to come see me dance I am performing on the Golden pharoah 9-12th Jan and the Nile pharoah 13-15th Jan.

off to track down that missing suitcase now.......