I’m back in Cairo, after many adventures, and I promise I’ll get around to blogging about my time in the desert at some point fairly soon. In the meantime, starting off again in media res…
This evening, my new flatmates and I were supposed to go out to experience Egyptian Cabaret in all its sleazy glory. I’m living with the incomparable Cairo-based artists Lorna of Cairo and Ellie of London, and there’s nothing better for a flat full of artists than to go out and experience other forms of art, wherever and however they might be found.
We took a cab into downtown, near Tahrir, to look for a certain dive that Lorna knew of. When we arrived, however, we experienced a shock. All the shops, normally closed well before midnight, were open. Lights were blazing, the streets were full, and everyone walked around in pre-holiday excitement in preparation for Eid. This meant two things. First, Lorna couldn’t find the cabaret, because every other time she’s been there the shops have been closed. With everything open and all the lights on, the usual landmarks didn’t work. Second, when we finally did find the place, it turned out that the cabaret was closed–because drinking booze and watching girls shimmy is apparently haram (forbidden) before Eid.
Like any enterprising women, then, we decided to figure out Plan B. We could go shopping, since the stores were all open, but we wanted to relax. Cup of tea in a local coffeeshop, then…with bellydancers on the TV. Many, many bellydancers. A whole channel full, in fact. And they were better dancers than we’d have been likely to see at the live cabaret, which as mentioned before is fun largely because of the level of sleaze, rather than the talent of the dancers.
Lorna and Ellie decided, after several dances, that it was imperative that we find this channel on the TV at home, in the interest of having access to 24-hour a day bellydance. The name of the channel that we needed to search for?
…wait for it…
And yes. That means exactly what you think.