by Luna

by Luna



Blog Intro

Hello, I'm Luna, and I'd like to welcome you to "Kisses from Kairo,"* my blog about living and working as an American belly dancer in Cairo.

Life in Cairo isn't easy for dancers, foreigners, women, or even Egyptians. It is, however, always exciting. That’s why after living here for seven years, I've decided to share my experiences with the world. From being contracted at the Semiramis Hotel to almost being deported, not a day has gone by without something odd or magical happening. I will therefore fill these pages with bits of my history in Cairo—my experiences, successes, mistakes, and observations. Admittedly, my time here has been rather unique, so I want to stress that while everything I write is true, my experiences do not necessarily reflect the lives of other dancers.

In addition to my life as a belly dancer, I will write about developments in costuming, performances, festivals, and, of course, the dance itself. I will also make frequent references to Egyptian culture. I should note that I have a love/hate relationship with Egypt. If I make any criticisms about the country, please keep in mind that I do so with the utmost love, respect, and most of all, honesty. Egypt has become my home, so I want to avoid romanticizing and apologizing for social maladies, as most foreigners tend to do. Nothing could be more misguided, patronizing, or insulting.

I hope you find this blog informative, insightful and entertaining, and that we can make this as interactive as possible. That means I'd love to hear from you. Send me your comments, questions, complaints, suggestions, pics, doctoral dissertations, money, etc., and I will get back to you. Promise. :)~

My Videos

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Egyptian Uprising 2011

This is an account of how I experienced the political events of Friday, January 28th, 2011, aka “Friday of Wrath.”   I apologize to my readers for not providing any images to accompany my story.  Though I had originally intended to photograph the protests, I quickly changed my mind as I experienced the day.  The acts that I witnessed were so unconscionable that I felt it would be unethical to capture them on film and slap them all over Facebook.  Besides, the media does a good enough job of capturing people at their worst.  They get paid for that.  I don’t.

Friday of Wrath
It was 1pm, and I had just woken up.   As I laid in bed, my thoughts drifted to the Nile Memphis, the floating restaurant on which I'm contracted to dance.  My band and I were scheduled for three trips across the Nile that day, totaling six shows.  But would they happen?   The country was supposed to have erupted into massive anti-government demonstrations, and I couldn't imagine business running as scheduled. 
Not knowing whether the silence of my 13th floor bedroom meant that there were no demonstrations, I picked up my mobile to call my manager.  After several attempts, I could not get through.  There was no phone reception, and no way for me to call anyone.  The Egyptian government had cut off all lines of communication, including land phones and the internet in a last ditch attempt to prevent protestors from mobilizing in Tahrir Square.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Harvard Thing...

Warning.  This is a rant.  :) 

So I’m just going to say it.  I went to Harvard.  Four years ago.  I did a Masters program in Middle Eastern Studies and graduated with a 3.9 average.  I’ve been deeply fascinated with the Middle East ever since 9/11, and decided I’d drive myself into serious debt studying it.  
 So why for the love of God am I belly dancing in Cairo!?!?  Shouldn’t I be putting my education to use? Shouldn’t I be raking in a 6-figure salary working for the US government?  Aren’t I wasting my life “shaking my butt” in a third world country? 
 People have been antagonizing me with these questions since I moved to Cairo more than two years ago, and quite frankly, I’m getting sick of it! Who made it a crime to hold a Harvard degree and work as a belly dancer?  Are there not hundreds of highly educated women teaching and performing belly dance all over the world?  Or is dancing only for idiots?