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

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Joker. Are You Joking?!

Because I have something to say about everything. ;)

This year more than ever, I had really been looking forward to coming home.  I was homesick, missed my family, and was having cravings that could only be satisfied in New York.  More importantly, Egypt was starting to get a little unbearable.  People have grown irritable and quarrelsome.  The traffic is worse than ever.  It’s impossible to go anywhere any time of day or night without sitting for hours in a cab, inhaling toxic amounts of exhaust.  Most cabs don’t have air conditioning, and it’s disgustingly hot and humid.  Some do, but lots of times, drivers lie and say the AC doesn’t work. 

I’m also a bit fed up with wearing long pants and long sleeves in this weather.  But what can I do?  Anything less and I’d be asking for real trouble.  These days, women are being assaulted in ways that never happened before the revolution.  I should know.  In just one month, I was targeted three times!  The first time, a man jumped out of a microbus and chased me down the street in broad daylight.  Next, I was in a cab when a gang on 10 motorcycles spotted me and tried to crash their bikes into the cab.  The driver got angry and tried to run over the motorcyclists.  Had I not barked at the driver to stop engaging them, we would have had a catastrophe on our hands.  Most recently, teen-aged boys sprayed tear gas in a cab that my friend and I were getting into.  Both she and I and the driver started tearing.  And I started losing consciousness.  We eventually drove away and the gas wore off.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Woe to Egypt

I would have posted this earlier last week, but I've been insanely busy.  I apologize in advance, as there will be no sacred cows.  If you have any, don’t read this.

I feel like I just woke up from a nightmare.  Only, that nightmare continued into reality.  Islamists won the Egyptian presidency, fair and square.  That’s after winning 70 percent of the (now dissolved) Parliament.  Not to sound like a jackass, but I told you so.  

Even before this so-called revolution, I knew that religious fanatics would eventually come to power.  It was only a matter of time.  I guess studying the Middle East at Harvard is responsible for my political foresight.  But honestly, anyone with half a brain would have reached the same conclusion. The writing was on the wall.  Egypt has been ripe for Islamification for some time now.  One need only have noticed the growing number of veiled women and bearded men, and the widespread illiteracy, unemployment and poverty to figure that out.  If that’s not the perfect recipe for Islamist governance, I don’t know what is.