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, August 17, 2013

The Ugly & The Inevitable

I'm currently in the US, but by the way I'm conducting my life, you'd never know it. If I'm not teaching or performing Egyptian dance, I'm glomming up Egyptian news. Or I'm on the phone with Egypt. I left my life in Cairo a little over a month ago, thinking that as usual, I'd spend Ramadan in the US, and go back to Egypt for the Eid holidays. But that's not how things played out. You see, I would have gone back 10 days ago, except that my parents were making my life miserable over that hoax of a terror alert for Americans in the Middle East. For the first time in a long while, I listened to them. Their constant insults and screaming at me for wanting to go to Egypt during such times was more than I could handle. So I dragged my butt to JFK Airport and told Al-Italia that I wanted to postpone my flight another two weeks.

Well, the two weeks aren't even finished, and I'm about to delay my return once again. As you all know, the situation in Egypt right now is a little bit, err, "uncomfortable." Not to mention there's no work. My presence there would neither contribute to Egypt nor to my wellbeing, so I see no reason to go back at this point. I mean, I guess I could go and just sit in my apartment all day and night, listening to gunfire. Or watch the news 24 hours a day. Or tell Facebook how brave I am for living in Egypt through these turbulent times, even though I really don't have to. I don't know. It just doesn't sound like the brightest idea to me. And it's not like I have something to prove. So I've decided to hang out in the good old US of A until things subside, or if they don't, until I feel it's safe enough for me to go back, collect my belongings, and say my goodbyes.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Democratic Republic of Egypt

This is long overdue. I would have published it earlier but I was busy traveling and doing workshops. So here you have it, my thoughs on the June 30th revolution.

I am newly in love with Egypt. I don’t know any other place on Earth where millions of people can oust two dictators in less than three years. I don’t know any other country where the military intervenes to execute the will of the people yet leaves the governing to civilians. Since the revolution, I’d lost my faith in this place, but what happened last month restored it.

Well, partially at least. I realize that the Egyptian armed forces are no angels, and that they’d committed a litany of crimes since the outbreak of the revolution. I’m also aware that technically (from an American vantage point at least), the army shouldn’t be meddling in domestic affairs or running the economy. And I can see how that could rub Americans the wrong way. That’s because in the United States, we can’t even begin to imagine the army commanding the president to step down! We’re used to power being neatly compartmentalized. Each branch of government, including the armed forces, has its responsibilities and limitations. There’s no overstepping of boundaries. (In theory at least.)