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 11, 2016

Midnight Musings

Disclaimer: I wrote this while suffering from severe PMS.

This might sound a little strange, but I'm haunted. Not by ghosts or ghouls, but by the fact that my life is relatively... easy. I have a job that I love. I'm living 'the dream,' and I make decent money doing it. I have no husband, no kids, and no alcohol or drug addictions. Most of my family is still alive. I've traveled the world and have friends and fans all over. I speak three languages. I obtained a master's degree from an elite university when I was 24 years old. Seven years later, I'm completely debt free. My biggest concern is what color my next costume will be. And yet, I'm not completely happy. Grateful, yes. Happy? Not a hundred percent.

I know. You just want to slap me. Countless people around the globe dream of living a life like mine... doing everything they've ever dreamed of, climbing to the top in whatever they do, having so many choices without a worry in the world. Sure, I have my trials and tribulations (mainly self-inflicted and the result of poor judgment (especially when it comes to men)), but they pale in comparison to everything that's great about my life. So what's my problem? I'm not exactly sure, but in trying to figure out, I've stumbled upon a couple of scary recurring thoughts:

Dala3 on Steriods

I wrote this sometime in 2014 but never published it.
Oops.  I did it again.  I just shot another music video.  This time with an unknown singer who wants to make it big.  Nothing special.  Just your ordinary, low budget, thoughtless, uninspiring, very Egyptian clip that makes you wonder why producers make so much money.  I agreed to be a part of it because, well, because... I knew it would make for good blog content! No, that's not why. :)  I did it because a) I didn't know what I was in for, b) getting your face on screen is great promo and results in more high-end gigs,  c) I'm always up for a new experience d) I needed a good laugh, which is almost always guaranteed at these things, and e) it really does make for good blogging.
The laughs, or rather regrets, started with the makeup 'artist,' a 25-year old boy with a unibrow and a chip on his shoulder.  I arrived at the studio already made-up, as I had just come from work, and figured I'd just freshen my makeup before going on set.  Not so.  UniBoy handed me a bottle of rose water, a cotton pad, and told me to remove my makeup.  But my makeup is fine the way it is, I protested.  Take it off! he said.  So I went to the bathroom and proceeded to remove, more like smear, the makeup all over my face.  Great.  I looked like I was ready for Halloween.  Rose water proved no match for my waterproof Maybelline eye makeup.  Now, if they had given me some olive oil...

Egypt's Identity Crisis

I wrote this in 2014 but I didn't publish it back then.

Two things you don't want to be while living in the Muslim world: gay and atheist. The consequences for being either or both can be severe, and may include ostracization, imprisonment, and even death. For though many conveniently ignore major parts of their religion, almost no one denies the existence of God or believes in gay rights. And they have zero tolerance for those who do.
We were once again reminded of this last month in Egypt, when the new "secular" government publicly declared war on both groups of people. Authorities arrested four men at a party for engaging in homosexual acts. Three of them were sentenced to eight years in prison, while the fourth was sentenced to three years and hard labor. They were accused of cross-dressing and attending "deviant sexual parties."

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


My alternative title for this entry is ‘Shit Egyptians Ask Me to Bring Back from America.’ :D
Whenever I leave Egypt for a vacation, I try to be discreet about it. Not because I’m superstitious, but because if I let people know, everyone will ask me to bring them Stuff. And they’re rarely modest in their requests. I don’t mind bringing back a few necessities for close friends. But when everyone from the bawab (doorman/keeper of Islamic morality in your building) to that ‘friend’ who only and coincidentally calls you a week before your annual vacation sticks you with a shopping list, we have a problem.
You see, the airlines only allow you a total of one hundred pounds of Stuff. That would be more than enough if I were constantly going back and forth from Cairo to the US, but I don’t. I only come home once a year, which means that those hundred pounds I bring back have to last me a whole year, until my next visit when I can replenish. It doesn’t help that the Stuff I buy is heavy. Things I buy include massive amounts of clothes, impractical shoes, fabric (which is currently contraband in Egypt), supplements, more supplements, several bottles of Bragg’s organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother, in case you needed to know), several tubs of extra virgin cold-pressed coconut oil, cosmetics, lashes, tens of boxes of instant manicure, tampons, pads, and if it’s mating season, condoms and such. So I don’t have a lot of space to be bringing people unnecessary luxury items.