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Cairo Catch-up - Saturday

Saturday morning was my prova with Aziz. Some of the others were going camel-riding, out by the pyramids, so I was hitching a lift with them, so that Yasmina could stick me in a taxi to his flat. When I got there, I tried the bedlah first. As I had suspected, it wasn't pinky-purple. He'd opted for a black fabric with a 60s retro flower print in red and yellow (again, yellow, not a colour I'd normally go for, but this holiday I've been drawn towards it). It's a gorgeous bra & belt set, very swishy, decorated with red and yellow flowers, and long gold spot fringe, and with thigh cut outs to *there* [*]. He's decided it needs a drapé around the halter-neck to make it more flattering, and he's going to make me a hair band with a flower.

As for the melaya dress- it was everything I could have hoped for and more, as I posted at the time, here. As I said then, my trust in Aziz's costume designing skills was repaid far beyond what I could have expected.

Aziz always makes you dance in his costumes, and it's not just indulgence, it's so he can see how it's working in action, before he finalises it. It feels a bit weird dancing to an audience of him & Leila, but they are always so happy to see you dancing that it's kind of sweet too. We agreed I'd come back tomorrow afternoon, and I set off to find a taxi back to Zamalek.

I was meeting up with Kay and Scottish M, who hadn't gone camel-riding, to go to the hammam in Mohandiseen. The camel-riders had got there before us, and were all in the steam room, being steamed and scrubbed and covered in nice-smelling goo. Since there wasn't room for us yet, we hung around, drinking Moroccan mint tea, and relaxing.

The hammam experience is wonderful, a real contrast to the bustle and busy-ness of being in Cairo. You start off in the steam room, getting hot, and presumably doing your skin good. Then one of the Moroccan ladies showers you and slathers you in black olive soap, and you carry on steaming for a while. Then it's time to shower you down and it's down to some serious scrubbing. They use a mitten that seems like it's made out of the same stuff they make scouring pads out of. To start off with it feels a bit rough, but your body gets used to it. And, my word, you've no idea how much dead skin you're carrying around until it all gets scrubbed off like that! My elbows look 15 years younger. And it's really helped with the dreaded Cairo Cankles (my feet swell up something horrible in the heat, and the scrubbing definitely helped to reduce that). Then we were showered down, and covered in a delicious smelling mask(?). I asked what it was made of, and I caught that it included rice and vanilla. Anyway, it was a white paste, that got smeared all over. Then it was more steaming... My fingers were a bit pruney by then!

I'd also arranged to have a massage, which was lovely. I like a soft massage for relaxation (therapeutic massage needs to be firm, of course, but when I'm having a massage for fun, I'd rather not be in pain). But it did mean that when I floated out of the massage room, everyone else had gone, and Nibal was the only one left, to get me back to the hotel! (I'm sure I could have managed, I've mastered giving taxi drivers instructions on where to go, although I have as much difficulty with left & right in Arabic as I do in English).

So I got back to the hotel, with enough time to get ready for the party at Yasmina's flat (so back out to Giza again!)

The party was excellent! The band was setting up as we arrived, and for once there was a lady musician, a qanunist. I've not seen a qanunist up close before, and I have to say, she had her job cut out tuning that baby! We got up and did a bit of dancing, but not long into the music, there was a request from a neighbour to keep the noise level down, as they were having a funeral. So all the mikes were removed, and apart from the keyboard, it was unplugged.

After a little while, Kay sidled up and muttered "Dandesh is here". Whooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! We fangirls *had* to go up and say hallo, and have our pictures taken (sadly my camera wasn't going to cut the mustard, so you'll just have to trust that I chatted with Dandesh). And then Hassan Hassan dropped in. It was celeb city!

We had performances from Heba (to be honest we had 3 pieces from her, which was maybe 1½ too many), Dandesh did a couple of pieces (and left shortly thereafter), just in her ordinary clothes, but she was as watchable as ever. We had Sa'aidi boys dancing, and getting us up to dance Sa'aidi with them. We had Yasmina dancing Ahwak for us. We had the lovely Nubian boys dancing their funky style Nubian (apparently Hassan was slightly tutting that that wasn't *real* Nubian!), and of course we got to get up and dance ourselves.

The food was delicious! And one of Yasmina's friends was just starting up a costume-making business, and we got to see some of her designs which were interestingly different and cute. Though, of course, by then we were all shopped out, and it was far too late to be thinking about more costumes!

The evening was over too quickly (again, because of the neighbours, Yasmina can't have the music too late). But the rest of the group were all going to be off at the crack of dawn in the morning, so it was no bad thing really.
Back at the hotel, my roomie, diva_c was packing up her cases, and I promised to bring anything she forgot up with me when I come to JoY in April.


[*] Aziz was saying no pants, but we compromised on me miming a very thin thong! I'm going to have to find some very very tiny pants to wear with this costume!

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