Friday, March 23, 2012

Kate on the Loose: Cairo, Part 3

 My good friend, Kate, is on a solo trip in Egypt. On March 16, she wrote:

On the plane a woman was talking about a Sufi (whirling dervishes) dance that was not to be missed.  So after the Giza tour, I left by taxi to go - taxi driver was unsure of place but got me there. 

A man approached and told me where it was but not for another hour.  He offered to show me the mosque nearby.  He took me all the way up to the roof - wonderful view.  As we were leaving I offered to make a donation to the mosque; with a smile, he said no, to give it to him.  Ah, the baksheesh (tipping everyone). 

He then took me to his friend's restaurant, who made pizza that made you eat your fingers (maybe he meant lick your fingers; maybe not).

Along the way I was introduced to one of the drummers from the Sufi performance.  He would give me a CD of the performance after.  During dinner the friend told me about life in Egypt and how hard it's been since the revolution.  He would meet me after the performance and show me some handicrafts and a jewelry factory.  Better to buy Egyptian than Chinese - that made sense, but I didn't plan to buy anything.  So I followed these two men all through the dark alleyways of the souk and bought jewelry, papyrus paintings, and inlaid boxes.   How's that for not buying anything.  

At one point I ran out of money and they were gracious enough to find an ATM.  But it was fun and I have pictures of the craftsman making the items.  At the end of the evening I offered a tip to them, of course.  The saying is "whatever your heart says - but couldn't it say a bit more," this in regard to the tip.  

The Sufi performance was entrancing, beautiful, and unlike anything I've ever seen.  The drumming was unbelievable.  One Sufi whirled for 15 minutes.  It's a religious experience that's supposed to put them in a trance.  Got back home about 10:30-what an experience.

More to come.  Did I mention I'm now in Luxor, sitting at the hotel rooftop deck, overlooking the beautiful blue Nile? 

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