Maybe You're Gonna Be the One that Saves Me
Trip Start Sep 07, 2008
148Trip End Dec 09, 2008
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When we arrived at the boat, our driver pointed at the gangplank and said, "Wedding." It took a few minutes for us to realize that in the middle of the huge group of people on the gangplank was a bride in a huge sparkly white dress, and her groom, dancing. All around them, the band was banging drums and people were clapping and making honest-to-goodness celebratory ululations. We had to walk through this throng to get inside the boat, and I was amazed at how gracious the wedding group was to let us watch and clap and walk through. One older woman actually made eye contact with me, smiled a huge smile, and gestured to invite me to clap along. Later I read that Thursdays are the traditional days for Egyptian weddings, and that strangers are often invited to join in the celebration
Eventually we got onto the boat, and they had a live band. Mostly it sounded to be Arabic music, but during dinner the drummer busted out a faithful and rather haunting version of "Wonderwall" by Oasis.
After dinner, a new band took the floor and a belly dancer came out. The guidebook says that the bellydance performers on tourist ships like this one are usually not Egyptian, since there are no public schools of bellydance instruction in this country, and it is not considered a seemly profession for good Egyptian women. She was blonde with dark roots, and never spoke, so she could have been from anywhere. She danced several songs.
Then a tanura act, the entertainment version of the Sufi whirling dervish meditation, came out. The two men were turning around and around for what felt like more than an hour, puffing out their very large, multicolored skirts in varying artistic patterns. The main dancer even untied the skirt and whirled it over his head while telling jokes and performing magic tricks.
During and after dinner, we noticed that everyone was being very attentive to a well-dressed couple a few tables behind us
The belly dancer came back out for the last act of the evening, and her assistants pulled people from the crowd to dance around her. Wreath of Roses loves Arabic music and was itching to move, so she did not demur when she was invited into the circle. It was a riotous end to the evening to watch her dancing so happily.