Impressions and Observations

Cairo Costumiers Dancing

In January 2003 Ali Ali from Adelaide showed 23 Aussies, one Kiwi, and a South African the wonders of Egypt in 17 days. As all were either belly dancers or their partners, added to the standard 10 pyramids, 7 temple sites, 5 tombs, 3 museums, felucca and camel rides, some sphinxes, a Nubian village, catacombs, a citadel, a fort, a mosque, a Nile cruise – in short the standard tourist fare – were 4 belly dance shows (photos - or comment), visits to a variety of costumiers including Madame Abla and Aida Nour, and a walk down Mohammed Ali Street.

First up, I have to say that Ali made a great tour leader. We were looked after every step of the way. Either himself or Magdy was always available and we also had the services of two professional guides (one in Cairo/Alexandria and one in Upper Egypt) who could answer a variety of questions from "what are those big salt-shakers?" (they were pigeon coops) to "how can you tell if the carving is Isis or Hathor?" (both can have wings and sun disks but Isis is depicted with a chair, Hathor (protector of Horus) with a falcon and a house).

The group was great as well. I knew many of them from the Winter Warm-ups but some were new including my roommate, Suzie, who was very easy to get on with. In fact, most of the group were pretty easy going and always ready to have a good time (when they weren’t ill – most of the group came down with intestinal problems for at least part of the trip).

What follows are personal observations, if you want facts you'll find them more on the photo pages.