The whirling dervish

Trip Start Sep 07, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Monday, March 27, 2006

I left Dahab last night in a mini-van with 7 others heading for Cairo. I realized I always think back on these journeys as beng uneventful, but I suppose it depends on what your definition of uneventful happens to be! Getting out of Sinai you have to pass through a series of security points, basically a bunch of military guys standing around the road holding large guns, blocking the road with pylons. At some of them they check everyone's passports and documents. Unfortunately, at about the third one, one of the security officers decided that the paperwork of one of the girl's in the van was not in order.

What ensued was a loud yelling match, between an Arabic girl in the van and the guy who apparently decided the paperwork was forged. In the end, he did relent, and agreed that it was in order and let us go. The general consensus after the fact was that it probably would have gone a lot faster if she has just given the guys some money!

Then, with about 2 hours left in the trip, we got a flat tire. I was completely unaware, as I was dead asleep, until they dropped the van off the jack and we crashed to the ground with a jolt. No damage done, but everyone sleeping was definitely awake.

We arrived in to Cairo about 6am, where our driver had conveniently forgotten how to get to the hotel he was supposed to be driving me to! Not what you want to hear at 6am, as there are not many places to go. We sorted it pretty quickly, and when I arrived there was someone to meet me so it all worked out fine.

I spent the morning catching up on some sleep, and then headed to the Egyptian museum. This is the main attraction after the pyramids. It is the strangest place! There are so many artifacts in there, a lot not even enclosed or roped off or anything. Most of them have no description or means of identification. It's amazing though, completely unbelievable how advanced a society they were thousands of years ago! I snuck a picture of this one wooden sculpture on my cell phone camera (no cameras allowed!) that is 4600 years old, but looks like it might be 200 years old. There were stone tablets, mummies, tools, pottery, jewellery, sculptures, tombs, paintings, could keep you busy for days!

In the evening 2 other girls from the hotel and I went on a dinner cruise down the Nile. It was a buffet dinner (the food was actually really good!) and as mood music during dinner there was a local girl and guy singing while another guy played keyboard. The thing was, they were, ahem, singing, songs like the theme song from Titantic! Arabic accent out of tune singing Celine Dion, not the best combination! The general consesus was: painful.

Things improved dramatically after dinner though, when a group of drummers and a belly dancer showed up. Both were very entertaining! The belly dancer got most people up dancing, and one of the drummers passed out a bunch of drums and made a huge band of the audience. It went on for a long time, and everyone was laughing and having a great time. Lots of shouting, laughing, and cheering.

The final act was a Soufi dancer, or Whirling Dervish. This is a guy with a really wide skirt who dances while twirling in a circle for like 25 minutes! It's pretty crazy. I would have hurled after the first minute or two for sure. Hence, he is doing it, and I have not pursued it as a career!
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