Friendship, Belly Dancing, Sandstorm and a Wedding.

by Lena

The Great Pyramid ~ by Zully Rosado

All photos of me, for the most part, were taken by amazing photographer, artist, world traveler, story teller and my friend, Zully Rosado.

Everyone who knew I was going to Cairo by myself, looked at me like I have completely lost it and in need of a medical treatment…

protesters in Tahrir Square, Cairo

” You’re going where? “, ” Alone?! ” , ” You need help! ”  …

were some reactions that I got from people.

In the mean time, right outside my widows in sunny Beverly Hills, I witness this -

There were hundreds of them .. they marched and shouted for hours … They want to be heard just like they do in Tahrir Square in Cairo and in other places all over the world…

 We, as people, are united by the same needs … even if we are on different sides of the globe…

No, this is not Cairo… Welcome to Beverly Hills, California …

So before you jump down my throat and tell me I’m nuts to go somewhere as “dangerous” as Cairo..

Take a look outside your own window…

I arrived in Cairo early in the morning and was greeted at the Airport by a very kind driver from Dina’s Hostel ( yes, I stayed in a hostel, which is actually better than some hotels ). It’s an amazing place in a gorgeous character building in the center of Cairo. I chose a very cozy private room with incredibly high ceilings, that make you think you’re in some kind of a cathedral. It’s so peaceful inside that I slept like a baby every single night.

Cozy simplicity at http://www.dinashostel.com

But I think a true highlight of this place are the people who work here! Each one of them will make sure you feel at home, helped and looked after. Dina is a wonderful lady who will offer her advice if you need it, she is a soul of this place and I’m so happy I made a decision to stay here.

Here’s my friends review of Dina’s Hostel  -

” Dinas Hostel is fantastic. The owner is lovely, the place is clean and the lift… interesting. Dina offered to take me to Tahrir Square on the day of the revolution. The receptionist got me to phone her at specific times throughout the day to make sure I was safe. How nice was that! ” ~ Darren Crawford – Daredevil, World Traveler, Storyteller & Photographer.

I also met a fellow blogger in Cairo – Zully Rosado. She lived and worked in Cairo for a few months.

By the way, I would love to meet all of you someday! .. it would be one hell of a party ; ) ..

Zully came to meet me at my place..

Knock on the door, I open it and we both scream in excitement : )

I told her I have something for her from Morocco ..

Moroccan earrings

She also had a Birthday surprise for me, that she made herself …

Beautiful incense holder with incense.

You can find more of Zully’s work ——>  HERE

We decided to go on a cruise that night on the Nile …

Ok, must admit, the food was shitty, and a singer was trying too hard to sing American songs in a really bad English… but we tried to make the best of our time on that ship anyway.. ” Ship Happens.. ”  you know.  It was too “touristy”.

But then we realized that we are sharing this cruise with a local wedding! I’ve never been at an Egyptian wedding before…

Have you?

There was also a little girl who stole the show with her dancing…

she’s teaching Sufi Dancer the moves

Her mom kept trying to get her off the dance floor … but she always came back … I guess she already found HER PASSION … Have you? …

Sufi Dancer

 After me and that little girl hit the floor, ship’s belly dancer could have gone home …

Can you tell that I have a  badly sprained ankle ?…

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After the cruise me and Zully went to now my favorite place in Cairo -  Khan el-Khalili

and got lost in the maze of it’s streets and alleyways..

I’m young, but I’m strong!

During the Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) some Muslims dip their hands in sheep, cows or goats blood and imprint their palms on entrance ways and walls in order to ward off bad luck and also it’s a symbol of giving thanks for the past year. These can be seen all over the city.

Behind The Green Door

we have the same eyeliner ..

craftsman’s shop

doesn’t it feel like Christmas ? ..

I am now addicted to Egyptian Cuisine! …

eating delicious Kushari and people watching on streets of Cairo is my favorite pastime ..

Everywhere I went, I heard ” Are you Cleopatra?! ” , ” Hello Cleopatra! ”  ..

Men in Cairo also kept asking if I’m married .. My answer was that  I have a boyfriend   and that they should get in line right after The Masai Warrior who wanted me to be his 11th wife…

All my life I dreamed of visiting one of the 7th Wonders Of The World — The Great Pyramid..

I was happy to share this experience with Zully.

We first stopped at a place where they make Papyrus. Our guide told me what my name means in Egyptian symbols –

E - Protective

L  – Powerful

E – Protective

                N – Romantic like water

A -  Powerful

And he said if you have same letters it means that those things dominate in your character.. Letters L & A have same significance.

 It’s true, I am actually very protective of those I care about ( sometimes even overly protective )

Learned how to make Papyrus

And then off we went to The Giza Pyramids

Past & Present

I loved the fact, that Cairo had barely any tourists! Guess they’re all staying at home and watching the news about how dangerous it is in Cairo…

Well, it’s actually the opposite of what they show you on TV…

It’s more dangerous in some parts of Los Angeles, than it will ever be in Cairo…

This is another reason why I have been TV free for over 3 years!

I can’t afford to be misinformed …

Now, you do the math of how much money I saved in 3 years without cable …

Exactly! So stop crying about how expensive travel is!

When we arrived it was calm…

however as we were entering the tombs, a very powerful force covered us with sand..

Inside the Tombs, hiding from storm

When life throws you Sandstorm , make … a photo shoot!

Zully embracing the wind

For those who don’t know,

this means ” stop selling me your crap ” in sign language …

Persistent souvenir sellers and some really dishonest cab drivers of Cairo didn’t know what hit them — They were dealing with two women who have Russian, Armenian, Asian, Spanish and a few others bloods running through their passionate veins …

too bad for them .. : )

What can I say, they were dealt a very unlucky hand ~ the wrong kinda women for their hassle games …

Here’s one of my favorite shots of Zully –

And I think this is Zully’s favorite shot of me …

Walking towards The Great Pyramid is a an experience in itself… My whole being could feel it’s magnificence.

Zully captured me hugging the Pyramid

I felt so incredibly at peace just sitting there …

The Giza Pyramids are alive and their powerful soul is humbling. You can feel the captivating energy of those giants.

Zully and I explored the tombs inside The Great Pyramid

touching ancient Egyptian stone carvings

I have to tell you what Zully said when we first met ;

” I knew that if I had the chance to explore Cairo with you, I should grab it! Because I knew that there would be a lot of adventures .. ” – or something like that.

She had no idea what she got herself into …

I told Zully to grab her camera and follow me, because I saw a great place for pictures …

or so I thought at the time ..

several camel drivers who were peacefully sitting by the pyramids and enjoying their food, warned me not to climb, saying

” Dangerous!! “

” ha! great! ” I said and climbed anyway …

Zully took a couple of shots, thinking ” How the hell is she going to get down from there ? ” …

Yes, I was stuck..

But fear not, the camel driver who warned me a few minutes ago hurried over and rescued this damsel in distress …

I said thank you and gave him a hug.

He replied with; ” I’m the luckiest man in the world today … “

Doesn’t his camel looks just a tad jealous in this picture? …

My prince, the rescuer and his camel! … classic! : ))

The Great Sphinx of Giza & The Pyramid of Khafre.

         After the Sandstorm we went to our favorite place in all Cairo – Khan el-Khalili

Egyptian Textile Museum

Mosque of Al Aqmar

Zully was amazed at my bartering skills … I always take half or more off the original price…

*** Don’t look too interested , say that you saw the same item half the price somewhere else and will go to that shop, offer less than half the price and go up to half the price if you sense that you have to and this is the most important advice — ALWAYS be prepared to walk away …

I can’t tell you how many times I walked away, only to find myself being chased by the shop seller ready to give me the item almost for free …

However always remember that his kids need to eat too…

Antique Store

That night we went to explore the local nightlife with Zully’s friend who also presented us with flowers -

We all went into one of the local Bar / Restaurant

and played a few games of pool…

and Action!

then went upstairs for drinks and entertainment -

I think I’m missing a belly for the Belly Dance …

I even tried my hand at dancing with metal castanets… wood ones are so much easier

Zully also kept asking me to do ” that sound ” — the kind of sound that Arab women make with their tongues …

This sound is called ” Ululation ” In Arab countries ululation is commonly used by women to express celebration…

and for some reason I know how to do it properly…

you can see me performing Ululation in this video …

The next day I spend exploring Cairo and it’s Historical sights solo ~

The Mohammed Ali Mosque ( Citadel of Salah ad-Din )

In solitude by The Mohammed Ali Mosque.

Old Cairo

Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan

Old Cairo is UNESCO World Heritage Site ~

Coptic Cemetery in Old Cairo.

Visited The Hanging Church known also as St. Mary’s Church and put candles in ” rest in peace ” area for my dad and grandma and for ” health ” area for the rest of my family.

Inside St. Mary’s Church

Walked around the Old Cairo, people watching, taking pictures and looking through Antique stores for unique items … found a very old Egyptian money coin with a hook for necklace … They gave me a price of 200 Egyptian Pounds ( it’s 30 US $ )

I laughed and told them 1 US $ and not a cent more!  After about 10 minutes of some serious barter he gave it to me for 3 US $… What can I say…

I’m stubborn!

Devil Woman from ” The City Of The Dead ” , Cairo

The coin is really gorgeous and I tried to look for something like it all over Cairo, but nothing came even close. It’s very old and I got it from UNESCO Site!

cat’s  & antiques

I always wear that coin now –

The next stop was Al-Azhar Park. It’s an amazing place to get away from the hassle and bustle of the city and relax with friends, family and your other half …

Cairo ~ City Of Love

” The Proposal ” ( will she say yes? .. )

Of course I had to get in the fountain .. The boy is thinking ” Lady, you’re too old for this! ” ..

Friendship & Veils

It’s a wonderful place for a picnic! Saw several groups of college and school students celebrating Birthdays, dancing, singing and laughing. Girls in veils playing ball in a circle.

Fallen Beauty

My last day in Cairo I spent with Zully just walking around Cairo and getting lost in chaos and love of this city.

Here’s Zully’s post about our Cairo adventure -

Exploring Cairo with my Travel Hero…

We saw how artists make Mother Pearl souvenirs …

Thank you dear Zully for bringing me joy and sharing your soul with me!

You are an incredible lady with so much strength, class and character!

After Sandstorm, Dancing, Dealing with a few crazy situations, Wedding, Sharing food, stories, tears and laughs,

Having similar passions,

and being ok when completely lost …

our

Friendship was born …

Keep sharing your Light, Zully!

_____________________

 The woman behind the words …

” Things “

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