Day 6: Laundry and Melaya

Today was another wonderful day. I had the morning off from classes which allowed me to sleep in. 

We walked back to the ballroom ton purchase dvds of our performance. We spoke as best as we could to the videographer who was excited to share he was the primary videographer for the Reda troupe. Reda troupe is one of the national folkloric troupes of Egypt. It’s a big deal. I would love nothing more than to see them perform. It would be like going to see the Russian ballet in Russia. But our new friend was happy to show us short snippets of his film of Reda troupe. We explained to him how special his job was to preserve this most important cultural work. I would have gladly traded my film of me for theirs. More than anything on this trip I’ve learned to always talk to people about their lives and work. It has entirely shaped mine and Melissa’s experience. I doubt many other dancers were given a glimpse into this man’s amazing work and life. It was and honor.

I spent the afternoon handwashing all of my clothing in the sink. I brought soap and a sink stopper, and purchased a stetchy portable line that is braided so you can weave corners of the garments in the braid preventing the need for clips. Normally I wouldn’t have done laundry on vacation, but we have a whole week in Canada of more dancing after this trip.

I’m sure my washing skills are quite sad compared to women back in the day, but I can see why and how strong they were. My arms are still aching, but the smell of clean laundry is worth it. I also realized I brought entirely too much clothing, because I wasn’t sure what to expect or wear. Next time I’d pack more neutral clothes and a few bright accents, solid black yoga pants than can be worn a few times before washing or maybe only three pairs so I can wash two while wearing the last one. Then I’d never have quite so much laundry to do in one sitting. There are a few things I haven’t worn yet, and now all the clothes are clean. Further proof I could have left with less stuff and had more room for souvenirs. 

This afternoon Melissa and I took a 3 hour melaya class with Ahmed Fakry. He kicked our butts with technique and choreography. I needed this so much. I needed to be drilled and corrected. It’s hard to set aside class time in Phoenix and there isn’t anyone who specializes in folkloric. I’ve wanted to learn melaya for years. I had a fantastic time and Ahmed is a wonderful teacher. He breaks down movement and describes musculature. I recommend him for future workshops.

We almost didn’t make it to the other side of this class, but pushing through was worth it. After class we visited two of the vendors because one texted me he had some of the costume making materials we requested. They actually hadn’t arrived yet when we got there, but in typical salesman fashion they convinced me to buy an elegant party galabeya instead. I’d had my eye on one since Las Vegas last fall, but the $450 price tag was unreal. But “for a good friend” I snagged one for the sumly price of $50. Buying things here in Egypt where they are made is another worth of possibility for me.

We headed happily back to our room, still tired and sweaty from melaya class. Melissa and I have been making rice and beans in our crockpot she added in black beans and sausage slices tonight for a hotel – room jumbalaya. Wine and chocolate finished it all off nicely. Another successful day has come to a close. 


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