"Hey Kent, it's Farzina's friend Vimel. Can you take me to the bellydancers tonight?"
Now there's a message you don't want to see 3 days after being soundly embarrassed by a pregnant woman in front of rich Arabs. I had this chilling feeling inside that if I took Vimel back to Palmyra, something bad was going to happen. There was just no way I was going to show my face in that establishment for a long, long time.
But what alternative was there? I wasn't aware of any other bellydancing places in the neighbourhood. My brain was on overdrive for most of the afternoon trying to figure out what I could possibly do to get myself out of returning to that place. Besides, frequenting these places isn't exactly a classy thing to do. It's like going to the strip club in Canada twice in 4 days....
Luckily, or perhaps unluckily ... I'm not sure I will ever know ... Vimel is one of those people that throws caution to the wind and does things like preparing her own food at the fatira place and packing her own coffee at the coffee place. Such interaction in these places was likely to translate to the bellydancing place. If you stop to think about what "interaction" might mean in this context....
As we walked, gingerly I might add, in the general direction of Palmyra, my hopes rested on whether or not the two places beside Palmyra had bellydancing. We were greeted by the "security" outside the Palmyra entrance, at which point I inquired about the other two places. Turned out that both had what we were looking for. Excellent.
We took a look at the first place. Meame Night Club. Upon entry, all I could see was what looked like a 16 yr old girl wearing not a lot. The guy who ushered us in said, "We just started. This is the first dancer." We learned that it was only a 5 LE entry fee, as opposed to the 35 LE fee at Palmyra. The other place was just as sleazy, minus the 16 yr old girl. It was slightly more expensive, but it was empty. After careful consideration, we chose the former place. And what a good choice it turned out to be.
"We should get up on stage and dance." Surprise, surprise. Those were the first words out of Vimel's mouth. What a girl. At least the statement was quickly followed by, "Beer, please!" We discussed the possibility of some stage work. Drums seemed a bit more up my alley, but Vimel had her heart set on teaching the bellydancer bhangra.
Our plans were delayed a bit due to the finest bellydancer I have ever seen. Her hips were seemingly disconnected from her body. She could move them so freely and expertly. She also didn't look Egyptian, or Arab for that matter. In any case, she deserved numerous applause and helwa's (nice one) for her effort. At one point during her performance, one of the guys got up on stage and showed us how Egyptian men dance when nobody is watching. This provoked the only female spectator in the house, Vimel, to give him 5 LE.
Finally our time came. I asked one of the servers if we could go up to the stage. He eagerly obliged, unsurprisingly. I went straight to one of the drummers, while Vimel took the stage. She seemed a bit confused, so we lasted only a couple of minutes.
That didn't stop Vimel, though. We had another beer or two, and this time we went up when the bellydancer was on stage. I spent about one minute proving to the spectators that I was not cut out for bellydancing, and receded to the drums. Vimel, on the other hand, put on a show. She must've spent ten minutes mixing bhangra moves with Egyptian moves. At one point, she was showered with 5 LE notes by the guy she had given 5 LE to earlier.
After a round of applause, we went back to our seats. We sat there for another 30 minutes before saying our goodbyes and leaving. As much as I would like to keep my promise of going back, I'm not sure this is something I should be doing very often. Makes for a great story, though.