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cairo-aysh baladi on racks copy

If there is one food that is essential to most Arabs, it is bread and nowhere is it more essential than in Cairo which I like to call the city of bread. Wherever you go, you will see bread being baked, or sold, or consumed or simply carried home a little like the ubiquitous French baguette, except that in Egypt it is aysh baladi or shami that is the national loaf. Aysh means life indicating the importance of bread — elsewhere in the Arab world bread is called khobz — while baladi means local; it describes bread made with wholewheat flour while shami which means Levantine describes bread made with regular white flour.

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I have a new favourite belly dancer. She will not replace Tahiya of course but I just found her on youtube and I love her. I love her perfectly formed body and her sexy yet elegant movement. And I love the mise en scene and how her gorgeous body is shot en silhouette before it appears on the stage of what must have been a very upmarket night club, in the film at least. I wonder why she never became a big star. She appeared in only a dozen films. Perhaps she married and had lots of children and decided to devote her life to them. Our loss!



Everyone is celebrating in Egypt (well, not Mubarak and his cohort!!) and many must be dancing. It is a momentous day, for the Egyptians and for the rest of the Arab world. And to celebrate with the Egyptians, I am turning to one of their greatest stars and my favourite belly dancer, Tahiya Carioca. Mabruk Egypt and mabruk to the Egyptian people. You make us all proud :).



A French friend once told me that dancing was the vertical expression of horizontal intentions. I can’t dance. So, if I need to express such intentions, I have to resort to other means! But Tahiya Carioca sure can. And the way she expresses it is beyond sexy, and without being in the least bit vulgar. The more I watch her videos, the more I wonder why I ever thought she was. It must have been my silly French convent school in Beirut that made me seriously prejudiced against belly dance then. Too bad. I missed out on seeing her in real life when I could have.