June 30, 2007

40 Days and 1001 Nights update

    It's been nearly two years since this project began and finally, the book is on its way... Like a baby after a 22 month pregnancy!
    I'm in Egypt at the moment, at the yearly Ahlan Wasahlan bellydance festival. It's bigger and more sparkly than ever! In contrast, right before the festival, Denise and I led a group of ten women through many varied and amazing deserts for five days, sleeping under the stars and seeing dance from three different oases. We called it the "Million Star Hotel." Even a five star hotel cannot compare to sleeping in the Sahara. 
    The White Desert is always the most amazing part- You can read about my first visit to the White Desert by scrolling down to the Siwa Oasis, January, 2006 entries of this blog. That was in the winter. In summer, mischevious little desert foxes love to cause mayhem. Last year, they broke my glasses in half. This year, I walked way out into the desert, past two of our group members posing on rocks in bellydance costumes. I walked on and found two mis matched sandals- one pink and one gold, belonging to the dancers. The foxes had stolen them from our campsite and I was lucky to happen upon them. The matching gold one had the sequins chewed off, and the matching pink one was never found. The foxes were so cute that we couldn't get mad at them.
    The 1001 Nights fund is on its second project, bringing instruments from Egypt to Zanzibar for Africas oldest band, the Ikhwani Safaa Musical Club. Along with Luka from Loony Bin Films, and his assistant, Bozak, we went to Cairo's famed Mohammed Ali Street, where all the instrument makers live, and obtained violins, flutes, percussion instruments, and an oud, which I will carry to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on Monday night. The group still needs a cello and a double bass, so if anyone knows of possible donations or ways to get those instruments from the US or Asia, please let me know.
     Have a great summer and keep checking in. I'll update this blog every week or ten days while on the road.
P.S. The documentary film, concert DVD, music, and al of my other DVD's are now available on my website through Paypal. www.tamalyndallal.com