Friday, March 25, 2011

Grooving in Gelabiyas

♥ H.B. David The crew of the Princess Donia really took a liking to me

The Princess Donia was a real budget-buster, but we splurged to celebrate my 30th birthday.  And because we regularly trotted this out when negotiating the price of the trip everyone – the front office, the back office, the crew, the chef, the captain, and probably most of the fisherman cruising the Nile – was well aware that I was celebrating my birthday with them.  This also pleased Jesse, who relished asking the staff how old I was (thirty) and then pointing out that she was my younger wife, in her mere twenties.

Gelabiya?  Strawberry shortcake? Celebrating with new friends on the banks of Nile?
Exactly how I always imagined my 30th birthday.
To celebrate the big 3-0 the Princess Donia went all out.  After dinner one evening we heard a loud drumming and the entire crew, in their dress-whites or fanciest gelabiya, marched up the steps and pulled me to my feet.  They cranked the boom box and as we all danced around produced a fantastic birthday cake and, as a present, my very own galebeya.  I threw it on, the crew tied the turban for me, and everyone started dancing.

I am dancing with our friend Madu, the creator of the towel-animals, and one of the happiest men we have ever met

 Like any proud Egyptian I finished the night off smoking a large hookah.

I love a sheesha!
Ed looks a little jealous doesn't he?

To show just how much I loved the present from the crew I wore it sightseeing the next day.  No one, and I mean no one, believed that I was American.  Not my (near) perfect English, my complete lack of Arabic, or the five other Americans I traveled with could convince the passerbys, policemen, or shop-keepers who insisted I was Egyptian.  Well, its good to blend...

Reservoir Egyptian Tourists.  And Dave.
 Below are some more photos from the fun.  Some of these photos are from the following night when the crew threw a galaybia party, whose main purpose so far as I could tell was to encourage guests to borrow and the purchase these handsome garments.

Looking swarthy as ever
 And two more of my touring as a native:

Touring like a native

A policeman was standing just outside the frame of this photo.  When he started speaking to me in Arabic I simply smiled and asked if he spoke English, but he did not.  He continued speaking in Arabic until I told him I was from America and did not speak Arabic.  After that he just stared at me with the skepticism I'd expect from someone who thinks they may be on Punk'd or Candid Camera (for our older readers)

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