It has been a very busy week, and a very bizarre weekend! This is mostly dance related I have to say…Wednesday saw Al Bahiyya performing at Clwb Cabaret at The Greek Taverna. We performed 5 dances – Eyes Like Yours, Bad Romance, Thurayya (my solo), Roustabout and Lasha Tumbai. Videos of all the performances all available to watch on Youtube now on Al Bahiyya’s fancy new channel 😛 Just search AlBahiyyaBellydance and you should find it! Roustabout especially looks brilliant in that setting – the lighting looks so eerie! As usual, my dancers did me so proud 🙂
Then this weekend five of us went on ‘tour’ to Lancaster to dance in the ‘Habibis at Haflancaster’ event organised by the LUBells from Lancaster University. Initially we were meant to travel by car, but a last minute technical problem meant that we had to find alternative transport. Despite the high cost we decided to take the train just so we could actually go. After sorting out railcards, tickets and luggage we were off on the 5pm train. The first part of the journey went smoothly enough – we all read or did puzzles or listened to music. Then we had to change at Chester where there had been a ‘day at the races’. This meant a lot of slightly (and more than slightly) drunk middle aged adults in a confined space. Not fun Luckily we found somewhere to sit that was next to quiet people and only had about half an hour to Warrington bank Quay. I recognised the name of this station but couldn’t remember why; until I stepped onto the platform. I had spent a very chilly evening on a platform waiting for my train to Penrith last Summer. This time the train was delayed by ten minutes, and was also the transport picked by some of the Chester race goers. The train was packed so we ended up squished in the corridor bit with three ‘tipsy’ ladies. That was an interesting half hour…we covered lots of subjects. Three times. They were quite funny, but it was a bit awkward at the same time. I was glad when they got off at Preston!
Finally we arrived in Lancaster at about 8.15pm. Just as we left the station I bumped into someone from school who is at Uni there! The chances of that happening are how small exactly?! Just added to our already bizarre day. We trundled our way through town, following my paper instructions and Bex’s SatNav, and finally found the Dalton Rooms. From the outside it just looked like a bar so we were a bit confused, but we asked and were shown through to the function room. The room looked amazing…lovely atmosphere for a Hafla 🙂 We had arrived later than we had planned so had minimal time to change and get ready…so much so I was still putting in contact lenses and putting on make-up as the first act started! It was so nice to see so many different styles and dances in one place. We performed Dum Tek Tek in the first half….to big cheers from the room 🙂 I was glad my top stayed in place…I hadn’t had a chance to try it out beforehand! The rest of the first half included veils, fans and even a candelabra!
The interval was for social dancing, but we didn’t get a chance to go and dance because of getting changed. I thought there would be more afterwards, but I turned out to be wrong. We were second in the second half, following a solo from one of the LUBells dancers, which was really good 🙂 Roustabout also went down well…completely different from everything else we had seen or were going to see that evening! But then, we thought that would be the case! After us we saw other brilliant solos, finishing with a wonderful ‘star performer’ who was mesmerising! I also knew the first piece of music she used…we use it for our warm ups 😛
After the show and we were changed we went in search of food 🙂 A cheap takeaway was our destination – cheesy chips and donor kebabs at 11pm 😛 Then we started the palava of trying to get a taxi for the five of us. Everywhere was either unavailable or didn’t take five people. The takeaway owner offered to drive us and it was at this point we asked random people on the street for more taxi numbers! Eventually we got hold of one about two minutes away who said they would see if they could sort something out. While waiting we were questioned by an old drunk man outside the taxi rank…well I say he was drunk, he may just have been extremely friendly 😛 We got a minibus at two minutes to midnight and were soon on our way to the Travelodge at Morecambe. The taxi driver was telling us about old warehouse fires (one had gone up as we arrived in Lancaster…announcing our arrival perhaps? :P) and the history of Morecambe and Lancaster. Interesting, but I was so tired I just wanted sleep and quiet! Checked in easily, sorted out rooms and went to bed fairly soon after.
Saturday, we were up at 9am and getting ready to look round Morecambe. First stop was Wetherspoons for breakfast. Yummy 🙂 Then we headed to the Promenade to find Eric Morecambe and pose with him and read the floor which was covered in quotes and lines from their sketches. There were also lots of metal seagulls around the place 🙂 Then we went to the beach for a walk, and wrote ‘Al Bahiyya’ in the sand to show we were there. I found a little crab shell too…not the easiest thing to transport back but it did survive more or less back to Bangor! We spent the rest of the morning looking round the charity shops before heading back to the Travelodge to collect our stuff and check out.
A short train from Morecambe to Lancaster later and we were back to trundling suitcases over cobbles and paving slabs. Not sure I have much suitcase left anymore! We walked past the castle and the priory, enjoying the scenery and taking pictures for tourists 😛 All the little streets in Lancaster are so pretty! We also found a dress made out of old books in a shop window…very nice 🙂 Along the main street was a market with lots of amazing looking and smelling food, and some really pretty bits and pieces. I was very good and didn’t buy much at all! Lunch was Chicken Biryani…so good!! We looked round the shops, taking it in turns to look after the luggage until we got tired and hungry. We found a little coffee shop for cake and coffee before heading back to the station.
Our journey back was problem free generally speaking…just it got very warm on the train – we were all nearly asleep! By the time we got back to Bangor we were all really sleepy and headed to mine for a cuppa and to watch the Britain’s Got Talent final. A good end to a really amazing 26 and a half hours away from Bangor!
‘I always try to improve, to find new ways of expressing myself, to keep looking for truth and originality.’ ~Burt Lancaster