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My Dear fans,

I’ve promised you a juicy post about a certain hidden Moulin rouge amidst the streets of Cairo. I will repeat for those of you who missed the earlier posts.

At the intersection of Syria and Sudan, (those are street names, just in case) lies embedded a shimmering microcosm of the world.

The only picture I could get with my phone

“Sit El Koll”, the name of said cabaret translates to “Everyone’s Lady”; conveniently the place really is what the name suggests.

The first time I stepped in I was so intrigued that I ran my own little tiny investigation on the inner workings of this place. I have been a customer for three separate visits and can now safely spread my observations.

The first things that catch your attention are the sparkling blue and red lights draping the walls and ceiling. Not to mention the “Happy Birthday” signs they have had up for God knows how long.

I will proceed by describing the characters you would find inside. Please note I have grouped them and named them as I see fit.

The entertainers:

What appeared to be the lowest class of female entertainment were all wearing red and black. The entertainers flow from table to table drinking and flirting with the customers, occasionally dancing for them.

That is their sole purpose.

They are not especially good looking. One has gap teeth, many are overweight, and some are just plain gross.

There were a couple pretty ones. One must have been new because I caught the “Patrona” (we are getting to her) dancing with her in front of one of the valued customers as if she were guiding her or flaunting her in front of him.

The singers/money makers:

The singers are slightly prettier, way more classy. One sported a long skintight leopard dress; another wore a leather white suite. The singers get up on stage and spend the first fifteen minutes saluting the guests. A waiter stands behind her to the left and whispers in her ear the country of the guests on each table. I referred to Sit El Koll as a microcosm earlier for a specific reason. Each table is usually representative of a different country: Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen etc… Most of the Arab countries gathered under one roof in the name of entertainment.

While singing the guests have the option of showering the singer with money. Literally, showering her with it. If the guest likes what he sees or hears he often walks up to the front of the stage, throws money at her like rice at a wedding. For as long as the guest is flicking bills, the singer is repeating his name: “Abou Ahmad Abou Ahmad Abou Ahmad Abou Ahmad Abou Ahmad Abou Ahmad Abou Ahmad” or sometimes they say the country “Ya Hala bi Libya, Libya, Libya”.  The singer said “Death to Qaddafi” and the Libyan threw his entire stash of cash.

This one man walked up to the stage, grabbed the singer’s hand and in the other hand he began draping a carpet of money in front of her feet and leading her over it by her hand.

The third time we went, we were a large table of Lebanese. One of the very important guests welcomed us by showering our table with money several times.

Now don’t worry we didn’t get to keep the money. There is one man whose only job is to pick up the money that is thrown; I call him the cleaner.

The system works as follows. A guest would give the waiter let’s say 2000 Egyptian pounds. The place would keep 200 EGPs and brings him the rest in fives to throw on the girls of his choice. When the cleaner picks up the money he counts it and places it in a box. All that money goes to the cabaret except a mere 5% that goes to the singer. If the guest decides to shower her with money without going through the cabaret, she gets to keep a third of the amount.

The Patrona:

The big boss! And I do mean BIG. The patrona is the boss; she owns the cabaret and trains the girls. Although she is a roughly big woman, she can dance like no other. You can spot her a mile away as she reeks of pride and superiority. She constantly lurks around the cabaret observing and evaluating.

The Hunchback:

The hunchback is a waiter with a slightly deformed physique. He brings fruits like guavas, bananas oranges and strawberries to the table, along with another tray of nuts, chips and pretzels. He also brings us tea or alcohol should we wish it. He constantly lurks around our table in a “Lurch” type manner.

Team Bonni:

Turn to your left, turn to your right, men are rolling hash cigarettes right on the table. This one man ran out of rolling paper and ordered it from the waiter. Sure enough the waiter pulls out a new pack and sells it to him. Amsterdam, you got nothing on Egypt when it comes to bonni!

That’s all for now folks…

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