Sunday, May 1, 2011

Circus in Cairo, Egypt

Cameron and I went to the circus tonight in Cairo.  It was a fun, family-centered event. 

I read that all the performers were Egyptian. The audience was all Egyptian too aside from us. The narration of the circus is all in Arabic, but the acts don't need translation so it's enjoyable for everyone. Cameron liked the show. He thought the clown, whose unicycle kept falling apart, was very funny. He also liked the jugglers. He wasn't quite as impressed overall with the circus because he compared it to another circus we saw in the U.S. that was slicker with more special effects. This show is mainly people who have worked hard to cultivate some circus kind of skill. There's a live band playing above the ring which is pretty loud but you get used to it.

We got there a little late so missed the first act or two.  The unicycling men were in the ring when we arrived.

 This next juggler balanced a pyramid of wine glasses on a tray with a stick.
 This act involved men walking around on ladders with one even dancing a bit on the ladder.
 Some of the acts were quite dangerous with performers at high heights with no net.  Below are some photos of a kid who looked to be about 10-12 years old doing hanging poses from about 20+ feet high.  Cameron and I were both watching anxiously.

 Here's the high wire act.  They road a bike on the wire, walked across it while blind-folded and while standing on one another's shoulders. 
 I thought the lions and tigers were pretty impressive. There were 5-6 of these enormous cats in the ring with the woman lion tamer and she handled them well. She shook hands/paws with one, had others jumping from pedestal to pedestal, and had another jump on her back on his way out of the ring. She never hit them either which I liked. One of the tigers roared at her a couple times. These big cats are strong and amazing animals.  

One thing that was sad to see was the baby lion that was brought out to pose for photos with children and adults. I think this lion must have been drugged because he just lay in the man's arms totally limp while one child after another posed beside him or was held on his back for a photo. Just the repeated flashes alone must have been hard for the animal, but there was no complaint. From a distance, it wasn't clear that the animal was even a living animal, but I saw its eyes open and shut when it went by so I know it was. I wondered if it was this same baby lion who was brought out night after night with 2-3 shows per night.

Here are the logistics if you would like to go to the circus.

The circus has at least two shows every night, the first being at 8pm. I think the next one is at 10:30pm or so, but I'm not sure. The cost is 50 LE (Egyptian pounds) for the seats next to the ring, 30 LE for the seats behind those (which are about 15-20 feet from the ring) and 20 LE for seats in the back, which are still decent seats since they're only about 25-30 feet from the ring. (The prices seem to be for any age and there's no discount for students.) The Circus is located on the Nile, next to the balloon theater. If you take the metro, get off at the Dokki metro stop, it's a 5-10 LE taxi cab right from there (depending on traffic).

There was a person going around the ring selling popcorn, soda, chips, water and juice and I think I saw a snackbar outside of the tent.

All in all, I thought this was a fun event and one that kids and adults alike would enjoy.  Everybody there seemed to like the show.  I'll be posting the short videos I took at the show in the next couple days.

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