Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All Things Middle Eastern

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Current mood: pleased

Okay, so it's taken me almost a week to sit down to write about this years All Things Middle Eastern (:

I'll start off by saying I had such a wonderful time last year that I brought my husband along with me this time! And had my friend, our neighbor, watching our boys from Friday night through Sunday morning so we could go on our first couples event.

It wasn't in the same location as last years-- two hours further away, but let me tell you! It's a -beautiful- site! This is a camp ground that built WITH nature and it's truly lovely to play in. We're even thinking of driving up there with the boys later this summer just to visit and go around some of the walking trails. The cabins are nice...though if you're going to be on the top bunks, it'd be nice to have an easier way to get up there then monkeying up the end (LOL). So we got there at 11:30, half an hour before Troll closed for the night, Friday night and got to have a double bunk top in the first cabin. Turns out we got to share the cabin with some of our friends! Domingoes and Sukania were there, as well as Mama Yyvonne and Simon the Wanderer (: It was really nice to show up at my favorite event and already know some of my favorite people!

Well, Mark and I had left likes bats out of hell from our house and completely missed eating-- and didn't stop to get anything to eat because we didn't want to miss troll-- but by the time we got our stuff into the cabin-- Traveler's Fare was already put away. So we had a mini feast in the cabin (: Pistachios, humus, bread, olives, dipping oil, dried appricots-- with the previously mentioned friends, and a couple of new ones as well and had conversation to go with it well into the early morning. Before I go on, I guess this is the point that I should mention ATME is a really laid back kind of event (: It's pretty quiet and an atmosphere of 'take your time' and 'do what you enjoy'.

So, we finally get to sleep (which was really hard, considering how excited I was! (LOL) I was like a little kid the night before Christmas (; ) and I woke up with the sun starting to come into the rooms. Got up, got garbed and went to forage for some breakfast. The kitchen staff was wonderful and even heated up water so I could have tea!!! And it was great to just sit and visit with the people around me having scrambled eggs, ham, grits and toast.

Then, I got to take the classes that are so very much a part of why I love this event! I took 2 dance classes-- one on Oriental arms, which was absolutely fascinating not only for it's historical research, but for how beautiful sleeve dancing is and how very much ARMS can make the dance unique and breath taking to watch. And the other a beginning bellydance class with Mistress Edwina-- who I took the class from last year, but it was better developed this year and there were more of us taking it. I'll tell you what! The biggest thing I got from these two classes was a whole new list of dvds for dancing to add to my collection to practice with at home. There was one of the ladies in the second class who's been taking Andalusian-- it's where Flaminco meets bellydance and it's STUNNING! I left those classes excited about bellydancing and ready to get back to it regularly!

As I walked out of my second dance class, Mark and I headed out to visit the merchants stalls. And as we did, I spotted a large conga, sitting there, with a little white tag hanging from it. Apparently, I'm the only person at the event who spotted said little tag, because in hindsight, a lot of people told me that they thought it was the merchant's personal drum and never once dared to look at it closely. So there I am, getting ready to check the price tag when I'm thinking to myself "Get ready to be disappointed-- this bad boy is going to be $180. You can't find it on-line for less than $120" when I look down and see $30. Blink. $30.......

So I got to try the drum out and -bought- the only drum for sale at this years ATME (: And from that moment on, I pretty much drummed all afternoon long (: It was GREAT. There were some truly gifted drummers there, and some -very- fast learners, and it was a pleasure to get them started on the drums. LOL-- yeah, I ended up having an impromptu drumming lesson that afternoon, and had a blast!

I also got my hand flowers fixed for a nominal fee! It is wonderful to be able to move my hands in one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. And I got a -lot- of compliments and questions on my Turkish garb! LOL-- I was practically a walking advertisement for Folkwear patterns (;

And Mark got to replace his leather belt-- the one we haven't been able to find in the entire two years we've been here. We suspect it's hiding in storage...but haven't a clue where to look to find it. He also took a class on Henna, and another on shirt making that should help fix the collars I tend to put on our garb (;

Lunch was good-- chipped barbeque sandwiches with fruit and drink-- and quite filling. Then we were off to try to take a nap. LOL-- Mark managed to do it, but I couldn't actually sleep, so I just laid there for 20 minutes before I decided to get up and drum some more with my friend Fionna at her merchanting stall. It was a slow merchanting day, and I think I'm going to take her advice and look at merchanting at Ren Faires, and only the bigger SCA events (like 30th Anniversary at the end of August)-- since the couple of times I've tried it, have been really slow days and I enjoy -attending- events, not being tied to my stall!

Then we got dressed for feast (: I wore my other garb, with the skirt, and Mark wore his new Middle Eastern garb that I made for his this week. LOL-- this is probably the point where you notice there aren't any pictures-- we brought our camera, but never once took it out! We were too busy -doing- to get the shutter bug! And we headed to the feast hall for a sumptious and wonderfully filling feast by the same cook who did it last year! Really, if she is the cook who takes care of All Things Middle Eastern, then more people should come, if for no other experience than an -exceptional- period feast (Although, obviously, there's plenty of other reasons to come!).

Then they cleared the feast hall for the hafla (: I stand by the assertion that Lord Domingoes is an amazing drum leader! He's good at keeping track of the dancers and keeping track of the fact that the drumming is FOR the dancers (: And we got to try all sort of things-- it was almost like having a drum ORCHESTRA! And you could tell the dancers enjoyed it! We played so many of my favorite rhythms-- beledi, masmoudi, serto, ayoub, chiftitelli, maksoum-- in a variety of speeds and variations. The dancers never got bored, and that right there is, to me, what makes a drum circle a success! We also got to play taxim! (That means IMPROV (: ) I didn't think I -could- play taxim, but we did and it was awesome! And Fiona joined us in with her flute-- and let me tell you, that really does add an element to the music! She even led us in a taxim that resulted in one of the most beautiful sleeve dances I've ever been priveledged to watch. LOL-- we all got so involved in WATCHING the dancer we had a musical train wreck (;

And when my hand had finally had enough and could take no more drumming, and the music still tugged at me, I finally got up to dance and had a wonderful time on the dance floor (: After which, it was the end of Janin. LOL-- the combined total of perhaps 4 hours of sleep in 2 days caught up to me and I stumbled, sobber, across the fighting field to the cabin to climb the end of the bed like a monkey and sleep like the dead until it was time to leave at 5 in the morning to be home before 10 (;

And thus ended my second All Things Middle Eastern, Mark's first, and his first feast--and the first time we've gotten to drum together (:

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