Background

Farida Adventures offers customised trips for small groups of people to such diverse destinations as Cairo, Luxor, Hydra, Istanbul and Marrakech, mainly specialising in Belly Dance holidays.  The portfolio has grown over the years and now offers a much wider range.  Read on to see how Kay Taylor has gradually developed the range of Farida Adventures.

Kay Taylor travelled to Cairo regularly with her costume business Farida Dance and each time found different things to do and see and her network of contacts and friends grew.  Kay only includes things in her schedule which she has tried - so they all come with a personal recommendation.  All included parts of your 'Farida Advenutre' are led by Kay, Yasmina or Nibal to ensure you get the most from your time.

Kay went to Cairo with Maggie Caffrey, who, impressed with her local knowledge suggested she start to lead trips.  Kay took her first 'guinea pig' group in October 2000.  They stayed in Zamalek.  A nice hotel, but out of the centre of Cairo.  The group had to get taxis everywhere and never got the 'feel' of real Cairo life.  Kay then took friend Dan with her on a reccy trip.  They tried a range of hotels.  In one, Kay used the bathroom first, then Dan.  Dan came out looking a bit shell shocked.  'I don't believe it', he said, 'Filth, squalor and Clinique!'  Needless to say Kay is not using this hotel.  They eventually found one that suited them both.  Dan liked the bathrooms!  Kay loved the rooms, most with balconies looking onto bustling street scenes of downtown Cairo.  A family run hotel with a friendly feel.

The first trip went well enough for Kay to consider more.  The stress factor is pretty high - nothing stays the same in Cairo for longer than 2 minutes so you constantly have to re-arrange things.  For Kay, it was a godsend when Yasmina, British dancer based in Cairo, agreed to get involved.  Over the years, Kay developed links with lots of other professional dancers and teachers including Raqia Hassan, Aida Nour, Randa Kamel, Soraya, Amani, Leila and Mohamed Khazafy.

In 2002, Kay spent 3 months in Cairo, learning Arabic, making more contacts and discovering more things to do.  Kay had time to build on friendships, in particular with Mohamed and Nibal.  Mohamed is the son of Egyptian dancer, Nadia Hamdi, and Nibal is his wife.  They have three sons.  Nibal gave Kay cooking lessons and took her round the mosques and Islamic Cairo.  She now helps with the groups as well, giving people an insight into Egyptian life and sharing her love of the culture and history.

Cairo is the mecca of belly dance - there is so much to do and see, there isn't time for many classes - though these can be arranged.  Inspired by the live music she heard each time in Cairo, Kay organised the Farha Tour, bringing dancers and musicians from Cairo to the UK.  The link between live music and dance is something Kay feels passionate about.  The Farha Tour developed into the Farha Festival in Luxor - organised by Kay Taylor and Sara Farouk.  Dance classes with live music and Reda style folklore classes with Mohamed Khazafy.  Completely different to anything run by anyone else - though the idea has now been used elsewhere.  For a week of tuition helping you grow and develop your own dance style, this is an experience not to be missed.

As the costume business expanded, Kay spent more time in Istanbul and was unprepared for the impact Istanbul had on her.  A beautiful city, much more relaxed than Cairo and a fantastic place to spend time.  Anne Kingston booked herself, Kay and Christine into a hotel which turned out to be ideal.  They had a fabulous week, exploring the sights and finding places to see dancers.  Here was another good place to bring groups.  Costumier, Bella, is always welcoming and pleased to see Kay's groups.  Her designs are fabulous.  British friend, Ann, who lives on the Asiatic side, took the last group over to the Princess Islands.  No motor vehicles, only horse drawn carriages and bicycles.  This is a much more relaxed week than the Cairo holiday.  Lots of sightseeing, costume shopping and some dance shows.  Shopping for ordinary clothes is also really cheap with some fabulous shops in the newer, Taksim area.

As the Farida Adventures continues to grow, Kay has found a wonderful assistant in Nibal, who arranges the sightseeing trips and transport in Cairo.  As Kay also teaches a lot in the UK - both regular classes and workshops - she is very aware of the impact that being in Cairo so much has on her classes.  Claire Novis has spent time in Cairo, learning the ropes and the Farida network so she will be able to lead some groups.

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