Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001

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The Orient House came highly recommended by our hotel. We made a reservation - they have two sittings a night, we were booked into the 8pm to midnight sitting. I had no idea what we were going to do for four hours, but be that as it may, it looked like a fine place.

We were picked up on time by a bus with the Orient House logo on the side - there were a number of other patrons on the bus, all pretty excited to be coming to the restaurant. We were obviously one of the last groups to arrive, as we walked into the restaurant, it was nearly full with patrons, and loud with Turkish music played by a band on stage with all traditional instruments - and they were playing much more seriously that the musicians we'd heard the night before.

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The Orient House bus brought us (and several other people) from our hotels to the restaurant. They would bring us back again too.   Our first look into the restaurant. The place is nearly full, and on stage are a number of musicians playing Turkish folk music.
Click to see a larger version...   This is the master of ceremonies. Every table received a flag indicating the country that the patrons were from. The MC was able to say greetings every language that was represented - at least thirty different languages, including Korean, Iranian, and Northern Cypress!

Dinner was a number of courses, and while the food kept coming, the stage was busy with performers. 

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The next performance was a traditional Anatolian wedding from 200 years ago. The members of the wedding party march in carrying candles.    The entire wedding party marches about, this is the bride and groom.
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There's plenty of dancing and carrying on.   The MC explains that the two family collaborate to put on a large feast for the wedding.
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A man in Anatolian costume serves a cherry juice drink to us and others as part of the festivities.   In the back of this picture, you can see the groom getting "readied", shaved and scrubbed, etc. Its all quite silly.
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The actual wedding ceremony is performed and the bride and groom dance for the crowd.   Afterward, our bride shows off her costume in detail.

After the wedding dance, the first of three belly dancers came out...

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The first belly dancer is carried out and swooped around the stage.   Shaking her thang...
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No idea why things don't fall off under that sort of vibrational velocity.   The pigeon strut phase of the dance.
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Its hard to tell, but there's a cane balanced on the small of her back while she dances.   Afterward, another costume, this time 15th century Ottoman, is paraded before the crowd.

Another break, and then another Anatolian dance, this one focused on the men.

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The men carry weapons while the dance around the stage...   Four men dance in unison at four corners of the stage.
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There are women in this dance, they just don't show up much.   The end of the routine has one man doing jumps and bows.
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And then its over.   Post dance, another costume, this a 17th century Ottoman outfit.

And then more belly dancing and folk dancing...

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And now, the pink belly dancer.   She was very big on the swirly moves with a scarf.
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One more folk dance in Anatolian costume.   Men and women, of course.

And one more belly dancer...

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Belly Dancer #3 was a spinner.   Shaking the goods.
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The goods move further down the body...   Still shaking things in amazing ways.

And then, all of a sudden, she dragged a little Japanese man onto the stage...

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Hey, who's that guy on the stage?!?   Practicing belly dancing moves.
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Ready?   Grabbing body parts.
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Take a bow!   The closing singer.

The closing singer came out after the last belly dancer and offered to teach members of the audience (female members, of course) to belly dance... and with some hesitation, Stacy went up on stage!

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There she goes, off to a most unexpected course...   Practicing the hand movements.
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And the hip wiggles.   Checking the technique of each dancer.
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The song begins.   Some cues during the tune.
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Everybody dancing!   And you turn yourself about...
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Punching out the coda...   Oooh, a floor routine!
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More fun with hands and arms.   Leaning back...
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Walk like an Egyptian!   More Egyptian moves...
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Now shake it!   The dancers take a bow.
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Stacy receives her award for her hard work.   The girls all win big prizes!
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A kiss for the MC.   There's our girl!

And now the most amazing part of the night. The MC sang songs right til midnight, but he sang a song for each country - an old folk tune. In the language of the country. For about thirty different countries. Including Korean, Japanese, Moroccan, Hungarian, Malaysian... it was absolutely amazing. The song he sang for Canada was "This land is your land..." which may or may not be a Canadian song, but what the heck. It was still an amazing performance. 

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