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    Tuesday
    Aug142012

    Stories of a Traveling Belly Dancer

    Stories of a Traveling Belly Dancer. Kindle edition. Written by Zaina Brown and illustrated by Leela Corman. February 2012. Amazon Digital Services. $2.99

    I loved this book! The book made me feel like I was curled up on my couch with a good friend on a Saturday afternoon and we were catching up after she got home from a long exciting vacation.  It read like we were talking about her adventures on her trip.  I even went and printed out a map of the area, so I could follow where she was throughout the book. Although there isn't much talk about her actual dances, the book was fascinating.  I loved every page, and I was sorry when the book ended.
     
    Being a woman from America and traveling to the Middle East is difficult. How women are treated is so different.  At times, it made me think, she must feel like she landed on a different planet, not a different continent.
     
    The book is written as a travel log by the author. At times, things are very humorous, but at other times, things are a bit harrowing for her. Traveling as a woman alone is scary but the author meets these challenges and never loses her sense of humor! She begins her adventure in Cairo in August 2007, but not the Cairo that most tourists travel to. She lives in a residential area and is the only foreigner there. Only the pharmacist speaks English so she quickly has to improve her Arabic. 
     
    Throughout the book, she travels to Yemen, Africa, Syria, and Egypt, to name a few places. I loved reading about the places and she makes you feel you are there.  I feel I could now go and trace her footsteps.
     
    Overall, everywhere she goes most people are nice and want to be helpful. Of course, there are some people who are not as nice. That is when I could not put the book down. I had to find out how she got out of those situations.  She is very brave to be a woman traveling alone in the Middle East.
     
    There is also the idea in many areas of the MIddle East that bellydance and prostitution is one and the same. This leads to some interesting situations for her.  She has to hide that part of her life while there. 
     
    The only complaint I have about the book is that I would have liked to have a map included as well as a few pictures from the areas she went to. 

    I encourage everyone to read the book, not just dancers. - reviewed by Debbie Johnson