Hardy spent at least six months planning Bebe’s birthday party. And, as these things go, the plans just got bigger and bigger as time went on. He signed off on belly dancers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, and even a harem to give guests massages. At one point he was thinking of getting a couple of camels for the party but it seems London has some sort of strange restrictions on allowing camels on to the grounds of the Banqueting House just because a couple of English kings once lived there. Pity.
So, no camels, but the belly dancers were a hit. They stood on cubes along the entrance into the hall, gyrating like Middle Eastern versions of go-go dancers from the 60s. Everyone was fascinated by them, particularly, it seemed to me, the women. So, of course, everyone wanted to have a photo taken of them with a belly dancer. But the thing was, the belly dancers have their own guild or union or something and, just like the “no camels in London” policy, there are rules for what you can and can’t do with a belly dancer. Evidently one of the big no-no’s is touching the girls. Even if it’s just to take a photo.
Naturally enough, I couldn’t resist trying to get that very shot. So I suggested to Greg G., a buddy who was on last year’s Cuban fishing trip with me, that he hop on the cube and let me snap a pic. He was a little hesitant about it. Until I cleared it with the belly dancer. So, during a break in the music, he got up there with the dancer, although they were about a foot apart. As I was pretending to focus, I encouraged them to get a little closer….closer…closer. Until the dancer really had no choice but to slip an arm around Greg, just to keep her balance.
Since I didn’t use a flash the shot is a little blurry. But I kind of like it that way. It represents the rather hazy hedonistic tone of the entire evening. And makes the belly dancer looks as mysterious and erotic as she really was.
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