Fabric Dreamland

Southall, in the greater London area, is a belly dancer's fabric dreamland. With a completely Indian population, the most opulent sari fabrics are available at unbelievable prices! One shop featured sidewalk tables loaded with bolt after bolt at roughly one dollar a yard! I was dive bombing through a pile to reach a bolt of sky blue lace shot through with hot pink metallic flowers and hardly heard a plastic clattering at my feet. "Excuse me," said a young girl in her charming English accent, "is that yours?" pointing to a cassette tape at my feet. "No..." I mumbled, my eye on a black chiffon with gold metallic dots on the next table. I dove again. This time I distinctly heard the plastic clattering sound as the cassette landed at my feet. Sneaking a glance behind me I saw a group of young Sikh boys whispering and giggling at this tall mini-skirted blond amidst a sea of sari-clad women. Ah ha, playing games, thought I. They must want me to bend down and pick this up in my mini-skirt. I stepped to another table. After a few moments of poking and you! no you! whispering, the oldest of the group (perhaps 14) got up enough courage to approach. "Pardon me," (how British) "but could you tell me the time?" "Oh, mi dispiace," I answered in Italian, "ma non parlo inglese." "She's French, she's FRENCH!" he shouted to his friends. They followed me about two blocks chanting "Je t'aime, je t'aime, je t'aime". In order to loose them I ducked into an Indian shoe shop and discovered the "belly dance shoes of death"-- that is, belly dance shoes you would die for! Imagine a completely jeweled gold stiletto heeled sandal featuring chains leading from the sole of the shoe to a jewel encrusted anklet... Forget tours of Egypt, I'm going to arrange belly dance tours of Southall!

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