On Saturday, Reda (the bride) and Anita were getting their henna done, and they offered to let me have a little done as well, if I was interested. Interested?? For Anita, this event is ho-hum, even a pain in the neck. For me, it was quite exciting.
Reda's took 5 hours, but it was spectacular. I took about a hundred million pictures. Then she had to sit and not do anything for another 4 hours. The henna is exquisitely intricate, and they completely blacken the fingertips, so it is impossible to touch anything. It also went up past her elbows, so she couldn't even bend her arms. Forget about going to the bathroom. Dehydration is key.
Anita's took about an hour - after a certain point she just got bored and made them stop.
I got simple designs that were relatively quick to do on my hands and feet.
The henna goes on like cake icing, then dries and hardens into a dark brown/black flaky substance. Any time you move, some of the black cakes off. But the longer you leave it on, the darker and more brilliant the color comes out. So we watched TV (with my fingertips free, I could change the channel), paced and very carefully drank chai until 7pm. Then we cleared off Reda's palms and most of our arms by scraping off the dried henna, and rubbing with oil. Reda left on all of it except the palms until the next morning.