Saturday, November 03, 2007

Camels are smelly, mean, fly-blown and uncomfortable





I bought the whole thing about seeing the desert on a camel rather than in an environment-raping SUV and so we scheduled a day aboard the beasts. I'd ridden a camel briefly at the Pyramids earlier this year and thought it was great. I envisioned galloping across the sands holding onto a hump. Throughout our ride in the SUV we'd seen kids mounted on the hips of little camels, behind the humps and Tuareg men looking so colorfully perfect high aboard a camel holding on to a string of other animals.

Take my advice -- skip the camels if you go to the Sahara and climb into an SUV. I have seriously swollen inner thighs and the area where the back of your legs turn into your butt is just black with bruises. Who the heck thought that wood would make a good saddle to put onto a camel? And there are no stirrups. Instead you have to cross your legs and rest your feet on the camel's neck, which is probably OK for people as tall as the Tuaregs, but, oh my God, for shorter people. I was totally cramped within an hour.

And camels smell horrible and their faces are covered in flies. I wanted off within 20 minutes. Hawley finds camels adorable and cute and was snapping hundreds of photos of them especially my less than smooth mounting. Camels do not like humans, possible because they are regularly beaten and yelled at until they bend their poor little stick legs and genuflect like Catholics on Sunday so that men can get on their backs. It's not a nice life.

From atop a camel the ground looks far away. Remembering my last unfortunate encounter with a horse in which I ended up on the ground with a hoof in a delicate area I kept my eyes on the camel's feet which are HUGE like a pie on the end of those stick legs. Galloping was out of the question.

The camel owner was not about to let us silly American women take control of his valuable animals. He walked in front of us, holding the first camel by a leash. It was like a school yard pony ride. And it was not picturesque. We walked through a section of the desert near town that was like a construction site.

We saw plenty of environment damage on this ride. It didn't come from SUVs though, it came from plastic bags. There are thousands of them blown in from town and stuck now on every shrub and stone in sight. Humans are pigs.

It turned out that my camel -- they are not named -- was as disaffected by the experience as I was. After I limped off his back he rolled over like a dog in the dust.

His owner cursed and kicked the shit out of him. This was my favorite part of the day.

1 comment:

Rosemary A. said...

From Barbara R:

OH MY GOD -- you look FABULOUS. I am glued to your blog. why can't i
enlarge the photos with the camel???

Greg is impressed you slept out on the sand in the desert and weren't
afraid of scorpions. I was horrified you slept out in the desert. oh
my.

i can't believe you did this. Do you know how old you are??? you are
amazing. AMAZING.


well -- i'm listening to Deep Purple thanks to you --- and sending
you off this note.

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