Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Return to civilization

This is the view from atop a camel. Note the fierce horned wooden saddle, the haughty demeanor of the mean camel and the sand and flies everywhere. You can understand why wipes are very important.

Hawley reports by email that she is safely back in NYC.

I think she was whisked directly from the airport by ambulance to a beauty salon. A pack of cosmeticians administered first aid to her sun-baked hair and a squad of pedicure specialists clucked over her feet. What have you done? they shrilled. Gone off in a desert somewhere? Had a pedicure done in some place like Sarajevo?

She reports that after a soak, a wrap in lanolin impregnated clothes and treatment with an instrument like a cheese grater to remove dead skin and callouses she is back in form.

You can take the girl out of the city...

But Hawley also left a taste of the city behind in the desert -- in the form of scented wipes.

She doesn't even travel into the subway without a pack in her purse, as she likes to tell you, so you can imagine the load of refreshing wipes she carried into the desert. I carefully collected them in a plastic bag after use so as not to pollute and was horrified at one point in the middle of a breathtakingly virgin landscape of rock and sand when our guide dug a hole and deposited this heaping bag of litter. It felt like a sin defiling that place.

We made up for a little after our hideous camel ride.

I shared half our box lunch of salad, sandwich and pudding (OK, I actually ate all the pudding but I gave away the rest) with the old man who owned the camels and his young helper. And when they were done, Hawley gave them each a wet and aromatic wipe from her pack.

They were delighted. They wiped their hands and arms and faces and sniffed at the papers. Hawley gave them the whole pack. The old man put it into the breast pocket of his robe. We imagined him presenting this amazing little invention to his wife that night.

1 comment:

Rosemary A. said...

I thought I would fall off my chair when you described your camel ride and how it lay down and then, to get it up, its (I say because that's the sound they make ) "hatshut" man, kicks the crap out of it, and this was the best day of your life. I loved it. And then your brilliant picture most recently posted!

I have the most stunning, SWEET picture of my hatshut man and my racing camel. When I move back to the States and unpack my 5000 boxes, I will scan it and send it to you, and you will be ashamed you talked about those animals in that bad, bad way.

Jane Wilson

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