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2/18/09 Camels!

{happy sigh}

Everybody should ride a camel at least once in their lives. I've heard the same is true for riding an elephant. I haven't done that yet, but I've now ridden camels twice. Once in Egypt and once in Morocco. And it was good. :D

In Egypt: My sister and I had traveled together for about a week or two. We had some free time in Luxor-Karnak. We'd had some help in setting up our Egypt itinerary, but hadn't scheduled in camels...which we abruptly decided we were going to do. So we flagged a taxi and asked the driver to take us to camels. He talked to a few friends, and suddenly announced that his cousin would boat us across the Nile, to the camels on the opposite shore. For a price. We haggled fearsomely. Eventually, we came to a price we were happy with - who knows how reasonable it actually was, but we were happy with it - and off we went on our adventure. Mounting the camels turns out to be the hardest part of riding them. There's a massive lurch, and your center of balance shifts about three feet...and then suddenly you're ten feet in the air. (Oh, if there are any belly dancers out there: the move called "The Camel" deserves its name: if you move your hips and spine that way while riding a camel, you'll be much more comfortable and get a much smoother trip.) With an old man and a young boy leading our camels, we wandered through some fields, through a village or two, past some children shouting for baksheesh, and then stopped in front of the driver's house. He invited us in for tea, and we met his wife. Our Arabic was limited to "Hello, what's your name, nice to meet you," but we used our phrases with a smile, and his wife seemed happy to meet us. :) Then he took us up on his roof and showed us the rooftop, open-air accommodations for his camels. I couldn't imagine how the gangly beasts climbed the mud stairs, but decided to let that go. Then we re-mounted the camels, hearts in our throats, and returned safely to the Nile shore. Half an hour later, the boat came for us, and shortly after that, we were back in our hotel.

My Moroccan camel venture was a little different...

Sorry, no more time to write now, but I promise to fill you all in soon!

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