Monday, June 11, 2007
Do's & Don'ts on a camel
I feel that it is my duty as an Egyptian citizen (yes, I actually have a citizenship and I have an Egyptian id card with pyramids on it!! ) to share the knowledge I’ve got on my many journeys through the cradle of civilization. If you go to Egypt you will for sure think about riding a camel. As a very experienced camel rider I will give you a few tips. I should also tell you that all I’ve learned, I’ve learned the hard way. I have suffered great pain, greater than you could possibly imagine.
The Do's on a camel is pretty easy. Pick a nice camel. They are often pretty grumpy, so check that before boarding. You will know the state of the camel by listening, if the animal is upset, you will know, belive me. When you have found a good camel, make sure you get one of those little boys (there will be a lot of little boys around you) to lead your camel. It will be worth the extra dollar you will have to tip him because he will end up saving your ass if the camel starts to run (more about running camels in the Don’ts). It might feel strange to trust a ten year old boy with your life, but they are not to be underestimated. If I put it this way, they can gallop bareback on a camel, holding no hands.
The key to every successful camel ride is time. Or maybe I should say a short amount of time. So whatever you do, don’t spend more than 90 minutes on a camel, 60 if without a break. And for the love of God, don’t you ever go on a day trip on the back of a camel. If you decide to go on a longer trip anyway, accept the offer to ride horses instead of camels. If you choose to ride camels anyway then listen carefully. The most likely start location for a camel trip is the Great Pyramids of Giza in Cairo. If you go east through the desert I feel very sorry for you. What awaits you after about 20 minutes is an area full of dead horses. Old ones, new ones, smelling and burning. To get through this quick, your guide (who of course will be riding a horse) will make sure all the camels in the caravan starts to run. This alone is very scary because there is no such thing as a small camel. So as you try to hold on to save your life, (which isn’t very easy since you use one hand to cover your nose and trying not to puke from the smell of death) a strange thing will happen. All the camels will start farting. I’m am totally serious. I can’t explain it but I think it has to do with the inhaling of the dead horses. As you can probably guess, camel fart doesn’t smell very nice either. All this and you are galloping, knowing that if you fall, you will fall into an ocean of dead, burning horses.
If you survive this, good for you. After one hour you will start to feel pain. You are of course not galloping all the time, but the movement will cause friction and a rash will soon appear. After another couple of hours you either reach you destination or take a break. By now you are in so much pain you have trouble standing up and walking and sitting down. And then it hits you: you have to go back. You actually have to get on that beast again and go through the same horror again. But the thing is, the way back will be even worse. And you can’t do anything about it, because you are in the middle of the desert.
When it is time to head back don’t switch camels! This might sound as good idea, you get a different saddle, a different width on camel perhaps and so on. But NO! This is the worst thing you can do. STICK TO YOUR CAMEL!
When you finally get back you will have blisters all over your legs and ass. If you had hairy legs it’ll all be gone. If you are a man, you will not be able to have kids.
To give you this information I have indeed endured pain. I therefore salute me and my fellow travelers.