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Kate-camel-large-web.jpg (112371 bytes)


Kate and the Camel
An excerpt from Kate's blog -
written for her family and friends.

Kate was a part of our January 2007 Egyptologists' Egypt Tour 

Link to Kate's Blog
Ruth Shilling gives out CD's of her photos 
to all tour participants and many of the 
photos included in Kate's blog are from Ruth.

OK, here are the camels. Jessamy [my daughter] said, "Mom, you have to ride a camel, it will be fun." "Mom you will enjoy it." "You can't leave Egypt without riding a camel." 

Lots of people go to Egypt and never climb on a camel. Unfortunately, I was not one of them. I told myself, "Self, you can do this; no camel is going to get the best of you." 
"You have been on the back of many horses, one unwilling cow and a couple of donkeys; how hard can it be?"

Look at this face. Would you buy a used car from this camel? Would you trust your 60 year old bones with this face? Really, look at this animal. It looks like it was assembled by a committee. I know why they put all the colorful rugs and blankets on his back. They are trying to distract you from the fact that this is the most obnoxious excuse for transportation ever devised.

Camels are big. They are tall even when sitting down. There is no graceful way for me to get up onto a camel. I was told, this is your camel, climb on. You notice that there are no stirrups (the camel saddle being invented before stirrups and not changed since). For persons with short legs this poses a challenge. I managed to throw my body across the camel and pull myself across the blankets by holding onto the little (very little) wooden posts sticking up from the saddle. By wiggling around and thrashing with my legs I managed to get one leg over the saddle and hang onto to the front pegs. Just as I was getting a good grip, the camel straightened his hind legs and the camel boy says to hang on. The problem was of course that I was falling forward over the neck of the beast, the boy finally takes a look at me and starts to scream for me to lean back as far as I can. So I lean back as far as I can just as the camel raises his front legs. Now instead of falling head first over the front end, I am now in danger of falling back over heels off the tail end. This was not a good beginning.

The camel boy is shaking his head and muttering in Arabic. Sometimes it is good to only understand English. At least I am up on the camel. Now it is time to get my picture taken. Neither the camel nor I am thrilled with this photo opportunity. Next we get led away and tied to two other occupied camels and start our ride through the desert. We were the last to join this little trio and beast is crabby about having camels in front of him so he starts to crowd against one camel so he can smash my left leg against his bony body. That doesn't work as well as he likes (I managed to swing my leg up out of the way and pointing straight out front) so he decides that it is a better idea to try to shove my foot up the back end of said camel who objects. I am busy trying to get parts of my anatomy out of harms way when the camel boy finally strolls back, smacks beast with a rope, shouts appropriate Arabic words and beast settles down to behaving like a good little trail camel for unsuspecting tourists. Meanwhile Jessamy is out in front having a grand ole time bopping around the desert and loving her very well behaved camel. I am busy thinking that I still have to get off the beast in one piece. Disembarking from beast was almost anti-climatic.

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Photo credits this page: Kate on camel - Ruth Shilling, camel face - Kate Parramore


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