Monday, May 18, 2009

Morocco - Real Men Don't Ride Camels?

Along the way back to M’Hamid, we passed a number of actual Bedouin nomad caravans with their camels. We came to learn that real nomads don’t ride camels – rather they walk alongside them and use the camels to haul their supplies and water from camp to camp. After cleaning the sand as best we could out of our cracks and crevices back at the hotel, we then ventured back out to the local desert on a camel ride – something the kids had been looking forward to this whole trip. Getting up on a camel turned out to be quite a thrill, as the camels would rock forward on their knees and then back on their hind legs, rising up in a herky-jerky fashion that left us all holding on for dear life for fear of being flung forward, as if from a catapult. But once we got going, it was quite smooth and quite a thrill to be so high up off the desert floor. That is, until the winds started picking up the sand from the desert, pelting us like a sandblaster with its microscopic “bullets”. Visibility became limited and it was a struggle to keep our eyes open as clouds of sand dust whipped into our faces. Not even the burkas we had purchased did much good. What started out as a; “Dad, this is the best thing, EVER!”, experience quickly degraded into; “Mommy, my butt hurts, my eyes hurt, my legs hurt and I want off this stupid camel, NOW!”. Under such conditions, an hour was more than enough and we were simply happy to get out of the sandstorm. On reflection, however, this was another great adventure and a much more realistic experience that the nomads have to deal with all the time. It was a good reminder of how hard life is for these people, and how they seem to take everything in stride - I have gained tremendous respect for these hardy people.

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