Camel Safari

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I’d never seen a camel in real life before. They stunk, which was fitting I thought. The sounds they made were loud and abrupt, a deep gargled whine that sounded almost human, but unearthly. The only mental connection I could make was the Star Wars character Chewbacca. My camel was docile, but Linda’s was manic. The way they’re controlled is a steel spike is driven through the bridge of their nose, to which ropes are tied. The sound of their cries, wincing of their eyes and blood from their wounds made me uneasy. For lively hood, an animal’s pain is acceptable, but I’m becoming uncomfortable with trading it for tourism.


Two days and one night were enough to experience the good and the bad of the desert. The first day was pleasant, the second was painful. My daydreams of crossing sand dunes on soft footed camels were filled. The ride wasn’t smooth, but the speed was consistent. I snapped and snapped photos of the landscape, but within hours the shot all looked the same. The sun cracked my lips. I drank and drank water, but the air was so dry that I never sweat.

In my group there was quiet French kid, two sweet German girls who spoke almost enough English to have a conversation with, a MIT administrator named Laura who had just finished a tour of India with her MBA students, a Chinese Canadian girl named Linda who I got along well with and an interesting guy named Dart (who I thought was named Dot) wore a turban and moved from England to Australia twelve years ago. Three of our guides lived in the desert and had given tours for the past ten years. There was also Mr. Win, who was twelve and didn’t’ like school, so his father sent him to camel college.

Our meals were an endless supply of fried vegetable and Indian bread. The guides wouldn’t eat until we were stuffed. At night we sat around a cactus stick campfire. It barely threw any light, but the moon was so full that we didn’t need it. Black shadows were cast and miles of desert were in view. We admired the moon and I asked the guides if they knew men had walked there. They understood, but didn’t believe me. I told them about how there one can jump six times as high and that the whole place was, just like their home, a barren, dusty and rocky land. The camel guides looked to the moon, then back at me, fixed in wonder like kids watching Disney.

After dinner, they sang songs in their native tongue, then one of them danced and Mr. Win taught me a card game. He tossed my cards into the sand, ruining his chance at seeing slight of hand of magic. I smiled realizing the sand wasn’t dirty to him; that dirty to me wasn’t dirty to him. I smile a lot at things like this.

We slept in the open on thin and old cushions with warm, but short blankets. Dung beetles the size of marshmallows and black as licorice crawled all around us and I woke every hour to the bugs in my space. One touched my lips. I muttered things like “later dude!” and “four!” when I awoke to flick them as far as I could.
At night the wind chilled my feet and by morning it had filled my pockets and backpack with sand. I woke with my head facing east to the winds and the sunrise, which silhouetted windmills on the horizon. They reminded me of my cousin the millionaire who sells wind energy. I thought about his business and the camel guides’ too.

I’m finding a comfortable peace with unfairness in the world.

Temple 1, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Making Hindu Head Dot Powder, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Me in the Mirror, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.
Inside Jaisalmer  Fort 2, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Rickshaw Haggling, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Holy Cow, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.
Storefront, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Restaurant, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Holy Cows Relaxing, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.

Family 1, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. People in Jaisalmer 1, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Old and New Feet, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.
Grandpa and Boy 2, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Post Office, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Woman Walking, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.
Sitting in the Doorway, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Holy Cow 2, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Linda in Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.
Hindu Priest Foot, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Painted Face Guy, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Washign the Temple Floor, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.
From the Fort 1, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Walking in the Morning, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Golden City, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.
Fort in Jaisalmer, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Orange Curtains, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Morning Paper, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.
Dung Beetle, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Camel and Guide 1, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Camel and Guide 2, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006.
Camels and Mr Win, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Camels and Tourists, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Camel Shadows, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006.
Village People 1, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Wicked Hot Desert 1, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Village Kids 1, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006.
Camels, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Village Lady, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Curb Appeal, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.
Shoes on a Wall in a Village in the Desert, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Village Boy, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. My Camel, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006.
My Camel Chewing, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Camels Drinking, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Temples Through a Wall, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006.
Inside Jaisalmer Fort 1, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. Grandpa and Boy, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006. From the Fort 2, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 14, 2006.
Camel Guides 3, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Camel and Mr Win, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006. Camel Safari, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India Captured April 12, 2006.

2 Thoughts on “Camel Safari”

  1. gert Says:

    got some real good shots on this one bro.

  2. WaltDe Says:

    Very good reading. Peace until next time.
    WaltDe

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