Been through the desert on a horse with no name...

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Thursday, January 14, 2010

Well actually, I went through the desert on a camel with no name.  No name, because I couldn’t communicate with our Sudanese guide.  So I’ll just call him ‘Jammal’ which is camel in Arabic. 

3 Jammals made their way through the desert from our Bedouin camp towards the town of Rum. 

I’ve fallen in love with camels over the last little while traveling through the middle east.  Their knobby knees, their long eyelashes, their curly fur, and their lanky walk.  The way they hold their head so high gives them a type of regal elegance.  The little ride in Palmyra was just a taste, and I’ve been aching to try again and go for a real desert trek. 

But first we had to find our camels.  By the jebel behind our camp was where we should have met the guide and the camels, but he wan’t there.  Driving around and a round, scanning the vast desert landscape, Brian finally spots a dark dot.  Speeding towards it spinning in the sand the dots turn to a slight camel shape.  The driver lets out a deafening whistle and the group turns and starts heading in our direction. 

Riding through the desert was a wonderful experience.  This is the way desert travel has been for 1000’s of years.  Slow and steady with the camel’s gentle sway and 2-toed feet padding silently on the sand.  Only the occasional grunt and wail from Jammal could be heard. 

Unfortunately out guide’s Jammal was a little grumpy this morning.  Upset and grumping, he wouldn’t let his rider get up.  When finally forced into submission, he took off running.  This caused Brian’s and my Jammals to awkwardly follow suit (they were all tied together).  But Brian’s saddle wasn’t attached properly and started to bounce right off Jammal’s bum!  Stopping to fix it up, the guide left Jammal to his own devices and simply walked along behind.  The second time he tried to ride (probably getting tired of walking( Jammal took off running again - speeding towards the town that was now in view.  Thankfully our Jammals were content to keep walking on their own this time (not tied together), but it was everything the guide could do to stop Jammal.  So he got off and walked again and Brian was driving our little camel train. 

After so many days of taking buses, this felt incredibly slow!  Much, much slower than bicycles up a hill!  For the last 2 hours of riding, we could see the town, but never seemed to get any closer to it  I’m sure the desert caravans of old could see the place they were going to camp before setting out that day. 

Only a short camel riding experience, but truth be told, I’m not sure my legs and bum could have handled a much longer ride!
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