camels testicles and sandstorms do not ...
Trip Start Jun 01, 2002
74Trip End Sep 11, 2007
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That is what I thought would be a suitable title for my next journal entry of my travels. I mentioned that I was planning a camel expedition and I am happy (I think) to say that this is something that I have completed and will be happily filing it under E for Experience and never committing myself to that type of punishment in the coming 4 lifetimes. Well I suppose I better tell you what all the fuss is about then.....
Once a upon a time in a little town known as Marrakech an Australian and two English peoples decided to set off on a 2 day and 1 night camel adventure in the Sahara Dessert. After much shopping around for particular pricing and deals we signed and paid our hard earned money to a very dodgy looking Moroccan, tomorrow morning at 7am we will be picked up and the adventure will start he said with a smile.
So after the most uncomfortable nights sleep on a bed, which could have passed as a bed of nails, oh hang on a bed of nails would have been A LOT more comfortable we awoke at 6:30am for a quick rinse and to get too where we would be picked up from. 30 mins late (supposedly on African Time) our driver meets us and we stop off for a quick coffee. This was an opportunity to sign the "We are not responsible if a camel falls on you, falls in love with you or eats your arm off" forms.
Now a little background history that I have learnt from this experience is that the Sarah Dessert is frick'n miles from Marrakech and I mean 400+ Km away. So in the sales pitch we were promised a nice big 4x4 but we received a Fiat Uno - now 'Uno' normal stands for 1..... but this time I believe it stood for 1 square centimeter is all you will get to fit in the car!! So the 3 of us and our driver/guide cram in this thing with wheels and head off. So we drive and drive and drive.... have to admit the scenery is absolutely amazing, with towering mountains one hour and then green palm trees the next - was absolutely fantastic. The only kick back was the constant smell of fuel in the car, so curvy mountains and fumes did not really mix well.
Finally as we arrive at our destination at about 4:30pm absolutely exhausted. We are greeted by a carpet salesman that would be able to sell ice to the Eskimos. So after agreeing to see the carpets upon our return we are set FREE to begin the camel ride.... yes the camel ride from hell!
Testicles.... that is all I am going to say about that. But god defiantly put them in the wrong spot when he decided males should ride camels. So off the 3 of us trekked for about 90mins or so, not exactly powering dunes as one would expect of the Sarah but more like "Mini Me" dunes.... no taller than 6ft. Now camels are not the most attractive animals in existence and man do they smell. And as for that hump, I have no idea what it is for; except for getting in the way of me getting half comfortable while gyrating to and fro.
So after an exhausting ride and I mean exhausting, everything starts to ache that possibly can ache we dismount of and head towards our nights accommodation. Tents would be an understatement, rugs on the ground and blankets in an open air layout would be the best way to describe it. But one has to a saviour at this point and that saviour comes in the shape of 6 lovely (and not too cold but cold enough) cans of beer. Yes after 2 weeks of no alcohol in my system at all, Will and I are blessed with 6 of the best each. Things started looking up from there my friends. A chicken tanjine and stale bread, fruit for dinner and beers did I mention beers...? As for the sunset, it was very clouded over and unfortunately saw nothing of the sort.... but where there is clouds there is a storm brewing. We received a very impressive electrical storm for a couple of hours and then the rains kicked in. Not normal rain, but massive "soak you completely wet" in one drip kinda rain. Very refreshing. So after a little bit of Arabic sing along crawled onto a couch thing to hit the sack.
As this was an open air sleeping arrangement and this combined with a sandstorm equaled Justin and friends burying their heads under the sleeping bags to avoid sand in our eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair etc etc... unfortunately we failed and in the morning awoke to sand in everything everywhere.... not the nicest feeling. 12 hours later and I am still finding sand in places unfamiliar with sand....
Up for breakfast or in other words more Imodium to chew on to keep everything plugged up and back on the camels. Another 90mins or so of absolute pain. What I discovered that sitting side saddle helped, the tender parts of my body but put strain on my back and thighs and now as I type this, my fingers and eyelids are the only moving parts that do not ache.... oh hang sand in my contacts still... shit!
Another 30 mins of being hassled by a carpet salesman and offending him with our offers for carpets we did not want (35cents) we are back in the car for another 400+ drive home.... well in our case sleep. So back in Marrakech and absolutely aching, about to head out and grab some dinner (donuts, ice cream, fresh OJ, Soup) and try and repair my body with some sleep - hopefully on a more comfy bed.
So as for camel riding, yes I recommend it for anyone, especially males who have lost their testicles in a accident of some sort .... in all serious was great fun and will defiantly not be doing it again in the near future.
Off to Spain for a day tomorrow (stopover) if anyone can suggest what to do and stay in Madrid for 24 hours I would love to hear....