Or………..Well, I Don’t Think I Will Try That Again……
I have said that many times in my life, and I wonder why I still try doing new things. (The older I get, the more I enjoy fishing).
I said that after bungie jumping off a 280 foot high bridge. And after jumping out of an airplane. And after hiking 45 miles in the Himalayas…..and…and….
Today, I will add riding a camel to the list.
It is not easy. When they stand up – the rear haunches first – then up on the front legs – you think you are going to tumble off head first. And when they go downhill or stop and lay down – front legs first – then the rear haunches – it scared the living shit out of me.
Here I was, lumbering through the sand around the pyramids, rocking back and forth – about 8 feet above the ground on a camel about 2 feet taller than the ones Abdoula and Luis were on.
The big man gets the big camel. Sounds like something Trump would say……..
Looking down at the sand I thought repeatedly that if/when I fell off, at least it would be a soft landing after a long fall – as long as my foot did not get caught in the stirrup, which once happened when I fell off a horse. Maybe just a broken arm or leg I thought. But when we went downhill and it was nothing but hard rock, I constantly thought WTF am I doing? I envisioned head injury, internal injury, or worse……
When I heard the camel handler say “Lean back. Lean back” my blood pressure would go up 40 points, and I repeatedly thought about my weight, my age and my flight insurance. Broken bones at a minimum and a long and painful flight home to end my walkabout. Well, I thought, at least I am close to hospitals and the airport.
We boarded the beasts at 8:30 AM and I finally got off that damed thing at 10 AM.
“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar” I murmured softly as I got both my feet back on the sand at the end of the ride – about 100 feet from the Sphinx.
From the web:
Allahu Akbar. The phrase is commonly used by Muslims worldwide and is generally translated as “God is great.” It’s used in many contexts in Muslim societies — during prayer and in the call to prayer, to express amazement or sorrow or to pronounce determination. To most familiar with Islamic practices, the phrase is rather familiar and doesn’t carry an ounce of extremism to it.
Often in Muslim societies, the phrase is used as an alternative to applause, most often in religious settings. Someone will shout, “Takbir,” and the crowd responds, “Allahu akbar.” The phrase blasts from minarets of mosques five times a day in countries where the call to prayer is amplified throughout the streets.
I had met Luis at breakfast. Hispanic, a naturalized U.S. citizen, living and working in Chicago as a mid level manager and traveling alone. He arrived in Giza last night. His family is from Oaxaca, the only place in Mexico I would return to without hesitation. We talked travel over breakfast and he eagerly accepted the invitation to join me for a camel ride with Abdoula around the pyramids today. When he said “Travel is the best use of my money” I knew we would get along just fine.
Luis has been to New Zealand, England, Costa Rica, Australia, etc.
Abdoula says “Wave for the camera. Say cheese”. I am thinking please take me back to the guest house…….
After the camel ride, we shared a few beers on the rooftop patio and we agreed to have dinner and watch the pyramid light show together tonight.
It is hot today – 104F.