Camels are Cool!!!

Trip Start Jun 07, 2008
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Trip End Jun 28, 2009


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Where I stayed
Bedouin tent in the Sahara Desert

Flag of Morocco  ,
Monday, September 8, 2008

Three Things:

1. I am in the Sahara Desert!
2. I am riding a camel!
3. I am only 8 years old!

Right now I am sitting in the Sahara Desert in a Berber tented camp surrounded by golden sand dunes. The camp is like a gypsy home, with lots of pillows and bright carpets, and shiny wall hangings. There are four sleeping tents and one tent where we had dinner and breakfast. We had to drive here in a 4x4 vehicle with Khalid, our guide, and Khalid, the driver, from Fes. We drove over the Mid Atlas mountains (where we saw some Barbary Apes on the side of the road!), and down to a town called Erfound. We spent the night in Erfoud at a place with a great pool and slide.

Yesterday afternoon, after it cooled down, we drove south into the desert. We are only 45km from Algeria (you can see it in the distance) and miles from nowhere! As we drove down, I could not believe it! I saw camels in the wild! Well, I thought they were in the wild, but Khalid said that all camels have owners and that a shepherd was watching them. If someone tried to steal one, he would jump out because they are so valuable here. Actually, I also found out that they are not called camels, but dromedaries because they have only one hump. Two humped camels are called camels and they live in Mongolia and Afghanistan and have fur that is more wooly. (But I will call the dromedaries here in Morocco camels anyway because everyone does.)

When we got to the camp, I was amazed! I saw four camels waiting for us to ride into the desert at sunset! I rode the one in the back. Their owner, Idir, who is a Berber and who was dressed all in blue robes, said "Ooch" and the camel sat down so I could get on. All the camels have to be sitting down for anybody to get one, or they will all get up. The saddle was bumpy and scratchy and made of blankets - you should wear long pants! You have to hold on when you get up or go down - it is kind of like going on a rollercoaster!

We rode to some 800 feet high sand dunes. I climbed to the top and then jumped and slid down them on a blanket. The sand is so soft and orange. After sunset, we rode camels back to the camp for dinner. Some Berber musicians came to play for us. They were really funny and good. One guy, Mohammed, was laughing and he could play the tamborine by kicking it with his feet. The main singer made up a song in Berber about our family with all our names in the song - that was great. Lu and I danced on the carpets under the stars. Then we had a great dinner of cous cous and tangine, starting with a special soup that is called Harira, which is eaten every night to break the Ramadan fast. We were on the dunes at sunset, so Khalid and Idir and the other camel guy broke their fast with dates and bananas and water and shared some with us. Idir also stopped to pray on the dunes.

This morning we woke before sunrise at 4:30am and rode camels to watch the sun come up. Awesome!
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Comments

dankan
dankan on

Zola, you're great!
Your enthusiasm for camels is wonderful.

Keep up the good writing.

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