Camels are big! Really big! I didn’t appreciate their size until we signed up for a morning camel ride in the shadow of the Rock. Upon arrival at the camel farm, I spied our beasts, sitting in a row, elegantly attired in colorful Afghan saddles.
Even sitting on the ground, they came up to my waist. Mounting the camel was to prove a challenge. I had to sit on the front side of the hump as Kenn, being heavier, had to take the rear seat. But how to get into the saddle? My leg just didn’t want to go up and over. I’ve never been very good at Can Can high kicks. I can’t do the splits either. I was also worried that my leg could connect the head of the beast in the attempt. As if it could read my thoughts, my camel turned its massive head and gave me a penetrating stare and a warning snort: I froze. Everyone waited. Eventually, the cameleer came to my rescue and gave me a hoist up. But worse was to come. Camels don’t get up evenly on all four legs. They straighten their rear legs first, then unfurl their front legs. At one point, you are perched in the saddle almost perpendicular to the ground. “You have to lean back and hang on as your camel gets up,” we were told. And lean I did. My lean would have made a bare back rodeo rider proud!
Soon, we were off on our ride through the red dirt. We kept up a sedate pace and all adjusted easily to the swaying gait of our ‘ships of the desert’. There were no dashes across the sand hills reminiscent of Lawrence of Arabia but lots of interesting information about camels and our surroundings was imparted by our charming guides. For example, did you know that all camels think about, is food: finding food, eating food and bringing up food from one stomach to another. A highlight of the ride was the view from the sand hill. We could see both Uluru and Kata Tjuta!
Back at the farm, we explored an interesting collection of pioneer coaches and paraphernalia. There was an especially cute baby camel that had been abandoned in the desert and hand raised on the farm. Just had to say hello.
It was a great way to spend a morning. That afternoon, a close encounter with Uluru awaited. Will share it with you next time. Rock on!