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Published: November 5th 2017
Meet Camelus Dromedarius.
Lest you get confused. Camelus Bactrianus is not Camelus Dromedarius. Arabian camels are not Bactrian camels, but are Dromedarian i.e the ONE -humped camel of the HOT deserts of northern Africa and southwestern Asia. Whereas the camel with two humps Bactrianus is native to the COLD deserts of the steppes of Asia. Hot or cold, they share the same fate of being used as saddle animals and beasts of burden as they can stand up to life in the desert because of that hump which stores food - not water - They can live for a month from the stored fat. Water...they can drink 40 gallons in 14 minutes.
Camels can reach 7 feet in height (at the hump) and weigh up to 1500 pounds. Dromedarians can live for 40 years, the female bears one offspring every two years until it is 30. Their eyes have three eyelids and two rows of eyelashes to prevent sand from entering their eyes. They have been domesticated for 6000 years and played a pivotal role in developing of civilizations in the Middle East. The collective name for a group of camels is a pride, like lions!
of my last full day in Jordan was a camel ride. After we broke camp in Wadi Rum and headed back to Rum village the 4x4 made a stop at Lawrence Spring. There the camels and drivers waited for 9 of us, myself and 8 boisterous Italian youths. Excitement was running high from the get go. A kind of nervous excitement. The driver chose a seated camel then motioned to each of us in turn to come and mount the beast he had chosen for us.
To sit, camels first kneel on their spindly front legs, then drop their huge haunches to the ground. Getting up they do the reverse. You, the rider, climb into the saddle then suddenly the camel gets up, pushing up its hind legs which catapults you forward. You think you are going to fall off! But before you do it rises on its front legs which throws you back ward to where you were before. The first rider to be seated, an a Italian girl, shreiked with every movement the camel made. It was hilarious.
Once you're up it's all about retaining your balance and remaining seated on the saddle, between two hard
stumps of wood. That takes getting used to. I feel those are the original rock and a hard place. My secret to keeping my balance was to cling to the stump in front of me. Not good for taking photographs.
I'd been observing camels for days to see how they moved. I understood the need to dangle my legs, to rock with the camel's long forward stride plus sideways motion, while relaxing my thigh muscles. No resistance! I Survived. It was 'funny' the way my camel kept moving sideways, bumping into the next camel, either jostling for position, or grasping and tearing at every clump of prickly desert scrub it could reach. That is their food. My guy was really hungry, he never passed up a chomp.
This was a once in a lifetime experience, memorable if not comfortable. And with that our Jordanian desert experience was over. Our camel train walked through the village streets back to Soleyman's home where a taxi was waiting to take us back to Amman. A 4 hour drive back to the city (whose original name 2200 years ago was Philadelphia) with a silent (no English) driver who thoughtfully stopped a couple
times for us to get snacks and use the bathroom.
The Zaina Plaza hotel was a sight! Filipinas were spilling out from everywhere, highly amplified music drowned out any speech, lusty singing and much clapping came from the lounge area. Someone's birthday party!
My room was quite nice and roomy, large comfy bed with white linens, a bar fridge, safe deposit box. And zip fast wifi. Ally and Margaret had a few hours to wait for their flight so we shared the room til their 7pm taxi. We took a stroll, they had a shower, then the moment. Time to say goodbye.
It had been so lovely having them, sharing moments, and cutting costs! Now the room fell silent. Time for me to sort and pack. Six hours til my driver arrives then I too am on my way. Amman to Cairo. Cairo to JFK. 9 Hour wait. JFK to Piarco depart 0.50 am to arrive 530am. Clear customs and immigration then make the final short hop POS-TAB. Everything went like clockwork.
19 days had gone by. And I was full of memories.
Map of Jordan and the sites we visited is here : http://atlastours.net/jordan/
My blog will now double back to the final days in Egypt when I didn't blog but had such wonderful experiences and visited these outstanding sites:
A Nubian home and village in Aswan.
Abu Simbel - the Great Temple of Ramsis II and the Temple of Hathor for Queen Nefertari
Edfu - the Temple of Horus
Abydos with the Osiris Temple and Dendara with the Temple of Hathor
West Bank of Luxor - the Valley of the Kings and the Necropolis
Karnak and Luxor's East Bank - the Karnak Temple and the Luxor Temple
...... So the travel blog will continue ........
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