Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Camel Ride

One of the highlights we all had prior to arriving in Morocco was to visit the Sahara and ride a camel. We knew we were going to have a great time but yesterday as we rode the camels through the dunes, I could not articulate what I felt. It was such a surreal experience. Before we actually got on our camels, we were greeted at the Ciel Bleu Lodge by some Ghanoan musicians playing and singing an awesome song. It was an amazing feeling to walk into this place through the greeting party listening to the fantastic music while receiving a hot glass of mint tea. (The tea was got, the outside temperature was even hotter.) There were incents burning which gave the lobby a spiritual atmosphere.
By the time we arrived, we were exhausted. We had been travelling for about 8 hours. The desert heat reminded us that we were not in control here. I felt as if I was in Bakersfield. It was easily over 110 degrees. When the music stopped, we were honorably welcomed then we were escorted to our tents. Tents in the middle of the desert! I have camped before but this was new to me. I was trying to figure out how I was going to sleep since the heat did not let up. I quickly set my belonging aside and practically ran over to where the camels were. I was like a young boy eager to ride the marry-go-round. I was gestured to approach a camel. I had a smile on my face that could not be wiped off. I had seen camels on this trip before but now I was on one.
One by one my peers were assisted onto their camels. There was laughter and other interesting noises that came from both person and animal. But I think my colleagues would agree that we were in entralled. Thus began our trek to the top dune to await the sunset. All along the way there were countless flashes and videoing. We went up and down dunes trying to figure out our camels as they moaned, pooped, peed, and drooled. There was the occasional scream as the camels went downhill. When told to get off, my camel had better hydraulics than the low riders back home. It was a smooth descend.
We were led to the top of the dune to prepare for the sunset. It was very cool up there. Within minutes the spectacle was over and it was time to head back to the camp. But, not before I could absorb the ambiance. The ride back was full of laughter and people recounting what they felt. This experience was worth it. The rest of the evening was full of music, great food, dance, bonding, and a time to absorb our surrounding. There was a full moon which made the mood very romantic. I hope to share this experience in the future with my family. At long last, it was time to sleep in the tents. Although it was not as comfortable due the heat, I slept like a baby. And from the comments that I heard today, it sounds like I was out. Apparently my snores kept one or two people up. I am just grateful that I got to live a dream.

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