Adonis Diaries

“… Riding this camel is rougher than maneuvering a skiff”

Posted on: September 2, 2009

“… Riding this camel is rougher than maneuvering a skiff” 

(September 2, 2009)

            My first visit to this fishing village was due to a malfunction in the small cruising ship. I have never traveled by sea and I longed for this kind of adventure.  I came to a small sum of money by lick late in my life.  I had no idea how to spend it.  I stumbled on a cruise pamphlet and my longing rekindled powerfully.  No, I didn’t care to board those most modern and most comfortable cruise ships: I wanted to be among a restricted hardy crowd that loved to go on an adventure instead of the predominantly cozy vacationers.

            It took me about a month of investigation to find a sea cruising Travel Company with my specifications. I had first to take to sea to Alexandria to board the cruise. I could have flown but I wanted to taste the sea and check if I could sustain the travel. The trip was to circumnavigate Africa and then cross the Suez Canal on the return trip.

            A hovercraft landed us in this fishing village. Many preferred to stay in the ship for the duration of the repair. I was among the “adventurers” who wanted to trample the shores of Mauritania.  It turned out that the village was about a couple hours drive to Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

            I liked the village and it was the cool “rainy” season.  I decided to pay a deposit for an old rundown house with a functional well situated on a mound and at about 300 meters from the Atlantic Ocean.

            I returned the next year by air with plans.  I could speak and understand classical Arabic but I needed much more time to learn the local slang. I planted roots as a serious business man, not the occasional tourist, by buying shares of a camel caravan leader.  Caravan business suffered serious predicaments.  Caravans by camels moved loads of salt to the interior and going as far as Mali.  Modern transports and the abundance of salt were killing this old fashion trade. I had a mind of transforming part of the business into a tourist old fashion desert cruising enterprise.

Raising camels is a hard job; finding comfort on top of a camel is a misnomer: You might as well say “riding this camel is rougher than maneuvering a skiff”. I have not yet mounted a camel, not even a horse, never a lousy pony.  I figure that you should take a dizzy pill for precaution, just climbing up high, not to say looking at the undulating sand. I figure that riding camels is not an ingrained behavior and gaining patience for camel traveling is obviously not one of the human characteristics.  Either you are trained to focus inwardly like yogi (focus on a point in the desert is out of the question) or you might have developed powerful imagination (like reciting Kublai Khan Poem and adding quatrains to it).  It is not like plunging your kid in deep sea to teach him swimming: quick sand spots are frequent encounters.

In the second millennia techniques for designing saddles for camels as a mounting fighting beast during wars were introduced; there were saddles located ahead, on, or behind the boss of the camel for specific fighting advantages; the main specifications related to matters of control of the beast, stability, and range of vision.

            The Bedouin castes were created by the urban merchants to domesticate camels and then used later to support caravans as fighting guards against raiders.  Raising camels thus became a lucrative trade that specific tribes of Bedouins had the monopoly.

 

Note: this post and the previous one “Out in Mauritania” are day dreaming stories; it up to you to actualize.  These two posts might unfold to a novel or be cut short. Your feedback could be a catalyst to my design.

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2009
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