Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Camel

It didn't take long. Just two days into the A-Z challenge and my forward planning has gone to rats (ha a R) and I'm playing catch up. On the positive side the 529 visits to this blog on Tuesday was the highest this year I believe, and an improvement on a month ago when I wrote a whining entry about how my blog was dying. Yay for the A-Z challenge. It appeals to my inner nerd. It may kill me yet.

If you think the bad tempered camels that hang out by the pyramids of Giza are formidable you should meet their handlers.


A Bactrian camel has two humps

The fact we were on an organized tour and the handlers had been paid up front made little difference to their technique of trying to get more money out of us. One of them squinted at me, confused by my Canadian bumbag, which was a gift from Canada strangely enough.

"Mr. Canada, Mr. Canada," he said, holding out a grubby palm.

"Nope," I said.

"Engleeesh, Engleesh."

I nodded sadly as the camel's neck shot up and I was high in the air on the neck of the grunting beast.

The handler shot me a predatory grin through shattered teeth. "Marks and Spencer. Tally Ho," he chuckled.

"Yes. We all say Tally Ho all the time in England."

Still I felt more like the hunted than the hunter as he whipped the camel's backside and we jerked off towards a particularly empty stretch of desert. I had heard the tales. If the tip wasn't big enough the camel received the mother of all whips to the ass and I'd end up marooned in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.

To some extent I can relate to the Tripadvisor review written by Barbara from Santa Cruz in 2006.

"Unfortunately for me, my camel ride amongst the Pyramids was a horribly scary experience. Scary being that the handler of my camel was an 8 year old boy who hassled me the whole time about me giving him my watch, my shoes, etc. Then he took me away from the group and wouldn't take me back to them unless I gave him money," she wrote.

Camels can be awkward as well as their handlers but then, so too might you, if you spent most of the day with people like Barbara from California on your back.

The camel is an even-toed ungulate with distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back.

You are more likely to encounter a dromedary, which is a one humped beast found in Africa and Arabia than a Bactrian Camel which is a more shaggy animal found in central Asia which has two humps.

There are also New World camels in South America but these are more commonly known as Llamas.

Although camels can be disagreeable and have terrible halitosis, these are definitely the chaps you want with you if you find yourself making a long trip across the Sahara.

Camels do not water in their humps as was once commonly believed. The humps are actually reservoirs of fatty tissue: the concentration of body fat in their humps minimizes the insulating effect fat would have if distributed over the rest of their bodies, helping camels survive in hot climates.

Useless Fact About Camels

The male dromedary camel has an organ on its neck called a dulla, which is a large, inflatable sac he extrudes from his mouth when he's in rut to assert dominance and attract females. It resembles a long, swollen, pink tongue hanging out of the side of its mouth. All of which sounds delightful.

What Not to Say to A Camel

Aim not to tell crude jokes about his toes.

26 comments:

  1. I laughed just trying to picture this ride on top of the grunting beast. I wouldn't think it was funny if I was the one on the camel but the image is hilarious.

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    1. not the most comfortable of experiences Julie

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  2. Tally ho! Marks and Spencer! :D

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    1. yep that was what they thought English people said Dee :)

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  3. I thought you were going to do camel toe.

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  4. I don't think I would ever want to ride a camel. They're big and hairy, and they spit. No thank you. :)

    TaMara
    Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

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    1. oh I know a lot of folks who fit that description TaMara lol

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  5. Note to self: NEVER visit Egypt. Not that I was gonna, but your post just sealed the deal.

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    1. well there is a lot of hassle in North Africa - love the sights and history of Egypt, tho. It's a bit unstable at present, tho.

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  6. When I was a kid we lived in Jordan for a few years and I remember I got to ride a camel. The only thing that really stuck with me about that experience, was that they smelled terrible. Also, the dulla thing you described sounds really gross, lol!

    A-Z participant blogging from Elise Fallson

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    1. yep Elise the dulla thing was an eye opener - thanx for the follow :)

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  7. Positively revolting. Great post :)

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  8. I hope I never have to ride a camel. Yikes! They can be quite mean from what I've heard. Sounds like their handlers are even worse!

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    1. yep it's all good fun - sorta, Daisy :)

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  9. "It resembles a long, swollen, pink tongue hanging out of the side of its mouth". Sounds like my ex.

    There are a few bloggers who are writing about animals for the A-Z Challenge. But your posts are not only unique but absolutely hysterical.

    Thank you (and commiserations) for stopping by and commenting on my post. :)

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    1. Your ex sounds like a charmer Lili, lol - thanks for stopping back, always good to hear from a fellow Newhamite..

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  10. David,

    Awesome posts, I found them very entertaining as well as educational. It seems we have a similar theme as far as the animal pictures go. I'm sorry to hear about your traumatic Baboon experience, hopefully you've recovered.

    Thanks for looking at the Canada Goose,
    Dan Miller

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    1. Thanks for stopping by here Dan, with the difference that you have the groovy pics :)

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  11. I've met a few really kind and like-able camels - yes, I've ridden a couple - and they had mercy on me . . I've seen them spit at and on people - BUT, not me . . . BUT, I've never been in a desert touristy situation - always part of a theater-arts event . . .
    I really enjoy this post - Thanks! Happy AtoZ!!! -g-

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    1. oh at least you have done arty camel rides Maggid - thx for stopping by.

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  12. Tally Ho David.. Anyway...not too impressed with the males dulla. Sounds horrid. I went on a camel once, in the midday sun, in Tunisia. Horrific and my inner thighs were chaffed to bits.

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    1. OMG have also been on one in Tunisia - had to wear full Arab dress and felt like a right prat, lol. owch re inner thighs.

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