Friday, August 10, 2012

Camel Riding in the Judean Desert

Lets go back to Israel.
I've ridden a horse, an elephant in a shopping center parking lot when I was 6, and a camel.
The ultimate tourist adventure while in the Holy Land - ride a camel. Why not!
The Genesis Land is in the heart of the Judean Desert. Tents, tables low to the ground, hyssop tea - and maybe even a visit by Abraham (or one of his friends).
But to get to this part, you have to experience the first part.
We were greeted by Eliezer, Abraham's manservant, who took us to a group of camels that were being prepared for our journey to the tent. It was either ride the camel or a long schlep around the hill on foot. How hard could it be to ride a camel groomed for carting tourists less than a mile around a wide dirt path?
I waited my turn while my camel was prepared for me. Hubby - being the cautious non adventurous type chose - with determination, to hike it. No camels for him, thank you very much. So I was paired with another gentleman.
Side story.
There were two single gals on the tour and they were going to be pared up on one camel. However one of the gals came down with sudden "I don't want to do this!!" syndrome and my valiant husband (with a prompt from the L~rd) chose to ride with her. You know - strong man to save the damsel in distress.
 But it was indeed ordered by G~d because he kept his hands on her shoulders the whole time, telling her she was okay, and she later said that is what kept her from loosing all sense of reality.
Back to my adventure.
Climbing on a camel, sitting in the front looking down the neck of this huge beast is something else. Even with a saddle, it feels like at any minute you'll slide on down that long neck and onto the dirt. And a camel on her knees hoisting herself up with a saddle and two occupants is not a smooth ride. My unhealthy back was not happy with the ordeal.
Okay, so now we're ready to cruse. Those first few steps were interesting and starting to be kind of fun. Roll, sway, roll sway...until my beastie decided she was tired of the whole thing and wanted to go down to her pen where her baby was. She saw the pen and stopped. Then she began a maneuver of sorts - I think trying to rid her back of these growths that had attached themselves to her. She lowered herself to her knees ( not fun for my sciatica). Me, being in front lurched forward. That didn't work and we stayed on her back because her leader told us to stay put. So she, with a camel noise, lumbered back up, swayed in place and with another camel noise headed back down to her knees again. Once more we were told to stay put. By then I was ready to ignore the highly trained in camel, young man, unlatch my belt and bolt. But with prayer - lots of prayer I hung on for all I could. She then pulled herself up again and started backing up. We skirted a deep ravine. My thinking - she was trying to dump her load overboard.
 Now she had two handlers holding her reins. No one said anything. They just waited and looked at her. Finally I guess the camel whispering worked and she began to amble past the pen (which was down the ravine) and on to the tent.
When we were safely delivered from our camel, I asked the handler if he was worried that she wanted to make a dash for the pen. He said yes. Her little one was down there, it was close to feeding time and she was ready to leave the party - guests and all.
I should have gotten the tee shirt. I Survived a Camel Ride in Judea!

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