Thursday, November 25, 2010

Riding Camels in Chinguetti and Visiting Terjit..

So I have to say I was a bit more prepared for the camel ride than I could have been.  The others had been telling me all sorts of things about camels and what to avoid.  Here is what they said:
1. Camels make lots of noise..they are very very loud..and they complain a lot.
2. Camels don't really want you on their back.
3. Don't fall off the camel because it will hurt.
4. They spit.
5. Don't kick their sides or they will run away with you into the desert..and they don't know how find their way back.

Here is what they didn't tell me:
1. Their eyelashes are sooooo long and beautiful.
2. Flies like them a lot.
3. It takes three people to help you get on the camel.
4. It is actually really tiring to ride a camel..and the saddles are not so comfy..

The camel handlers and camels arrived on time at 8:30am.  I have a feeling this was because the Mayor had organized the trip for us.  I got on the first camel and so I got the biggest camel.  I think it was meant for one of the men, but I am glad they pushed me forward.  He was a lovely camel.  The handler put a ring in then camel's nose in order to control him.  I am not sure what would happen if the ring wasn't there..actually I think he might have hightailed it out of there.  I don't feel great thinking about that aspect of the experience so I won't dwell there.  I won't ramble on here either.  Everyone got a camel and there was a handler for every two camels.  We rode to the dunes and back.  My handler was the oldest man in the group...and the chattiest.  He talked the entire time to the other two..who threw in the occasional response..something like, "yup, we hear that", "say it again", "so true", etc.  We have no idea what they were talking about because it was in Hasania. I think it was better we didn't understand it.  Oh, and I had the camel who loved loved to snack on any bits he could find..so he would stop abruptly and bend down to pull dried grass from the sand.  He was so funny. Of course the others thought this was very appropriate given my special love for all things crunchy and salty..

It was a good experience...although I felt a bit bad for the camels.  They handlers seem to like their animals though..and my handler actually found snacks for my hungry camel.  I am glad I did it, but unless I need to use them as a means of transportation somewhere specific, I will not choose to do it again.

We had to leave to drive back to Nouakchott shortly after our ride ended.  About two hours into our drive we decided to stop in Terjit..a very pretty spot down an extremely bumpy dirt road..It is actually an oasis.
On the dirt road to Terjit//

See the people I see in the rock?

The sunset..

On the outskirts of Nouakchott..

I had to add all these sunset pictures because it was soooo beautiful to see...a perfect end to our short but memorable trip..