Our Russel-Brand-lookalike guide hollered for a volunteer to be the first to ride a camel.
Two ladder steps later, volunteer #1 grasped the reins and giggled with delight. It had been years since i’d been on a horse and only seconds since i’d made a decidedly eff-it decision and jumped in the saddle. There was no watching how it was done, no hanging back to figure out the rhythm or canter or trot, just a blazing leap and brassy sense of confidence.
Until the camel started to stand. I wasn’t ready for the weird knees, the lurching forward as the camel rose to its full, much-taller-than-a-horse height. The humps that secured the fat wad of fabric connecting me to the animal seemed considerably less stable as the sea beneath the cliffs dropped another ten feet below me.
I think the sound i emitted would best be called a shriek-guffaw. There was a lot of shouting and laughing and swearing. I clamped my legs and promptly forget every riding lesson from third-grade horse camp i ever knew. In the grand total of the three minutes i got to spend trotting around the parking lot, i think i spent at least two and three-quarters cracking up.
The camel knelt to the ground and once again i was on a rollercoaster of backwards-and-forwards bingo. I felt like the Star Wars All-Terrain Armoured Transport crashing into a pile of ton-ton ridden snow, except in a parking lot surrounded by tourists. No stepping ladder was to be found near my camel, this round. Instead, the camel guide’s hands were suddenly clamped around my waist and unceremoniously plopping me on the ground in a guffaw-shrieking heap of HOLY MARY’s.
I gave the camel an affectionate pat. Our lunch-lurching three minutes were extraordinary. They were also ridiculous. Mostly, though, our three magical minutes together were my favorite three minutes in the whole of Morocco.
I’m back now, nursing a lobster colored sunburn and swaddling myself in wool sweaters. It was an incredible trip made especially incredible by two darling flatmates, Joan and Abby. I have so many more tales to share – a wander through the blue city of Chefchouen, a grazing over gelato and tapas and wine in Spain, a ghastly menu error that resulted in fried anchovies, to name a few.
But i also have another plane to catch in some 16 hours or so, bound across the Atlantic for Carolina skies. My grandmother is not well, so i am going home for the week to be with my family. There will be more stories soon, though! Thanks for sticking around.
current jam: ‘ho hey’ the lumineers.
best thing: camels! by the mediterranean sea!