Yes, this man is sleeping on the job? He is one of the policemen stationed near the Pyramids to protect them – well, lucky for the Pyramids the camel is very alert!
Sitting on a camel is not very comfortable. I did it years ago. The ride was bumpy and rough, and I was not sure the camel would not lose me. It didn’t. We made it back to its owner, but since then I only look at them. Most of the time they are docile, but when they are not, they spit, or try to bite. And they don’t smell too good when you get close – but having said all these unkind things about the camel, the truth is, it is hard to imagine life in the Middle East without the help of the camel. They provide their owners with five important necessities;
TRANSPORT- carrying their belongings or the owners themselves through the desert for many days without needing food or water.
MEAT – their meat is very low in cholesterol and can be eaten by Muslims
MILK – for the Desert Nomad Tribes it was whole food and they needed nothing else for up to six months
SKIN – the skin of the animal was used to make tents
WOOL – the high quality fiber of their hair was woven and made into rugs and clothing.
A camel can live up to 50 years. It eats just about anything; meat or vegetables, sweet or salty; drinks fresh or salty water, and it can absorb 30 gallons of water in 10 minutes.
When you go to a super market today, there is camel milk on the shelves. I was curious to know what it was like and bought some. It is sold in cartons just like cow milk, but the taste is not quite the same. I did not dislike it, and to the surprise of my friends I drank the whole quart.
Visiting the Middle East today, it is not easy to see camels. In the United Arab Emirates we went to visit a farm where they are raised. In Morocco I saw none.
And in Egypt I only saw them around the Pyramids where – besides helping the police – they are all dressed up waiting for the tourists.
If you ever have the chance to take a ride on a camel’s hump, don’t let me deter you, everyone should try it once.
More from Egypt soon