Ships of the Desert: A Camel Caravan over Waves of Saharan Sands

By Sarah

My group of Western (Saharan) cowboys ride off into the sunrise just as silk traders did in the 1400s. Except we all had digital cameras.

I last rode a camel exactly four years ago at the annual camel fair in Pushkar, India.  There, farmers and traders convened with

A camel race in Rajastan, India is quite a lively event.

approximately 20,000 camels — and a vast number of a horses, cows, goats, and sheep — to buy and sell their majestic animals.  Thousands of people mulled around tents eating and singing songs and ambitious gamblers and took part in camel races.   The camels were lavishly decorated and it was overall a very merry and boisterous festival that I found greatly entertaining.

On this go-round, I hopped aboard a one-humped camel (in India I was on a two-humper) on the outskirts of the Sahara desert in Morocco with only miles of sand and cacti ahead.  I began by imagining I was royalty, crossing the desert in the 1400s in search of fine purple silks.   After ten minutes, however, I grew bored of the slow trotting vehicle and understood why queens actually avoided the rides themselves and sent servants to bring back gold and spices.   I now understand first hand how the lethargic transport system was  enough to inspire King Henry of Portugal to search for alternate routes to India in 1488.   He simply couldn’t collect enough exotic teas in his lifetime if he relied on camels.  The Cape of Good Hope had to be discovered!   Plus, camels are also not cheap.  Our Berber guide told us one camel is around 1 million dirham, or $118,000.  I’d rather buy a motorbike (though, not one made in Morocco.  I’m going to need a German model).

All these thoughts occupied my mind on the journey.  I was happy when the ride came to an end after an hour and we could camp out in the conveniently luxurious tents that had been so nicely set up for us.  We ate dinner and our Berber guides started a fire and sang songs while we lay in the sand and made wishes on at least 50 shooting stars.  I was plum out of things to ask for by the end.

"Doctors" have proven that waking up to a Saharan sunrise makes people 10 times happier on average than awaking to a top 20 song on your alarm.

The next morning we awoke to the most stunning sunrise I had ever seen.  Light blazed over endless dunes with wave patterns adorning the surface.  I dropped down and wiggled around in the cold sand and enjoyed every grain before hopping back on the camel for my return, quiet journey into the sunrise.  Who knew there could still be so many different worldly experiences with the camel these days?

I kissed and hugged my camel the whole ride and, I must say, they really get an unwarranted bad rep about their breath. My camel smelled lovely.

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About sistersbailey

We are Perrin and Sarah Bailey, collectively known as “The Sisters Bailey”. The moniker was born out of a crazy weekend at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz Fest and it was the first time we had ever been referred to as one unit. We grew up in Alexandria, VA together and then separated for college - Perrin to The University of Pennsylvania and Sarah to Northwestern University – and somehow landed together in New York after graduation. It was in the midst of the hustle of Manhattan that we became friends for the first time in years. Somehow we landed jobs in the same industry - Sarah worked in marketing at HBO and Perrin managed creative digital promotions for her media agency’s main client, Disney - just three blocks from one another. One day we decided to leave our jobs, sell our belongings and travel abroad with a backpack and a collective savings of $10K. The stories of our continuing adventures and those of other fearless travelers are here to inspire you.
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2 Responses to Ships of the Desert: A Camel Caravan over Waves of Saharan Sands

  1. J’ai bien aimé votre site , c’est très enrichissant et je vous suggegère le mien : http://www.casabarata.net/ , casabarata.net est le 1er site de Petites annonces Gratuites au Nord du Maroc, Il s’agit d’un espace d’échange,de réflexion, de partage et de tolérance.

    Merci

  2. Pingback: Top 30 Travel Moments | Sisters Bailey Blog

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