Esto and Rodger
We were riding in a jeep. I sat right at the back. We were on our way to ride on camels. I was a bit scared, but I thought it would be fun. When we arrived, the camels already had their saddles on their backs. They were all standing on their knees, but they were still very tall. I thought that I would have to share a camel, but then the guide said to me: “This camel is yours!”. I was very happy. The guide helped me to get into the saddle, and then he told the camel to get up.
Right after that Eulain shouted: “No, no! I do not want to go on a camel by myself any more!”. Then Mom said: “Get on the camel, it will be fine”. She got on the camel, but when the camel got up, she was a little afraid. It was not for long.
The boy that lead Ruzow’s, Eulain’s and my camels hooked the ropes to one another. I thought I would be right at the back, but it tuned out that I was right in front! After we started moving, I asked the boy what the camel’s name was. “The camel’s name is Rodger,” he said. I liked Rodger because he was very gentle.
When we arrived at the place where we would stay for the night, there was already a fire burning and men were making chai tea. We had the delicious hot chai after we put our bags at our camp beds. We were going to sleep in the open under the stars. While the others were waiting for the sunset, Eulain and I played with a ball between the sand dunes. After a while the guide joined us. This was so much fun.
Later, the guide announced that everyone needed to sit down because they were going to serve the dinner that the men made on the fire. I enjoyed it because it was not too spicy. There were no lights, so we had to eat in the dark. I could only see the outline of the plate.
After dinner, we laid down on our back and looked at the stars. This was very, very beautiful. We went to bed, all six of us sleeping next to each other. Some of us saw shooting stars.
The next morning, the chai was ready when we woke up and the men were making breakfast. While we had breakfast, they saddled the camels. I looked for Rodger. He had a green rope around his neck. When it was time to go back, I got onto Rodger and we all rode back to where we would meet the jeep. I had to say goodbye to Rodger. I was sad and I asked my dad if I could have a camel. The guide then said I can take Rodger home. He just joked, but I actually wished that I could take him home with me.
Climb the Camel!
The open jeep came to a sudden halt in a small clearing where camels were laying on the sand with colourful saddle blankets on their pale brown, humpy backs. It was so exciting to see the animals for the first time from up close. Eulain and I resembled the camels, being covered in dust and sand from riding in the back of the Jeep.
Camels are strange animals. They have long necks that stretch out from their massive, lumpy bodies. Their legs are long and thin, with large knots for knees and funny flat feet that are round with two sharp toes. They have short tails that look like fish back bones with hair and they love to swing them from side to side. Ears that are peculiarly small for such a large animal, sit perched on their heads. Huge teeth and a large mouth that is always chewing, completes the picture. A rod is put through their nostrils. This, as I had once read in The Swiss Family Robinson, is used to control them. Reigns are attached to these rods.
Ruzow climbed his camel like a hay stack. I couldn’t blame him though, it is really hard to get yourself into the saddle without feeling like you are pushing the camel over. A sharp ‘J’ sound from the 10 year old boy who would lead some of our camels, was the command for them to get up. Slowly, one of the brutes lifted his backside into the air with a loud groaning noise. It was now standing on it’s knees, looking absolutely absurd! With another groan, the animal stood up straight, towering above the rest of the beasts that were now all with their backsides in the air.
Riding was the strangest sensation. It was what I imagined riding a dinosaur would feel like and it was really scary looking down, being much higher than I expected. The camel’s motion is unlike a horse’s. Rocking forward then backward, the strange motion slides the inexperienced rider from the front to the back of his saddle. Even though I had to pay for it with chafe marks on my legs, I was thrilled about riding a camel.
At one stage, Mum’s camel was close enough to mine so that I could pat its hard, dented head. To my surprise, it made a sound somewhere between a growl and a loud burp. Our camels’ guide, Arsheesh, told us that Mum’s camel’s name was Lalu, and mine was Kalu. It was such a coincidence that mine had that name, because Mum and Dad would have called me Kalu if I was a boy. I would’ve had a camel twin! For some reason I’m glad I’m a girl 😜. However, I wouldn’t mind a pair of those long eyelashes.
Until next time,
Snippets Of Precious Memories
Camels – what incredible creatures! And so perfectly designed for the desert. Strange too! Especially the way they get up or go down with a person on board. The “walk like an Egyptian” sway, backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, making you giggle. To watch the wonder on the faces of our four beautiful gifts and to know the sight or reference to these animals will forever take them back to this very moment we all shared – priceless!
Nothing beats the atmosphere created by food being cooked over an open fire. And to then sit down on top of a sand dune to be served with a small group of lovely people – an unforgettable experience. Still better it gets when, after filling up on Indian cuisine, you simply topple over to look at the stars, while continuing the conversation. Special, special memories never to be forgotten.
Six desert beds in a row, all covered with the same colourful fabric. My heart overflows as we lie side by side as a family, looking up at the stars, talking. Our four precious children, thanking us again and again for this most wonderful experience.
Paradise is sleeping under the stars in the desert with nothing but sand dunes in sight. And billions of stars. And then you wake up to see the yellow moon rising from behind the dune you face while lying on your back. And still the sky is adorned with bright, beautiful stars. All through the night you force your eyes open in the perfect stillness just to peer at that magical sky for one more minute. And off again to dreamland, or is this it? And then, on one occasion, you catch the first sign of daylight. The light creeps up from behind that same dune and touches all in its reach with colour. Further and further it stretches and paints ever brighter, ever changing the colour on a growing canvas. And then after a long time and many colour changes, the sun rises in all its splendour, the artwork completed. My heart is saturated with the colour of every treasured moment.
The jeep stopped. I was so excited. We were going to get onto our camels here. A man pointed to a very large camel called Captine. When he sat, he was bigger than me. I had to climb on it’s back. When I was on, the man pulled on the rope that linked Esto’s and my camel. Captine stood on his knees. I thought it was not that high because, it was about the size of a horse. Then he stood up on all fours with a jerk. I was so far from the ground. At this height, I am sure you too would be quite afraid. It felt like I was a mile up in the air.
The next morning after breakfast, we set off for Jaisalmer. The twelve year old boy who was walking in front of our camels started running. The camels all followed his example. I never imagined that camels could run. It was heaps of fun, but the bumping around was quite extreme. I clasped my hand over my open drink bottle. It was a bad choice to drink while riding on the camel. I was terrified when I saw that the rope that I was supposed to hold to guide dad’s camel with, had fallen. I made a grab for it, but nearly fell off. In the bump and grab process, I accidentally showered myself and poor Captine in sticky Sprite.
The Thar Desert
On our camels in the sun,
Oh it’s amazing so much fun.
Over the dunes we will tramp,
Until we arrive in our desert camp.
Watching sunset from a dune,
The moment is gone all too soon.
A thali is cooked over an open fire,
What more could my heart desire.
The camels lying in the sand,
There’s so much beauty in this faraway land.
In my bed back at the camp,
With only the stars for a lamp.
Underneath this starry sky,
I watch the comets shooting by.
I’m in the desert oh so dry.
I am gazing at this in awe,
What a sight I long for more.
As I sleep the moon keeps a watchful eye,
From her perch way up high.
Up again at first light,
Watching the sunrise what a sight.
But now it’s time for a wonderful meal,
Excited I’m now beginning to feel.
Back on our camels we’re now on our way,
How I wish we had a longer stay.
So even though we’ve left it behind,
The Thar Desert will be forever in my mind.