Shri Jasnath Asan, Rajasthan, India
Photo © Shri Jasnath Asan, 2016
12 NOV 2016
CAMEL TREK 101
I am convinced that the camels is an animal made up from scrap and spare parts.
The camel's startlingly efficient big round feet are like big flexible dinner plates are perfect to walk across sand without sinking in. Long legs keep them away from the worst of the heat radiating from the desert sand, and the large single hump is a great place for storage of fat which, when needed, they can metabolize to produce water. Their not-to-be-forgotten face expresses a distinct, quirky personality, somewhere between fiercely frightening and bizarrely humorous.
The bad attitudes of camels have been exaggerated. I saw less spitting, biting and/or meanness from our camels then I saw in the presidential election we just survived. It is a proven fact that the IQ of camels also exceeded the majority of our candidates. (end of political commentary)
To ride a camel is an experience somewhere between fun and terror, with the terror part occurring mostly when they stand up or sit down. When I met my trusty steed, "Mamoo" the camel, and he eyed me with much suspicion and distrust. The apple I brought him overcame both. The camel was seated so I easily crawled aboard. He was given the order to rise. On the way up I had a swaying, lurching ride, then suddenly I found myself 12 feet above the ground.
My camel, for some unknown camel reason, kept stomping his front feet at random intervals, which seemed to be somewhat correlated to the appearance of pesky flies, and somewhat just camel weirdness. This unexpected stomping created an unnerving random abrupt swaying in 6 directions, plus if that weren’t enough, my dear Mamoo just kept sitting down on the job which gave me the huge opportunity to practice my skills of camera and water bottles juggling while hanging on for dear life during these up and down rides of 12 feet. My camel driver seemed to be amused … actually so was I. Not sure about the Mamoo.
About sitting down … Returning to terra firma is the same awkward process of standing up but in reverse. On the way down to the ground to sit, the front legs fold in first and suddenly I was leaning as far back on the camel as I could to counter balance the animals precipitous, butt high, 70 degree angle until the ungainly hind legs started folding in. Once both sets of legs were tucked in I was again safe and sound back on the ground and could hop off. My stomach joined me soon after. It all felt like a semi controlled car crash.
Our camel caravan wandered through the dunes for some 3 hours before we reached the tent camp Osiyan Camel Camp at sunset. The term “tent camp” doesn’t do it justice. It is a permanent camp with canvas tents, slab floors, electricity, and private bathrooms complete with hot and cold running water. No suffering going on here.
Next up was a beautiful night of traditional dancing, music, and dinner under the Indian sky.
The big bright moon was two days from full. It couldn’t be more perfect.
Panchla Siddha, India
Sharon K. Schafer
I paint, photograph, and speak about wild places in an act of reciprocity that is as vital to me as heartbeat or breath.
My interest in the magic and mystery of the natural world lies at the intersection of art and science.
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Generous support and inspiration provided by
Shri Jasnath Asan