Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yankee Doodle

Yes, Yankee Doodle was his name, the camel that is. My Camel Guide whose name escapes me now because it wasn't as outstanding as having a camel named Yankee Doodle. To get on a camel is easy so people say who have not been up since 2:00 a.m. in the morning, performing mini-miracles at the Pyramid and the Sphinx and then the bright sun of the Giza Desert in your eyes. Well, I am up there, now Yankee Doodle must stand up. Lean back says my guide, I lean and then he shouts lean forward. Wow I am up here. Now I have a moment to breathe while he helps others up on their camel. And don't you know all I hear in my head is the song I learned when I was a child. Yes, before we started out on our tour by camel, before I mastered how to sit on Yankee Doodle...this is what played in my head, a childhood favorite they say...
Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.

And yes, by now you too have that playing in your head. No need to thank me. hahaha Really? A childhood favorite? Perhaps it was only a favorite because the lyrics were so easy and rhyming for a child....not a favorite of mine and out on that camel that day...I was trying to come up with my own lyrics to the tune like pony changed to Camel, stuck pom poms on his head and walked with his guide Tony and with Ra'chel be handy. You get the drift....

Then we start to move, which really from this high up you can see so many things. Very cool view of the pyramids. This is why this is done on this part of the trip. I really did enjoy the jaunt; that is until we had to go uphill and downhill. And well, it is not really flat terrain as you can see.

It makes you feel like you are going to fall off. All you can hold onto is the moving camel's saddle...really safe. I mean it, really! hahaha So as we continued on, our camel guide had three camels, mine in the middle, one in front and one behind they are all attached by a single rope that I was told to place on my camels saddle. Really? I am qualified to do this, I think to myself. But hey, I am here writing about it so I guess I am.

I find out that Janna's camel's name is Michael Douglas. I am so jealous...I totally have always loved Michael Douglas since the 80's and Romancing the Stone. I was barely a pre-teen when that movie came out. Yes, everyone that is where my affinity for old-er men began. (Okay that is a whole other blog that I can write about....and who knows someday maybe I will...let's suffice it to say that I like older men...there is only one in particular that I love though.) Now Michael Douglas was the Camel in front and Charlie Brown was the camel in back. Yep, really catering to the Americans here. I mean I think I would have liked if my camel's name was Sayid or Babu or Amenotep, but whatever.

Now did I mention there were 33 of us on this journey to Egypt from all over the world? For example Janna was from Holland and Carole from Belgium. Amazing. Well all 33 of us with the exception of 2 people went out on the camel ride. So at any given moment there were several of us walking around each other...well Yankee Doodle kept up to his name and schmoozed with each camel as it passed by. Pulling me this way and that way. He was quite the stud (don't know if that is the correct word to describe him, but it works for the purposes of my story), but he made sure we collided with the other camels as we passed by. Yes, me and only me had that experience and my guide was too busy walking Michael Douglas that he wasn't aware that Yankee Doodle wasn't "minding his step".

Anyway, Yankee Doodle and I continued along that is until our Camel Guide decided to stop us (thankfully on a more flattened terrain at least for the moment) for a photo opportunity. He took our pictures. He took many pictures. He instructed us to lift our arms...I did one and then he said both. Meanwhile, I am thinking Yankee Doodle isn't going to find a Yankee Doodelette while I am not holding on, is he? Here is the final confirmation picture ...I did it! I did it! I wrote a camel and survived the jaunt.

The truth is we had a little ways to go before getting off the camel. When we arrived at the end of the camel ride, we had to give them a tip. Which as I may have mentioned earlier in my blog, everyone gets a tip, it is expected by them. So they help you off the camel, Camel Guide helps me safely off Yankee Doodle who by now is so non-plused to be around humans (he does this too often) and waits for me to open my purse to take out money. Hovers over me is more of the word. So I take out my money and tip him and he says come one more. He wants American Money and I tell him I only have pounds which is the truth as I traded my American dollars for pounds when I arrived. Then he does the same to Carole as well.

Then a police officer on a camel trots his way over to me and wants a picture with me. I say no (hadn't learned no in Arabic yet, but after this I learned!) and put my camera away. He comes closer to me and I see a machine gun at his side and think to myself okay better take picture. I stand by the camel and he reaches his hand on my shoulder (not the camel, the police man). And someone nearby ( I even forget who) used their camera to take the picture. Now, I didn't want the picture and I didn't even use my camera and I had to pay for the picture. I said thank you and walked away...he followed me and asked for a tip. I gave him a tip and he left very disappointed that I didn't give him more. (Money people--that is what I am talking about!) Really? The police are in on this whole bachsheesh (tip) thing. Now, it is 11:30 a.m. and time to head back to the hotel...all in a day's work I guess...

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