The way see it, if God had wanted us to be up high, on Day 8 He would have created skyscrapers. And if He intended for humans to ride on animals, He would have created them with saddles on their backs.
But He didn't.
Early Sunday morning, my mom and I took our pillows (no, not the ones we sleep on!!) and made our way to the airstrip where we we joined five friends to wait for the camels to show.
In Niger, the camel is a normal part of life. No matter where you go, you will find people transporting heavy loads on the back of their camel . . . even the middle of traffic in the capital city! And word on the street is that up in the desert they race them like horses.
I've been here nine months now, and had managed to avoid the only tourist-trap activity we can offer, the camel ride.
I think I've been offered at least once every six weeks to go, and always had the easy excuse of 'I'm going to wait until my mom comes' . . . but, like going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, when Momma actually shows up, I've got no more easy out!
We were seven, and the one-armed herder only brought five camels . . . one girl backed out immediately, and I quickly offered to go 'another' time . . . but the one-armed herder wasn't about to lose another paying customer. Momma and I could ride tandem.
Now, let me emphasize again . . . I HATE HEIGHTS!! And I HATE RIDING ON ANIMALS!! What the heck was I thinking climbing on the top of a camel's hump??
|Getting our lean-back-lean-forward-cause-the-camel's-got-eight-knees|
The one-armed herder (he's only got one arm now because one of his camels bit him . . . yeah, and you're laughing at me for not wanting to go for a ride!!) gave us instructions: When the camel first stands, you will need to lean back, then when he stands all the way up, you will lean forward. We practiced.
What the one-armed herder didn't tell us, was that as soon as we had practiced once, the camel would stand.
Needless to say, we were caught a little off guard!
|The last time I smiled before it was all over.|
Best part of the whole thing: I had a good excuse to wear jeans.