Monday, March 16, 2009

What a ride!!!

Yesterday we drove to the OAT camp. This camp has 12 tents for "campers". They are big tents with zippered walls. Spacious enough. Bathroom was modern but the shower was a stool and a spray shower. Interesting!! We had a good time. Of course with ear plugs didn't hear much while we slept. The Trip Leader had suggested we just pack an overnight back rather than lug our suitcases to the tent so we did that. We then met at 5:00 for the camel ride. The camels were there on their knees. We all mounted our camel. They were "two peerson" camels with a saddle and a pillow behind the saddle. We all sat on the pillow because that was the more stable ride. Get on the camel was easy. STAYING on the camel while it got up was interesting. You are holding onto the hub of the saddle with one hand and the back of the saddle with the other and then hang on for dear life! The camel throws you forward as the hind legs come up then back at the front legs come up. Ben showed the Trip Leader (who is also an amateur photographer) how to take pictures so we have pictures of the whole process for Ben and I! Then we were led by the camel's owner around through several villages. We saw and waved to the women working in the fields, to the children waving to us and the adults in the villages. These villages were pretty clean considering they had cows and water buffalo all around. They pick up the dung, mix with straw, form into patties and dry them (sometimes on the roof) and then stack them for fuel. They are very good for fuel because they burn slowly for cooking and heating. Apparently they don't smell because the air is so hot and dry they dry quickly. All I can tell you is everywhere we go (except in the big cities) we see stacks and stacks of "fuel". The ride lasted about 40 minutes and then we dismounted after the camel laid down. The camel is a most unusual animal!! We also see camels all along the road pulling carts. The ride was terrific. Riding a camel through the India countryside! Wow!!! Afterwards we had some men come and perform a song and dance for us. They were very good in what they did although we didn't have a clue as to what they were saying or what the story was all about.

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