Thursday, December 3, 2009

november/09 trek

I recently went on another five day trek in November. The first few mornings were cold, damp and misty. But by midday, the skies had cleared and the weather was warm again. Actually quite hot when I was walking!

We went to some areas I had never been to before, some old abandoned bedouin villages, one where the mosque is filled with sand. Stunning.

We passed small oasis's, stopping for lunch or tea under the date palms. One area had huge rock formations, stark against the backdrop of the desert.

Near the end of the trek, we stopped at a marabout shrine. A marabout is the name for a Sufi, a spiritual nomad. The name marabout is also given to the building that sufi's spend time in for spiritual reflection. These can be found anywhere - even in the middle of the desert.

I also saw my first snake in the desert. I knew they were around, but had never 'had the pleasure' before... I also enjoyed getting close to some female camels and their young. Female camels roam free in the Sahara, the males being the ones who stay and work in the villages.

One of the amazing things to me is when I see pieces of ostrich shells in the desert. This time, we also found many ancient arrowheads, just laying in the sand beds. I took a few, but left most of them. Time is so different here....

Mabrouk was a dream on this trek, he is becoming such an amazing camel. I spend many hours in Glissia talking to him, taking ticks out of him (by hand, yes!!!). Interesting, the word for tick in arabic is "dilem" - it makes me wonder if the english word, dilemma has any connection.... But when I take his ticks out (which are very uncomfortable and itchy), he knows I am doing something nice, and he now sits very very still while I work. And, now he runs better for me, and listens better to me.

Now, for Lasfar.... hmmmm. Lasfar was such a bad boy on this trek. I knew he was in heat, he has been in heat before, but now that he is fatter, healthier and stronger, he has gone kind of crazy. He tried to bite me one day. But worse, he tried to jump both Mabrouk and the other camel that was on the trek. Unfortunately, they are both male, and weren't too keen to be his partner! Plus he jumped them when he and they had their full gear on their backs. The guys had to run after him, and hit him with a stick until he got off. It was actually quite scary! Two camels, each weighing close to two tons, getting into a fight, the sound of their bodies colliding was intense....

So, I have made the decision to neuter him this spring. His horniness is kind of wasted anyway - he will never have a female - if he was taken to be with the females in the sahara, he would be killed by another male (younger and stronger). As well, when I have my own place and have both Mabrouk and Lasfar living with me, I could never handle him if he attacked Mabrouk or another camel. Sigh... the decisions of being a camel owner....

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