Tuesday, August 23, 2011

...a desert romance

Yesterday morning my friends Clark and Rochelle and their three boys picked me up and took me back to their home in Al Ain, about 1 1/2 hours away.  We talked non-stop all day long while I did my laundry.  I now know what kind of drying rack I will buy when I am finally out of the hotel and in my own place. It took only 15 to 20 minutes for each load of my clothes to dry. 
In the late afternoon we decided to drive around Al Ain so they could show me where they lived last year.  I got to see the border with Oman (but couldn't cross it because I don't have my passport and visa back yet) and saw "mountains" in the distance. 
Rochelle wondered if the camel market would be open, so we decided to go see.  There wasn't much going on--it was close to sundown and time for iftar (breaking of the fast).  We finally spotted some camels and Clark pulled over so we could take a look.  We would have been happy with taking a few photos through the fence.  All of a sudden a little pickup roared up next to us.  I rolled down the window and the driver said, "Baby!  Baby!  Come!  Come!" 

So we got out of the car and followed the man into the enclosure.  He insisted that I take the rope and touch the camel.  The two youngest boys were not at all happy about being so close to the big animals, but Rochelle, Gabe and I got pet them. 
We had all thanked the man for letting us see his camels and were ready to go back to the car.  All of a sudden, he grabbed Rochelle's arm and took off across the yard, hollering back at us, "Come!  Come!"  He only let go of her arm when she said, "Hey!  I'm a married woman!"  (Clark was looking on, trying to calm the little ones and wondering, "What is that man doing with my wife?!" 
The handler took us into another pen with an old camel that was lying down.  "Sit! Sit!" he ordered, so we sat. Gabe wasn't so sure, but the man made him sit for the picture. 
Then he had Rochelle get in the picture.  I was so surprised to see him caress her cheek.  Rochelle was speechless. 
Then, to top it all off, he put his head scarf on her head.  Rochelle was about to lose it by this time.
We again thanked the man for the experience (!) and headed back to the car.  The man followed me, saying "Money, eat! Eat!"  I was willing to pay him because I had wanted to see the camels so gave him  a 5 dirham bill. He saw that I had more cash in my wallet so kept asking for more.  I gave him 10 more, but he still kept asking.  The price kept going up until Rochelle told him that 25 was enough and we wouldn't pay any more.  I didn't think that $8 was much at all.   But, I doubt that Rochelle will take me again any time soon!


Leslie Morgan said...

Ha! Until you've actually ridden one of those desert beasts, don't be bragging. I've done it. I didn't care for it much. I'm glad you look so good in your pictures - happy and smiling, learning new things. It doesn't get much better than that!

Doozyanner said...

Les, going for a camel ride is on my happy list while I'm here. I'm sure it will be quite different than anything I have ever experienced.