Camel riding along the beach at sunset is a Moroccan experience that surprisingly surpassed all our expectations.
In my mind’s eye I’m imagining sandy North African deserts, Bedouin tents, lush, green watering hole oasis’ and warm, balmy evenings all set conveniently around a small campfire where, above us, the stars of the heavens twinkle in the firmament with such splendour, competing against each other to outshine their stellar neighbour.
The reality can’t be further from this wonderful fairytale image, as our beaten up taxis take us from our hotel to a patch of scrubland on the outskirts of Agadir where we find several camels and a few horses tied up next to a rough shanty shack.
I am sure the gathered animals’ welfare is only a concern to their handlers if they show any lack of form or disability to carry out their daily allotted tasks, which are solely to transport tourists past the local rubbish dump and drainage ditches to an inlet on the coast and back again. None of the camels spit at us which is a blessing and there is the standard photo-call opportunity for us all as we clamber aboard these ‘ships of the desert’.
Charlotte has hired 4 of these large beasts for the expedition as each is able to carry two people at a time. They are Dromedary camels. Just the one hump for these chaps rather than two humped Bactrian camel variety. Although they look like they could take a bite out of you or spit in your face with impunity, apart from a few moans and grunts they are pretty docile creatures. The surrounding throng of flies are more troublesome and as usual, they take a fancy to my exposed areas whenever possible.
Perched high above the ground on a rug covered structure which is lashed to the creature’s back, my legs splayed across its wide girth, I find myself apologising to Charlotte as due to the animal’s natural gait, we lurch along for the next hour or so as I repeatedly ram Charlotte from behind. With no stirrups or footpegs to support my feet, which are simply left dangling at the brute’s sides, my nether regions are in such close proximity to Charlotte that with the walking movement of our ride, my chances of ever becoming a father have now been totally destroyed, due to the incessant banging motion that is occurring.
Falsetto singing ensues as we hysterically sway along the route together, wondering how long we are going to have to endure this torturous testicular tapdance.
During the excursion, I do believe at one point my Adam’s apple has two other companions!
Poetic licence in a certain James Bond film states that the testicles, to save them from damage or causing pain during Sumo competition, are ‘massaged’ from their sacks and popped up into the little tubes from whence they dropped at puberty. To have them thrust forcibly and without warning back up there and for such a long time has been somewhat of an eye watering experience.
If I was standing in front of the nurse right now and asked to ‘drop and cough’ I fear the examining medical staff would be noting on their forms that I was a very late developer indeed! This was a practice that happened at around the age of 11 years, usually happening at school, where you were marched in front of a nurse and told to expose yourself! It was of course mildly embarrassing at that tender age.
Anyway, back to the story…
Gasping at every slap and sway, the children on their camels are left wondering what on earth is going on as Charlotte and I have now dissolved into fits of puerile, immature and childish giggles. I can’t quite believe that this is a form of transport where you can cross inhospitable areas for days on end without ruination of your reproductive organs! It is so uncomfortable that I try to hoist myself away from Charlotte to perform some rudimentary adjustments while still on the move. It doesn’t work as quicker that quick I’ve slid up behind her and am bouncing my family jewels into the base of her spine once again!
We finally make it back to a local Berber Souk where we have an authentic Moroccan meal prepared while our host explains how Morocco came to be called Morocco and how everyone from the differing religious backgrounds, rich and poor alike, co-exist peacefully in this region of Africa.
Following dinner, our taxi has somehow forgotten our existence, (do they not know who we are?), so our host rustles up a vehicle for four of our party while the other three of us have to hold fire until another taxi arrives some time later to convey us back to the hotel.
What an experience! At least we can say we’ve done that, been through the desert on a camel with no name … and had a meal with the locals…
Did that meal have goat testicles on the menu? Maybe, or maybe not, but my meatballs have been well and truly, thoroughly ‘tenderised’…Ahem!
This really has been a riding experience that I’d rather not repeat. I’ve learnt the lesson – whatever it was – and unless you are a eunuch or have intentions of having a baby, wear something that will not cause restrictions to those tender pearts, or do as the locals do and just walk alongside the camels and leave them to carry your bags instead of crushing them!
Carry on regardless…