A Camel Named Macarena and Other Tales

Camel ride, Aswan, Egypt

What visit to Egypt is complete without a camel ride? And even better, a ride on a camel named Macarena?

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about riding a camel for the first time. They are so much larger than horses and I have not had good luck with horses in past. Not surprisingly, getting on my camel (who was cheerfully named Macarena by one of our Egyptian guides) was a bit tricky and wobbly.  But once I got on and settled in, the ride was actually kind of relaxing – I just bounced along gently as we walked through the desert.  There were multiple guides who followed along with us and kind of guided the camels so really, I had nothing to worry about. We rode for about an hour on the West Bank (the same area where the Tombs of the Nobles are) and passed St. Simeon’s Monastery in the distance.

Camel in Egypt

After the camel ride, we spent the rest of the day wandering around Aswan with Shady trying to retrieve Chantelle’s ATM card (a bank machine had eaten it the previous night) and then trying to find a working ATM. While ATMS were plentiful in Aswan, working ATMs were hard to come by.  Going to the bank to get Chantelle’s card was hilarious – they led all five of us through the bank out to the back and then a guard just came, opened up a kiosk that connected to the ATM (which was locked with all of a padlock!) and  pulled out her card. He didn’t even ask for any identification to prove it belonged to her.

On another interesting cultural note, when we finally found a working ATM, there was quite a long line.  Chantelle and I just hopped at the back of the line but soon realized there were actually two separate lines – one for men and one for women.  The women stood in a line off to the side and after every one or two men used the ATM, they would let a woman in. Shady told us to stand in the men’s line since we were foreigners, but the men insisted we stand in the women’s line.

Kom Ombo
Temple at Kom Ombo

By late afternoon, we finally departed Aswan to set sail for Luxor.  After dinner, we made a late evening stop at Kom Ombo to visit the temple there dedicated to Shobek, the crocodile god and Haroeris, the old man version of the god Horus.  Our visit turned into an informal scavenger hunt as Shady had given us a verbal list of things to look for while we were there. I also had my guidebook, which had a detailed explanation of the temple, so I tried my hand at playing tour guide.

Although it was quite late by the time we returned to the boat after visiting Kom Ombo, we still had a “fancy dress” party to enjoy. Yes, the next day was going to be a tough one.

Note: I visited Egypt in January 2008, prior to the revolution. This post was originally published in 2010.

1 thought on “A Camel Named Macarena and Other Tales”

  1. I also sat on a camel in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. I agree with you , even I was a bit scared to ride on one initially. But they are the most adorable of animals 🙂

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