We land in Marrakech and quickly are swept away by a complete stranger holding up a sign that reads “Knecht”. My research on the camel trek was sketchy at best. I am not that big on details when it comes to adventures. Sometimes, it’s best not to know and just “go with it”. I did, however, review the itinerary and noted the need for warm clothes in June (which was not needed). The drive through the Atlas Mountains takes 5 hours and is mired in near miss car crashes around mountain corners, construction, police stops for speeding along with some language barriers about why we needed to speed. We are dropped off in the middle of the desert. In the distance I can see the camels and the nomads. Oh, the nomads, what a wonderful breed of maleness. I ask one “Where were you born?” He points off into the distance,”There”. I look confused, he clarifies “I was born in the desert”. “Ah,” I sigh. So amazing.
There is a brief tutorial about how to get on the hump and we are off. I pinch myself because I can’t believe this is real. I am riding on a camel in the north edge of the Sahara desert. It never occurred to me that the ride would quickly become uncomfortable. These are dromedary camels (only one hump) and you are sitting directly on the hard substance bouncing up and down over uneven terrain for over 2 hours. It was breathtaking, magical, but my female parts were ready to descend when we finally got to the camp. The lowering of the camel was like a lift going down. The height of this magnificent creature is staggering.
We were assigned a yurt and went to clean up for dinner. Dinner was a variety of Tangine foods. This means food cooked in clay pots and consists mostly of root vegetables, lamb and spices. It goes dark quickly as we emerged from the dining tent. Our jaws dropped to see the sky. They don’t call it the land of a thousands lights for nothing. The night sky was breathtaking.
A fire was set up and the nomads began to drum and sing for us. They encouraged us to try our hand at the drums. I was in heaven. Much later we drifted off to bed in our Arabian tents. A gust of wind caused our door to swing open about 4 am. I felt it and was awakened. I got up, quickly dressed and made my way up the nearest sand dune to watch the sunrise. The camels were hobbled half way up the dune and I stopped to sit and hang with them for a bit. It’s a moment I will never forget and have used to help me transition from awake to meditation on occasion.
We come from the earth. The berbers of North Africa have something subtle in the way they move and exist. It’s a sense of being content that I am not sure I have ever experienced before or at least noticed. They live in a mystic world and I am so grateful I got to experience it for just a moment.