Camel and Balloon options – To do or not to do: Travel Thoughts 8


© irene waters 2019

This has to be a decision based entirely on yourself but I’ll tell you our experience. I don’t have a good head for heights combined with movement. Roger doesn’t have a good head for heights. We had decided that we were not going to take the optional camel tour.


© irene waters 2019

We had been warned not to ride a camel at the pyramid itself. It was proposed that these beasts were not quite as humanely treated as that would be available to us after we left the pyramid but that didn’t worry us as we had both been on a camel in the past, not enjoyed the experience and were determined it need not be repeated. We had not bargained on the persuasiveness of our guide. “You may have been on a camel before but you have never ridden one in the Sahara desert, you have never seen the six pyramids lined up in front of you for the perfect photo.” That was it for me. Always in search for the perfect photo and the thought of being in the Sahara desert we suddenly changed our minds  and were soon traipsing to the  camel camp. My camel was out front. I couldn’t see Roger. I placed my foot in the stirrup and slung my leg over as though I’d done it all my life. My weight caused the saddle to tip to the left (the side where I had my foot in the stirrup). I thought I could correct this by pressing down on the stirrup on the right side only to find this did not exist. Feeling as though I was in a precarious position the camel was then instructed to stand throwing me forward then backward then forward again. At this point I started screaming “Get me down off here” but my cries were ignored. They most likely thought they wouldn’t be paid if I got off. My screaming became louder, hysterical and I started to hyperventilate. I was in the middle of an anxiety attack which was accelerating at a rapid rate. Luckily a tourist, an Egyptian, realised my plight and went and fought with the camel handlers. “Get her off” is what I presumed he said in arabic. Eventually the camel was told to drop and the kind stranger caught me as I dismounted non to elegantly. I walked back  passing Roger on the way.


© irene waters 2019

As I passed him he started yelling for them to get him off too – which they did a little quicker than they had me. What I didn’t know at the time was that with his hip (that needs totally to be replaced) he couldn’t swing over the camels back and when he finally got up there his saddle was even more skew whiff than mine and he actually fell off when the camel started to move. They had insisted he get back up but when he saw me get off there was no way he was going to remain upon his beast. He was convinced that he would be off again before the camel had got too far. As it was our group was a little disappointed by the ride. We were of course already in the Sahara and the distance they went was negligible. All said if they were doing it again they would opt for the longer trip rather than the shorter one that we had been advised to take. Our guide told us sadly that he would have to revise his story as the shortest ride to that day had been three minutes – now it was mere seconds.


© irene waters 2019

When it came time to do the balloon ride over Luxor we had again decided that we would not do it. This time our guide used no persuasive techniques to get us to change our mind. I would have loved to have floated over the Valley of the Kings and seen the temples from above but it just wasn’t worth the risk. This time it would be a long way to fall and it was not unheard of for this to happen.


© irene waters 2019

I contented myself taking photos from below.


© irene waters 2019

And we had an experience the others didn’t. Coffee in a small town street.


© irene waters 2019

Our guide hooked up.


© irene waters 2019

and we watched the local life as it past by.


© irene waters 2019


© irene waters 2019

So when it comes to things like camel and balloon rides – listen to your gut. I have found it usually knows best, particularly if you are getting older.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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7 Responses to Camel and Balloon options – To do or not to do: Travel Thoughts 8

  1. Holy cow! Or maybe I should say, Holy camel! what an absolutely terrifying experience! I can’t ride horses for similar reasons, no way would I get on a camel. But you got a gorgeous iconic photo of the camels in front of the pyramids. So many other wonderful photos as well – love the mother with her beautiful baby in the wheelbarrow and the ones of the hot air balloon. You and Roger had quite a trip to Egypt. Glad you’re home safe now – I bet your dogs and your mom really missed you. I think most tourist guides want to push the traditional photo ops for their country, that’s the problem with taking a tour.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL. Holy camel indeed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guides didn’t get a cut in the profits so it is worth their while to get as many people signing up as possible. When we were younger we used to travel by ourselves but the amount of research that had to go into it – just to work out where a hotel was situated in relation to transport and what you wanted to see was immense. Now we are older we are quite happy to sit back and let someone else do that work. Also, the trips we are now taking are as cheap as chips. We couldn’t do them by ourselves for anything like the price we are paying and it gives us an idea of places that we would perhaps like to go back and explore more fully (knowing full well we probably never will.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Charli Mills says:

    In a rodeo, you only have to ride a beast for eight seconds!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Theban Necropolis, Ancient City of Thebes and Karnak and Luxor Temples: Travel Thoughts 10 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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