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Camel Man in Egypt's Western Desert

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Published on Jan 16, 2012

Music 'Following Your Heart' by Javier Anibarro Z.

When Ruth and I returned to Cairo from Jordan we still had a week before our flight home. After seeing two sentences about Siwa in our guide book we decided to find a driver and visit our first Oasis. Finding a taxi driver with a brand new Russian Lada, we made a deal for 4 days, and off we went. No more than ten miles from Cairo the car overheated ,and we found out the air conditioner did not work. The driver removed the pressure regulator from the radiator and we were off again. We drove through Alexander and along the north coast of Egypt to Mersa Matruh. All along the coast there were new resorts under construction, but none open, I bet today the coast is a tourist mecca. At Mersa Matruh we turned south toward Siwa. The temperature was about 110 degrees and no air conditioner. The driver stopped at the only sign we had seen along the roadside, it read in Arabic "Water well". To stretch our legs we went looking for the well to take a few pictures. In the distance we saw a man leading a camel, then he started to jump and whirl about, and we thought we had made him mad, but our driver said he was happy to see us. We walked about a mile to meet the guy, and he was elated to have visitors. He made us each a cup of tea and we sat in his tent and talked about an hour with our driver as interpreter. The man was very intelligent and handsome. He carried a portable battery operated radio every where he went, his only companion.When we returned from Siwa a few days later, we stopped by to see him again. We brought him several new batteries, some peanuts and other snacks. When we arrived he was glad to see us and went to his tent to cleanup. Somehow he washed his hair with shampoo and rinsed it with about 1 cup of water. He said he had 200 camels in the desert, but the only one we could see was his favorite, which we called Clyde. When it was time to leave Ruth rode with him on Clyde back to the car. It was hilarious.
This was and experience neither of us will ever forget.

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