Khuri is a little desert village with a hotel of whitewashed huts.
We had cold drinks, and then went to meet our camels and make a decision, to camp in the desert, under the stars with a bed roll, or sleep in a hut with beds. We had several things to weigh up, what the food would be like – I don’t eat meat so didn’t fancy chicken, goat or camel roasted over an open fire! I’m joking of course, but no-one could tell me what the possibilities were. And what if pennies needed to be spent in the middle of the night? Let’s face it, there were no trees to hide behind. What swung it though was the possibility of scorpions. Who remembers a James bond film where one was climbing up 007’s chest? We chose to come back to the hotel.
It’s really quite difficult to get onto a camel, the saddles look good, well padded, but your legs are spread wide apart. Anyway, they are reluctantly in their lowest possible position, to enable you to climb on, then you have to time it just right and lean backwards, when they get up. That’s a very unnatural position, given that they sway as they do so. You soon get used to the motion; it’s a bit like a Space Hopper on legs. But then you go downhill, and not only do you need to lean backwards again, but also you have to squeeze tight with any muscles you can find in your thighs. So we were off into the dunes, to seek the sunset. That same still silence and heat that we experienced in Khuldera, something almost tangible, wrapped itself around us, lulling us into a state of euphoria and creating an inner glow, a bit like a meditation.
I could have been riding around for hours, travelling miles, or round in a figure of eight for ten minutes, because I had no sense of time or bearings. We reached a crest where a dozen people had already parked their humps and settled down to wait. This is where it went wrong. I dismounted and turned to where travelling friend was doing the same, just in time to see it get back up as she was getting off. Result – she fell, luckily there was no real damage but she was shocked and disorientated for a while and didn’t want to ride the pesky thing back.
We eased our hump shaped legs down onto the sand and waited while the sky became sky-blue-pink, it was beautiful but was like looking through a veil of micro fine sand. Travelling friend did ride back, very bravely. We couldn’t help thinking of what might have happened, of course it was hideous, scary and even embarrassing but thank heavens nothing was broken because Devon Air Ambulance was a tad out of range.
We were the only non Germans at the hotel, sitting around listening to some musicians, and dancing in the dark. We shocked Mr Singh again, with our capacity for Tiger, it comes in quite large bottles over there and well, it was very hot, even after the stars came out.
Quite well lubricated, we headed for our hut. It was clean but very basic, with a loo in a cubby hole. Help came very quickly when I screamed. Spiders. Lots of very large spiders. We were laughed at but rescued. I insisted on checking under the beds for any that could be waiting for some fresh, juicy, English or American woman to feast on. The trouble was, checking when the light was one little dangling bulb, was pretty difficult. Attempting to push a bed aside, we found that it was a mattress, on planks that rested on piles of bricks! We didn’t find any more octopods, but didn’t sleep well either for worrying about them. The lesson – we would probably have fared better risking the scorpions.
I would highly recommend a camels safari, there’s nothing quite like the perspective you get aboard a foul breathed, bottom burping beastie with long eyelashes.