January 24, 2010
At the end of December I decided that it was time for a new and better profile photo for my blog. My old one was taken before a performance of the ballet Raymonda inside the Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris. While I love that building and that ballet, it didn’t quite fit in with the spirit of this blog. I decided to switch to an older photo I took in the summer of 2007 in Egypt. Vanity wise it is certainly not my favorite image because unfortunately I am quite sunburned, very sweaty (it was June in Egypt!) and I still had a gap in my front teeth from orthodontics gone awry (it was fixed later that summer). I also was not the biggest fan of Egypt and quite prefered the adorable Israeli camel (named Sushi) I got to ride, versus the mean Egyptian ones, but I just loved this moment so I wanted to share it with you.
Sushi the Israeli Camel
The moment in my profile photo is one of the things I love about travel and photography, you never know what your going to see and you can capture it and remember the exact moment forever. It was our (my parents and my) first day in Egypt and I was surprised to learn that the tour guide we had booked also came with a sesperate driver and armed guard, which is required by law in Egypt for tourists booking any tour. We had a long drive to downtown Cairo and passed lots of funny half built houses along the way, because there is a silly law in Egypt that taxes do not need to be paid until a house has finished construction, so no one ever finishes building their houses. We finally got into Cairo and had a horrible lunch where I was attacked by a Scarab Beetle in the bathroom…I swear it was gigantic…. I was really starting to dislike Egypt by the time we made it to the pyramids at Giza. I remember standing there and thinking how amazing it was to stand in a spot where so much history had occurred- I tried to imagine all the people who had stood there before me for thousands of years. I started to understand what makes Egypt pretty amazing. It was a little weird to have an armed bodyguard watching me as I climbed around on the pyramid, but I tried to ignore it.
My bodyguard staring up at me while I climb the pyramids
I was really starting to enjoy myself when I realized that off to the side of the pyramid were a ton of camels. As anyone who knows me or has read this blog knows I love animals! So of course I was so excited to see the camels!
Camels hanging out at Giza while sand blows about in the wind
I was visibly excited as I approached the camels and one of the owners (probably sizing me up as a stupid tourist who he could make a quick buck off of) offered me the chance to take a picture with his camel for a dollar. Of course I said yes and instead of giving the camera to my parents I decided to take the photo myself “myspace style.” Unfortunately I was wearing sparkly sunglasses and what ensued was a quick succession of 3 images in which the camel went from smiling to almost biting my face off. (My profile photo is the middle picture as I like that the camel and I both seem to be smiling).
The camel decided my sunglasses looked mighty tasty and tried to bite them right off my face. What you don’t see in these 3 images is the scene that played out in front of me in the 5 seconds it took me to take the pictures. Our bodyguard quickly whipped out his gigantic gun and pointed it right at the camel while the owner of the camel jumped at the bodyguard screaming in Arabic and I jumped in front of the camel and yelled “DON’T SHOOT THE CAMEL!” Fortunately the camel went unscathed and our guard just spent the next 5 minutes arguing in Arabic with the owner until we gave him 5 dollars for the photo and scampered off to see the Sphinx. Both camel and my face were left unharmed, my sunglasses on the other hand are missing a few crystals…. I hope you enjoy the moment as much as I did….