Saturday 17 September:
After arriving in the Alice around noon, I did something that was on my "to do" list - went camel riding. Pyndan Camels had the best prices - so that decided me. I chose the Twilight Safari. Well not exactly chose - the other times were fully booked! As it turned out, the Twilight one was best because after the Safari was over, the camels had to be fed and we all took part.
On the safari, camels make long shadows.
The camel "train" had a maximum of 12 plus the driver. Riders are sorted according to height and weight. A young Chinese lass sat in front of me. (The heaviest sits at the back). I should perhaps point out, that since then I am no longer the heaviest having lost heaps of weight - but that's another story.:-)
Most of the camels had exotic sounding names. My camel, was called "B.J." Bit of a let down. Two little known facts about camels- 1. They have incredibly bad breath - yeewk! 2. The camel behind me kept on sniffing my camel's...er...rear end. Seems this is what camels do - don't ask me why, I'm not a camel.
The first five minutes on the camel were incredibly scary. I was terrified I was going to fall off - silly thing for a grown adult, but there you have it. Had I been able to get off I would have done so. Fortunately I was not able to - get off that is.
After the first five minutes or so, I realised that if I moved my body in time with the camel's gait I was alright. Once you do this, it is a very relaxing and soothing experience. Camels have a very awkward movement and you sway this way and that. We saw some incredible scenery and joked that if the camel driver walked off and left us, we had no idea where we were.
Feeding the camels:
After the Safari was over, we all helped feed the camels and handle them. There were several babies amongst them.
We found them to be very gentle creatures and it was the most amazing thing being in the middle of the desert with the dying sun and the silence of the Outback. The man who owned Pyndan Camel Tracks was helped by his wife and their young son, who I think from memory was around three years old, was a delight
The baby camels were very cute and the mothers are very protective. Their hair is very soft.
When you first alight from your camel if you think there's no "side effects" then think again. We found that none of us could straighten our legs, and all had to stand with our feet about this far apart (indicates with arms a distance of about 85 cm) and the only way to walk was to stomp one foot at a time as though our legs were in a permanent position. Everybody was in hysterics - we all looked so ridiculous, and almost split our sides laughing. It was just such a wonderful day and so rewarding an experience.