Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How to write on a camel

Walking with animals Part 2

Camels are a bit different to ponies (see last post). Getting on and off them is more interesting for a start. But they have quite a different rhythm to ponies. It seemed to lope up through the songs drummed and 'clash-clashed' with the local castanet-cum-cymbal instruments around the firelight of our Saharan camp on an excursion from Cafe Tissardmine. (For more on what I was doing there, see this post). Writers spend a lot of time sitting down, so we might as well sit somewhere interesting. On a camel you are high up with a great view, and if the rhythm also serves the writing, so much the better!

What I discovered on this trip is that not all camels are equal. Hamud, pictured above, had an armchair style and his long-paced rocking rhythm made the words flow. For evidence, the tiny area scribbled in black (to the left) is what happened when I held a pencil point against the paper in my notebook and let the rocking motion register - a sort of 'camelometer' developed by Debra, the rider pictured. My writing was legible, just.

Alfredo, however, the younger, smaller, less experienced camel at the back in the photo below, gave us a more jerky ride, as can be seen by the second  notebook page. Not such a good writing camel.

Fortunately we had opted for two camels between four of us, which meant we walked a lot too. One of the interesting observations we all made was that we noticed more when we walked rather than rode. Perhaps the view from the top is over-rated.