When in Africa…
When I first shot these pictures, they were suppose to remain part of my private holiday albums: after all, it was just an ordinary day when I woke up and decided that I could not pass another day in Africa without riding a camel. You know, because riding a camel is THE thing to do for tourists. Can’t live without. If you haven’t been on a dromedary, you haven’t lived. THAT sort of thing.
I was in Tozeur, a wonderful city next to Chott El-Jerid, the salt lake just before the true desert. And the day was very cold and windy, so riding to another city just to spend a couple hours on the back of that cute animal just didn’t ring right to me. That was when our friends (that we were staying with) said: oh do not worry, we will hook you up with someone who can help you with that.
Boy, did they hook me up!
I am sure you can all notice my absolutely cool face in this amazingly natural position…. not.
When that animal is down, it’s all fun and games. But then it goes up – one set of legs at the time – which means you first get shot straight in front of you, then shot back behind, leaving someone like me (kinda afraid of heights) terrified. But I decided my honor was at game here, while my husband was laughing from his own dromedary (I swear, that man rides anything, motorbike, bicycle, dromedary – like he was born on it!!) I put on that frozen smile you’re looking at and said: “No problem at all, I quite enjoy this!!”
By the time we reached the Dromedary Central Station (yes I’m gonna call it that) the sun came out and I finally understood why the desert people wear scarves around their faces. Nothing exotic there, it’s self-defense: luckily for me I always wear sunscreen, but if I wasn’t, I would have been seriously red in the evening. That’s the beauty/trickiness of Africa: during the day anything can happen, I have seen the weather change from rainstorms to scorching sun within 6 hours.
But the best part of this experience was actually seeing the guide’s face when I showed up: you don’t need to be a genius to understand that he ain’t use to someone wearing skirts and makeup into the desert. But I was inspired by my dress’s colors, what can I say?
So there, I was on a dromedary, gripping for dear life in my Chanel and wondering just how much would it hurt if I fell of 😀
That was the moment when the guide explained to me in broken French that my dromedary was “not in love yet” (ok, thanks for the dromedary love lesson) and “VERY young, 5 years, not perfectly trained yet“.
Be proud of me, friends, ’cause I showed no fear: a non- trained camel, me on it’s back 2 meters from the ground, and two hours in front of me? How hard can that be?
Just to make you understand what we are talking about here: it looks easy, but you constantly feel as if you were gonna fall off, and the young animal wasn’t use to going up and down from the dunes, so there’s no prize for guessing how I felt after approximately 20 minutes.
Eventually you discover that the trick is to relax, let your body keep the balance and for absurd as this sounds, almost let go of the reigns in front of you. The more you hold on to them, more pain you’ll be in the next day, discovering muscles you didn’t even know you possessed.
At a certain point the guide guy decided I had “veery pretty eyezzzz” and that he absolutely had to tie the blue scarf “just like the berbers do“, so I let him, and I must admit that the first photo of me at the sunset with the scarf is my absolute favorite from the entire holiday. The guy earned his tip there and then, and I had fun, so it was a true win-win. Hey, don’t judge, everyone needs to be a tourist for a day!
This one came out blurred (well, we were riding and the camels don’t just stop for pictures) but I like it 🙂 I would definitely repeat the experience despite the fatigue and the pain muscles I mentioned before, along with my hands that were in desperate need of a moisturizer. The desert air, the stunning silence, the sunshine, and the realization that people actually use to travel like that (I have absolute respect of them now) – it was very, very inspiring.
LOCATION: TOZEUR, TUNISIA
OUTFIT: COAT AND BAG BY CHANEL, DRESS & CARDIGAN BY DOLCE & GABBANA, SHOES BY MIU MIU