“Don’t feed the camels”, they said. But I didn’t listen. Why wouldn’t I feed these desert dwelling mammals? We all need to eat right? Well as it turns out, I probably should of listened. As you will find out.
I was back in the Sahara on another adventure, but this time I made some friends. You know, the kind of friends that just don’t leave. Those friends. On my way to work, I would always pass some of the desert camels populating the vast sandy landscapes.
It was always a pleasant site and one I looked forward to every morning.
Perhaps some dry bread
So one day I was busy with my inspections and I heard a noise. In all honesty, there is a lot of activity going on in the sand yard, so I don’t really pay much attention to noise (unless it is in close proximity to myself). But this noise was different.
So I looked up and saw a herd of camels walking towards the entrance to the yard. Oh this was exciting. Wild camels coming towards me. They must be fed. Clearly a mamal biologically designed to survive in the most harshest environment, must be fed by myself. There is no way it would be able to survive without my intervention.
So off I went to the galley to see if there was any bread left over from breakfast. The camp boss was all to happy to see me and asked me how he could be of assistance. I asked him for some old bread left over from breakfast. “Please Mr Fox. I make for you fresh now!”, he said. “Oh no my man, it’s not for me. I want to give it to the camels”, I replied. He frowned at me.
“What’s wrong with giving them bread?”, I asked him. “Not Good!”, he snapped. “What you mean not good. Will it kill them?”, I said. “Not kill. Just problem!”, he replied. “Just give me some bread”, I demanded. He pointed to where I could go get the old bread and disappeared.
Don’t feed the camels they said
So off I went and collected a handful of old baguettes. Well they were baguettes at one point. Now they were concrete poles. But they were bread nevertheless. Proud of my salvage, I made my way back to the yard to find the camels.
They were still standing near the gate, so I headed over to them. One of the rig crew shouted, “No! Problem!”. I thought to myself, “What on earth can be so wrong about giving these creatures some dry bread?”. They eat bloody sand for f**k sakes.
The camels obviously noticed what I had in my hand and made their way over. Oh how exciting is this. I’ve become the feeder of camels. The closer they got, the more I realized that they are particularly hideious looking creatures and probably should have flossed.
But then the heard separated and the calf came out of it sheltered position and ate first. Then all of them ate. They ate all I had and hung about for a bit, before walking off with a kind of arrogant swagger. It’s fascinating to watch a camel walk.
The days after the feed.
So as it transpires, the camels kept coming back to the camp throughout the night looking for food. The poor security guard didn’t know what to do, except wait for me to return so I could get a mouthful.
We pulled up into the yard the following day and I was met with a tirade of abuse from the night crew about these camels and their burning desire for dry bread. “Okay, I won’t do it again”, I told them. But the damage was done.
Low and behold, who turned up a few hours later? The bloody camels. Every day for 3 days (including nights), these desert dwelling beasts came looking for the “legend of the south” and his bread. I felt a little honoured to be honest, I mean I’d only just met these camels and already I’m sought after.
But it did get to a point where they wouldn’t let me work. The calf was the most annoying, as I had clearly become an object on which it could rub itself.
Where is the shepherd
What was a joke, turned into a nightmare. These bloody animals wouldn’t leave. They were just meant to have a wee snack and bugger off!
I asked the engineer if they belonged to someone and he said yes, as they had tags. “So how do we find the shepherd?”, I asked him. He said that he would send someone to look. Hours later the driver arrived with the shepherd, who made a bee line for me.
What we (or at least I) didn’t realize is that the way it works, is the camels roam around scavenging, then return to the shepherd later on in the day. He’d been looking for his camels for days, because they never returned.
He started giving me a right mouthful in Arabic and I started digging a hole in the sand, hoping it would collapse and swallow me up.
The shepherd gave some commands and the camels bellowed and moved towards him. All except the calf. Me and the calf had become close and it wasn’t leaving. With some tugging and pulling, the shepherd managed to convince the calf that it was in it’s best interest to follow him back. You would if you saw the rod he was carrying.
So the camels and shepherd left as one proud unit and I turned to carry on with work. As I turned around, half the crew were staring at me. “Oh why am I not in a hole covered in sand!”, I screamed in my head. “You see Mr Fox. Problem!!”, the engineer told me.
“Fine I won’t feed them bread again….perhaps an apple?”