A lot has happened since my last post, but if there is one thing I’ve learned about me and blogging, it’s that in order to begin again I simply have to start where I am. Right now, where I am is Cairo, Egypt. Andreas and I teach at an American international school in Giza and share an apartment with two maladjusted felines (Alekka is now at college in London). I have every intention of filling in the nine-month ellipsis but we shall see.
Meanwhile, let’s visit the Birqash Souq al-Gamaal, Cairo’s Friday morning camel market.
The camels here come mainly from Sudan but also from other parts of Egypt, and even from as far away as Somalia. Most of them have first traveled on foot – a 40-day journey from Sudan – to Egypt’s other big camel market near Aswan. Those that weren’t sold there came by truck to Birqash, on the edge of Cairo.
Some of the animals are destined for farm or tourism work, but most will be used for meat.
The camel market isn’t for the faint of heart. For one thing, the camels are treated roughly.
For another, you have to be alert and nimble so you don’t get trampled. You’d be surprised how fast a herd of hobbled camels can move when a man is hitting them with a stick.
Some are sold to buyers who browse the pens
Others are auctioned off individually or in lots
The experience isn’t designed for tourists, which is one of the best things about it.