The description of the tour said only “Camel & Mexican Outback Adventure” with a disclaimer that read “Minimum age is 5 years old. No expectant mothers. Max weight is 250lbs.” Now, I figured that—being well over five years of age, not being a mother (pregnant or otherwise), and weighing less than 250lbs—it was high time I rode a camel. Of course, this is only significant if you know the backstory.
I was a pretty tightly wound kid (with a host of psychiatric diagnoses, chemical imbalances, etc.) and for whatever reason, was completely freaked out by animals. All animals, no matter how gentle or domesticated. Housecats? Yes. Hamsters? Mmhmm. Horses? Yup. That said, it should come as no surprise to you that, during a family trip to Knott’s Berry Farm, when my brother and I (aged eight and ten, respectively) were posed for a photo upon the back of a rearing taxidermized horse, I had a meltdown. As a result, the triptych of posed, sepia-toned photographs that my folks had framed from that day included one picture each of my brother on the back of the horse, my parents as a saloon pianist and barmaid, and me behind ersatz prison bars. If you look closely, you can see that my eyes are red and bloodshot.
A decade or so later, on a holiday cruise through the Canary Islands, the four of us were on the island of Lanzarote, where the popular tourist activity was riding a camel. Guess what: I did not ride a camel, that day. So, when my family was off for twenty minutes of camelback riding; I stayed behind, taking photos. There were certainly no tears involved, this time; but neither was there any shot of my getting on the back of any animal. I wouldn’t even pet one. Needless to say, they all had a fantastic, memorable experience.
So, on the second day of our recent cruise from Miami to Los Angeles, you could’ve knocked my father over with a feather, when—in the middle of our family discussion about which tours would be taken by whom—I said: “I’m gonna ride a camel, in Cabo.”
At first, my dad thought I was trying to pull one over on him.
“Very funny,” he said. But I was serious and said so.
“Seriously,” I replied.
Well, it turned out that my stepsister and her boyfriend, as well as my stepmom, had signed up for the same tour (having ridden a camel a half-dozen times in as many countries, my dad opted instead to visit an Internet café and then return to the ship). Meanwhile (though I haven’t confirmed this with him), I’m fairly certain that my dad figured that sometime in the weeks before the day arrived, I’d find a reason to back out. But I was psyched.
On the following day, we received the full descriptions of the tours; and I was pretty jazzed that I’d signed-up when I had, as the tour had completely sold-out by then. But the description led to even more questions. “Join this educational safari through Baja’s majestic outback, complete with a typical ranch-style lunch, and an optional ride along a secluded beach on a camel.”
Why, I wondered, would anybody sign-up for this five-and-a-half-hour tour (including a 50min bus ride, each way), and not ride the camel? Regardless of my curiosity, I figured that it wasn’t my problem, since I was definitely riding a camel, and frankly I didn’t care what else was involved.
And you know what? I did ride that camel, and it was pretty epic, but you’ll have to come back for Part 2 to read about that.
Riding a Camel in Cabo
Rancho Tierra Sagrada
San Carlos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Click HERE for info
Get into it!