Tuesday, August 31, 2010

i rode through the desert on a horse with no name

And I have absolutely no pictures to show for it. We were warned enthusiastically by our RAs to leave everything on the bus so we wouldn't lose our cameras or mobiles, and unfortunately, I listened. I think it probably would have been okay, but I wasn't willing to risk it.
Our bus left Zamalek at 9pm, and arrived in Giza around 10:20pm. Normally, the drive wouldn't take that long, but as usual, Ramadan changes everything.
When we got off the bus, I was forced to volunteer the information that I had ridden a horse before, a fact which automatically put me in the group that would be galloping. This was not exciting for me, mostly nerve-wracking.
I was helped onto my horse by a man who at first asked me "black or white, black or white?" presumably referring to the color of the horse I would ride. I didn't know what to say to him, and I ended up on a brown horse. All of the horses were brown.
It might be worth mentioning here that I have only ever ridden in carefully controlled Girl Scout or family reunion environments before, and always on big, well-fed, American horses. These horses were not American quarter-horses, not mustangs, and not ponies. These were Arabians. And we were supposed to gallop them across some sand dunes in the pitch black to get a glimpse of the pyramids from about a mile away.
The pyramids in the end were a bit disappointing because they were so far away, but the view across Cairo, lit up for Ramadan, with the yellow half moon hanging in the sky above the city almost made up for it.
A few of the adventures that we had on our ride include: one horse sitting down and refusing to get up, my guide trotting my horse and my knee into another guide and knocking him flat on his face in the sand, a horse that would only respond to commands given to the horse next to it, a horse that seemed determined to run over any and all small children it came across, and my horse guide yelling "quick, quick!" and dragging my unwilling horse and another behind him as he ran up a sand dune.
That pretty much sums up the entire adventure. In the end, I didn't gallop, just trotted painfully for a few minutes, and since my horse didn't sit on me or break its leg and have to be shot (this didn't happen to any horses while we were there, but it seemed like a possibility...), I consider the trip to be a success. Would I do it again? Yes.
But next time, I would gallop.

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