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Day 63: The Ténéré Desert

Michael Palin - SaharaEkawik and his friends are happiest when performing something steady, simple and repetitive, like walking or chewing the cud. They are superbly adapted to this climate and terrain. Long legs raise them clear of the hot sand, a layer of fat on their backs protects them from the blazing sun. Heat escapes from their big, reassuringly rounded flanks, so they appear not to perspire, and even in this frightening heat they can go for days without any water at all. And their metabolism, as I've learnt from playing with their nuggets, is extraordinarily economical.

Izambar Mohammed, one of the nine-strong team of cameleers, is the chanteur, the one who sings and chants and makes up songs to pass the time as we go. He warns me about staying too close to the camels, especially their rear ends. Using fluent mime, he points out the ones that are the worst kickers. Somehow it doesn't surprise me that they include Ekawik.
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  • Series: Sahara
  • Day: 63
  • Country/sea: Niger
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  • Book page no: 180

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