When I took this photo in Egypt

The following article originally appeared in the 2009 edition of Abroadly Speaking, a magazine about international study and travel produced by students and supported by the Study Abroad Office.

A camel in the Sahara Desert at sunset
  

Matt Muñoz
Major: Finance
Study abroad program: McCombs B.B.A. Semester Exchange Program
Location: Sahara Desert, Egypt

"The Saharan Camel" was a picture I took as a buddy and myself ventured through the incredibly interesting country of Egypt in the spring of 2008. Fresh off the plane, we headed to our hotel, checked in, then took off to Giza to ride camels past the pyramids -- all while sticking out like a sore thumb.

Traveling through Europe there are always ways to blend in, but not in Egypt. Everyone there knew we were American, or from some other well-off, English-speaking country. Because we are Americans, it's pretty typical that riding a camel would be cool. I was so stoked, but then after about 10 minutes on that thing, my mind changed. FYI, camels are not comfortable.

Soon after we arrived in Giza, we headed to a small village where we met a family who conducted camel rides for tourists. We bought some head covers so we could look like real Egyptians, but it didn't really pan out.

We took off into the Sahara, briefly stopping to take pictures of the pyramids, and then farther into the desert we went. Eventually we came upon a group of people who had a camp out in the middle of the Sahara. They were serving tea and water, all at a reasonable price.

During this chill-out period, the sun began to set, causing a burning orange to rip across the sky. I jumped at the opportunity to not only capture the amazing sunset, but also to capture that uncomfortable ride better known as a camel.

We headed back to the village, paid our guides and took off to have dinner on the Nile River. After all was said and done, riding a camel into the Sahara was an amazing experience and was well worth every Egyptian pound spent.

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