I have mentioned my experience with Tunisian camels before - the short version being, don't bet on a camel in a camel race because it's unlikely your camel will even run in the direction of the finishing line. Yes, that's a lesson I learnt at the Sahara Festival in Douz in the south of the country. A lesson I will never forget!
What I had forgotten, however, was a funny incident which I rediscovered while flicking through an old travel journal (in front of 26 course participants in my travel writing course, no less. I made a frantic mental note to blog about it and fortunately have remembered to do so).
Still in Douz, and with the focus very much on camels for the time of the festival, I was chatting with a man who worked at the hostel I stayed in. As you may expect, he didn't come across many Australians and was very keen to find out more about my home country. And in particular, about our camels.
He checked with me about the "wild" bit: "So nobody owns them?"
I said, I guess not. I'd never given it much thought, of course. I'd seen camels up north and around Uluru but they weren't really something I came across in my daily Australian life.
I'm pretty sure I would have stifled a giggle at this point, although my journal didn't mention it. "I guess so," I said. "We've got too many. Nobody would care if you took one."
And the Tunisian man was in awe of my country for a reason I had never even contemplated. And that's one of those things I love about travel: you meet people with such different perspectives that you start contemplating all kinds of strange stuff. However, I've decided I'm not about to dash out into the outback and grab a camel for our backyard, so don't worry. I suspect a camel wouldn't get along with my two cats.