thoughts were in my mind as we endured our bumpy ride over the
Thankfully, the distance we rode was no more than
Soon the curling smoke of a campfire could be seen in
the men of the camp had seen the dust from our vehicles long
before we saw their campfire.
More than twenty men had mounted their camels and were
now waiting a short distance from the entrance of their tent
particular Bedouin caught my eye.
He was a robust man of middle age, with chiseled
features and dominating black eyes.
With his long black cloak flowing behind him, he was
regal, as was his magnificent mount, a strong, young female
His Bedouin gaze was piercing and directed toward us
with unquestioning self-confidence.
No smile came to his lips at the sight of strange
visitors, although I found it amusing that the lips of his
camel seemed permanently carved into a smile.
a strutting kind of dignity, he rode around our vehicles more
than once, as though inspecting us.
I knew without asking that this man was the chief of
The Bedouin are proud, and not in awe of any man, not
even men of the royal family.
He would show us all that our welcome depended upon his
Ahmed stuck his head out of the window of the vehicle, the
Chief, who said his name was Sheik Fahd, finally stretched his
face in a welcoming smile.
With a voice like thunder, he greeted us with the hope
of Allah’s blessing.
With a flourish of both hands, he pointed the way to
At this sign, the other Bedouins began to shout their welcome.
They rode cheerfully alongside our vehicles as we
slowly made our way to the camp.
Sheik Fahd called out that he had honored guests, the Bedouin
settlement instantly came to life.
Veiled women with their arms filled with infants, and
many poorly dressed young children emerged from the row of
moment I stepped out of our jeep, I was struck by the strong
odor in the air.
My nose twitched with the stench of close-living
animals and I told myself that each step I took was a step
backward in time