Saqqara, near Giza and Cairo, Egypt

A policeman's camel awaits its rider at Saqqara, near Giza and Cairo, in Egypt.
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Touring Egypt 21: Police of the Tourist and Antiquities service patrol the vast, wide-open spaces around the pyramids at Giza and nearby Saqqara on camels. Tourists frequently see the camel-mounted police around the pyramids and temples. (Of course, tourists can also get “up close and personal” with a camel by purchasing a camel ride from any of the hundreds of camel herders that swarm the tourist areas at the pyramids.) However, it can be very difficult to get a photo of a camel by itself.

Camels are famously expressive and legendarily bad-tempered. Many tourists have witnessed a camel that simply refuses to cooperate or been amused by the sight of an angry camel chasing and attempting to bite its handler. Knowing that, I think the beasts can be very expressive when observed without reference to people — or at least, I sometimes find it easy to imagine what I might be thinking in their place. As I emerged from a temple at Saqqara, as I simmered back up the path to the parking lot I noticed this policeman’s camel sitting in the (very) hot sun. His “master” was sitting in the shade a few feet away. The camel seems to me to radiate patient resignation: He is hot, loaded, and in the sun. Those things won’t change soon, but at least at this moment he is not being pestered by some human.

(Nikon D200, Nikkor zoom at 62mm, ISO 250, f/14 at 1/400 sec. with a circular polarizer filter.)