In the third installment of Zahra series, Zahra and her school friends are on a school trip to Egypt visiting the land of dead pharoahs and pyramids. The following is an extract from the chapter 'The Runaway Camel' where Zahra and her best friend Marya decide to take a ride on the humpy animal. Zahra and Marya climbed on the camel together and held on tightly to the reins they were given. Marya wrinkled her nose in distaste.
'Boy he smells bad,' she said. 'Why can't they give it a bath?'
Zahra laughed. 'Because he's too busy carrying tourists like us over the desert who moan about how smelly he is ... oh, here we go ... it's so bouncy.'
The camel ride was going to be the distance from the pyramids to the sphinx, the half man half lion statue at the bottom of the hill.
'You want camel run?' the camel owner asked.
'No! No!' Zahra and Marya cried in unison. 'Just walk.'
The man shrugged and continued to lead his animal.
'I'm Ali,' he suddenly said.
'Peace be with you. I'm Zahra and this is Marya.'
'Britain,' Marya replied.
'Your friend - England.' Ali said, pointing to Zahra. 'You, know.'
'Oh, he knows I'm from Scotland! Marya gushed.
'You,' Ali said, pointing to Marya. 'Pakistan.'
Marya looked puzzled. 'Yes, she is from England. I'm from Scotland. Not Pakistani.'
'You no English,' Ali insisted. 'You Pakistani.'
'He is judging you on the basis of your skin colour,' Zahra said, trying not to laugh at Marya.
'You're hardly a Scot are you? Your ancestry is Pakistani.'
Ali caught Zahra's last words. 'Yes, you Paksitani!'
'Actually,' Marya said haughtily, offended at having her identity challenged. 'I am British Muslim ... what the ...'
Marya's voice trailed off as the sight of a fleeing camel passed them with a girl in the Academy uniform holding on for dear life. A second later, an Egyptian man ran after his camel, his white turban unravelling off his head and gliding like a wave on the desert sand. Behind him ran another two men, trying to catch up with the runaway camel.
147 Pages P/B
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