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.
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.
The man shrugged and continued to lead his
'I'm Ali,' he suddenly said.
'Peace be with you. I'm Zahra and this is
'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
'He is judging you on the basis of your skin
colour,' Zahra said, trying not to laugh at
'You're hardly a Scot are you? Your ancestry
Ali caught Zahra's last words. 'Yes, you
'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.