Saturday, June 16, 2012

Amelia Takes Time To Ride A Camel

June 16, 1937 -  After flying almost two thousand miles yesterday, Amelia and Fred spend a day in Karachi.  On this day off, Amelia decided to ride a camel.
"On my first morning in India I had a small adventure riding a camel. I saw one with particularly gay trappings along the airport road, obviously for hire. His master's costume was in keeping. Over very full trousers he wore a shiny black alpaca coat, pleated to the waist at the back. From under this the tail of his shirt protruded. He had on a rather high turban, and hid most of his facial expressions behind a bushy beard. The owner explained that his camel was a naughty one. I wanted to tell him I should be naughty, too, if I had two leather plugs in my nose to which guiding reins were attached, but I could not get that idea across. Apparently bits are never used.
Whatever his disposition, my hired steed knelt down and I climbed into the saddle swung between his two humps. It was a startling take-off as we rose. A camel unhinges himself in most extraordinary fashion. As his hind legs unfold you are threatened with a nose-dive forward. Then with a lurch that can unhorse (I mean uncamel) the unwary, the animal's center section, so to speak, hoists into the air. It is reminiscent of the first symptoms of a flat spin. Camels should have shock absorbers.
'Better wear your parachute,' Fred shouted."
Fred's cautionary advise was rhetorical, as he well knew.  To make room for more fuel, nothing considered unnecessary was packed into the Electra.  This included parachutes.
In But This Is Different Amelia knew there would be no need for parachutes.
In the photograph we seek the Lockheed Electra inside a hanger at Karachi undergoing maintenance.  Amelia - always involved in its maintenance - is at the nose of the airplane.

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