Marwan is making an omelet. He jokes around and says he used camel eggs. Only Ali could turn a discreet comment made in Shasha’s tiny kitchenette in an opportunity to tease Meead.
If she ever asks you if camels lay eggs, you just lie and say yes.
“Didn’t you know? Camels lay eggs.”
She doesn’t believe it, of course. She comes from Oman where camels are to Omanis what cows are to Indians. Probably.
-Noooo, they don’t. They’re mammals.
-How can they be mammals if they lay eggs?
-They do not.
-Okay, let’s ask around.
We’re at Shasha for a meeting that is running late. We’re in India, time is late, everything is possible and so on… We’re over twenty people. Don’t ask me how we manage to get everyone in on the joke. We just do. Except for Meead who’s going out of her way to convince us that camels are mammals.
– We raise camels! I have seen them, she yells.
– Wait, do your camels have one hump or two? I said (because I just had to intervene)
– Just one.
– That’s no camel, explains Kira. That’s a dromadaire. Camels have two humps.
– Yeah! They store the egg in the second hump. You just have to squeeze it for the egg to pop out.
Do not ask me how I made this up.
We spend the next half hour googling camel eggs. Meead’s trying to keep calm but it’s not easy having Babylonians and Shashaians ganging up on you. Tough Omani life.
Let me just tell you that there are some really weird stuff on the Internet. You actually get results when you google camel eggs. Many people have asked if camels lay eggs like chicken on Yahoo answers. Someone even finds a picture of a gianormous egg. There’s even a video of a camel sitting over an egg.
Meead is going crazy.
The meeting starts forty minutes late which is even late in Indian time. We set plans for the next weeks together. Shashians are visiting Galta Ji today (what took them so long? I’m planning to go back for the third time). Talal and Meead are going to get their sim cards fixed for the gazzillionth time. Other Babylonians head back to Babylon.
I haven’t slept the night before. I stayed up writing till sun rise. I watched the sky turn blue on the roof and waited till 7 (instead of 7:30) to wake everyone up. When I get to my room, I just crash.
I have pizza when I wake up. Nap again. Wake up. Start planning the weekend trip. Maybe Amritsar? Pushkar?
At night, we go to that chai place right behind Babylon. Actually, it’s not right behind Babylon
It’s a fifteen minute walk. But it’s worth it.
The place is tiny. We’re more than ten people but we manage to fit. The owner is so delighted he gets his camera and takes pictures of us. The tea is delicious. Some people try the Masala Chai. I go for the lemon-mint tea.
The new guys at Babylon have joined us. There’s Marcus from Germany and Julia from Russia. I think we made quite an impression. We’re loud and we laugh at anything.
“So, camels. They lay eggs, don’t they?”
The owner is kind of surprised we’re asking him to deny the fact that camels are mammals. But when Meead starts her preaching, he gets the joke and joins us. “Yes, they do”
One of the employees sides with Meead. She finally has a team of two people (herself included). She’s so delighted that she chats with the employee, putting the Hindi she learned from Bollywood movies into practice.
Lia notices and starts singing that Titanic song. We all join her. Meead gives us a weird look. The owner plays the song on the stereo.
This kind of thing can only happen to us.