Sunday, August 8, 2021

No Camels, No Love

 John Smith had no time for love until he was 40.

He explored the Amazon. Scaled 10 of the most famous mountains in the world. Sailed around the world 3 times. Spent a winter in Siberia, led an expedition to the South Pole, fought in two African wars, sipped coffee in cafes along the Champs Elysees, played snooker with the Duke of Wellington and the Prince of Wales, lived with Bedouins, hunted seals and Reindeer with Laplanders, killed a lion with his bare hands in Kenya, herded yaks in Mongolia, raised cattle on a ranch in Montana, and mined gold in the Yukon. He was an Alaskan bush pilot, worked on oil rigs in Saudi Arabia, smuggled diamonds out of Botswana, owns a coffee plantation in Honduras, a rubber plantation in Indonesia, a winery in California, and an olive grove in Greece, owns a golf course in Spain, a cattle ranch in Argentina, a restaurant in New York City, a movie production company in India, a Hotel in The Azores, a software firm in Ireland, an automobile parts manufacturing plant in Poland, and a Bank in the Caymans.

That was all by the age of 30.

For the next 10 years, he was even more active.

In all that time love had alluded John.

And finally, one day while sipping cognac at the ancient ruins of Loulan, a frontier outpost on the Taklamakan Desert in China love happened. After living with Chinese goat herders for a month he proposed to a herder’s daughter.

She declined his proposal. He promised her the world and her father 1,000 goats. The father insisted on three camels. John could not meet the bride price.

Years later when a journalist asked him how love and marriage managed to avoid him? He simply replied, “When the price of love is three camels in a two camel village it is not meant to be.”

Yet it is rumored there is a lad who herds 4,000 goats and has twelve camel dealerships in the Taklamakan Desert who bears a striking resemblance to John Smith. 

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