For 15 terrifying minutes I thought I was going to eat desert fox for breakfast the next morning, slathered over dense Bedouin bread.

Only minutes before I had been reflecting on the intricate relationship between camels and falafel. When they fart they produce a thick falafel odor that ranks as one of the most intense aromas I have encountered. And when they poop, which they do rather indiscriminately – on themselves, standing, sitting, laying, burping, fighting, etc, they produce perfect falafel balls of uniform texture, shape, size, and presumably taste.

I had been shaken from my falafel/camel reverie as I munched on the umpteenth bite of thick stew and fire-baked bread which had stealthily over the last several decades replaced the traditional Bedouin diet of sheep’s milk, camel milk, sheep meat, camel meat, and sundry goat products. Historically, any grains (primarily wheat) and vegetables eaten by the Bedouin were obtained through trade with their more sedentary neighbors.

Having entered the scene sometime in the post-nomadic period I was treated to a delightful array or tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, zucchini, garlic, potatoes, and unidentifiable pulses and grains. And yes there was milk but moderation was emphasized and it was either drowned in sugar or cheesy, and thus ambrosial.

Anyway, back to the fox, but as digressions are my lifeblood you can expect many, many more. Early that evening two of Farrod’s sons (Farrod was my steadfast Bedouin guide) wandered off with two spring traps. When I asked what they were hoping to catch I was repeatedly told “arnab.” After thorough questioning I eventually figured out that it must be a flying mammal-reptile hybrid that was invisible except at night and might or might not feast exclusively on the pinky fingers of small children. (after returning to Dahab I found out that “arnab” meant rabbit).

When we heard the shrieks in the night we raced towards the source to find the furry banshee hurling itself in all directions trying to escape the trap. Its right leg was mangled in the trap and the fox clearly was not excited by its future prospects of a right to life. Farrod’s sons dragged the fox back to camp and hogtied it to a bush. Returning to our meal I started doubting my ability to eat the little guy. I asked Farrod what he planned to do with the fox and to my delight found that they were going to take it to the national park service (they would receive a finder’s fee) where it would be rehabilitated (or as I suspected…sent to the government run furrier).

I slept soundly that night, under the full moon, in an ancient land. But as I sank into slumber I did wonder – what would fox taste like?

The next morning we climbed a mountain looked down upon the An Khodra oasis (historical stopping off point for pilgrimages to Mt. Sinai from the Middle East) and returned to the village. Late in the afternoon on the drive out of the sandy hinterlands we were treated to that rarest of things – a desert rain.