A Yank arrives at Tennant Creek; he wants to explore the Tanami. There’s a camel hire business on the outskirts of town so he stops and chooses a camel for his journey.
Having never ridden before, he asks the manager how difficult it is. “Nothing to it,” comes the answer, “you mount the animal, give it the command, ‘Up’, it gets up and you’re ready to go”.
“How do I make it move?” the Yank asks. The manager tells him he only needs to say “wow” quite firmly and the camel will immediately walk. If he says “wow” twice, the camel will trot and, three times, gallop.
Early in the trip, the camel and rider are doing well, managing a steady walk through the desert scrub. Time to see how they get on at a faster pace. “Wow, wow,” the Yank commands and the camel responds, promptly assuming a quick trot. It’s easy-going for them both, so he gives the order, “Wow, wow, wow”. Now they are really getting somewhere. The camel gallops on through the sparse scrub, steady on its feet.
Suddenly, the Yank realises there’s a huge gully ahead and they need to stop, pretty darn quick. He hasn’t asked how to bring the camel to a halt and tries to think of a suitable command. They’re almost at the gully and he has no answer to their plight so he says a quick prayer to himself and then, out loud, “Amen”.
On hearing the word, the camel stops almost in its own length, and just as well because its front feet are right on the edge of a 50-metre drop. Shocked and shaken at how close he’s come to injury or death, the Yank leans forward for a look into the gully. Seeing how deep it is, he says, “Wow…!”