We were walking in the Coloured Canyon, when a strange creaking sound became louder and louder. We couldn’t really imagine where did it come from, but we had a feeling that we’re just about to find a tone-deaf violin player. Then, the one meter wide pathway debouched into a small, sandy area. Where the rocks cast a shadow, a camel stood lazily chewing his cud. In the middle, an old man sat in the hot sand. He was playing “folk songs” for the tourists with his hand-crafted, one-stringed instrument in the scorching heat.
I wouldn’t say he was a gifted musical talent… His melodies were as pleasant as a dying chainsaw. But his grin and desperation melted our hearts. In a moment, a joyous and cheerful atmosphere surrounded us and the women started dancing around him clutching at one another. Banknotes started gathering on the old man’s shawl in return for the musical notes and the cheerfulness he gave us. The man smiled broadly and we left the place with empty pockets. The canyon walls carried that monotone creaking sound for a long time.