Have you ever watched a camel race?
I almost did. After a 45 minute drive in the desert towards the race track in Abu Dhabi one Friday morning, we missed it. As we were parking, we found groups of men in long white robes or khandoura aboard their 4x4 vehicles leave altogether. We stayed behind in the empty stadium to watch the rest of the training camels exercise instead.
Camels are a national treasure in the UAE. The local Arab men take pride in their camels and they have a deep attachment to them as the camels have always been a dependable source of food, milk and transport for years. It has played an economic role in Arabian heritage as one's personal wealth was assessed according to the number of camels one owns.
Camel racing in Dubai is a deep rooted tradition and is very important to the Emiratis. This is usually held annually during the winter months from October to April. It is a highly competitive sport with high caliber and skillfully trained camels. The viewers usually watch the race in the confines of the stadium equipped with large screens. On the contrary, I think I would prefer watching it outdoors. I watched the race on the television a few times.
The vibration on the ground can surely be felt as the stampede of frantic camels approaches. Unlike in horse racing where you have jockeys atop the horses, there are robots at the back of the camels. The camels run almost flying down the track followed by the honking SUVs with men hanging out of the vehicles playing with remote controls directing the robots to drive the camels faster. So high tech! The pumping adrenaline and excitement, it's a definite thing to do when visiting the UAE.
Do you think you would be interested to see it?
Have you tried riding a camel?
I was also bitten by one on the rear (Ouch!) :)