Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Camel Races

Saturday we went to the camel races in Dukhan. They were not what I was expecting. Instead of riders, the camels have small robots on their backs that are controlled with remotes. The camel "racer" is the man holding the remote, and he controls how much the robot "whips" the camel. It was amazing to see camels RUN/GALLOP for about 14 minutes straight. The sad part was seeing the camels finishing the race with foam around their mouths. I've never seen a horse race in person, so maybe horses finish the same way.

The beginning of the race is the best part (sadly the video I took of the start did not turn out), because the camels are all lined up with men standing in front holding the leads. When the start line is pulled up, the men let go of the leads and have to run/leap out of the way. If you ask me, they don't pay those guys enough! There were some camels who didn't want to start the race and some who didn't want to finish. I have to say I don't blame them at all.

There is a Land Cruiser with a video camera and a camera man on top that drives along the race route and films the event. Most of the race is not even visible to the people sitting in the stadium seating. Because sitting in the seating area is so boring, spectators can board a bus that follows the camels around the track along with numerous other vehicles. Brett and Abbey told me that it was the best way to see all the action.

The end of a LONG camel race

Most of the action, for me, was shooting pictures on the grassy area where people were allowed to get up close and personal with two camels. Some children could not take their hands off the poor animals. Abbey, on the other hand, could not get far enough away. It didn't help either, when I finally got her to pose with one, the camel reached over and tried to take a bite of her pony tail. Many people rode the camels (including Brett), but I was just fascinated by the funny creatures. Their eyelashes are things of beauty, but as Abbey put it, their teeth are disgusting. One of the camels kept making a whistling noise with his mouth and would show his teeth each time. This is how I captured the cheesy "smile" in one of the shots.

So there you have our adventure to the camel races. Not one of the highlights of my life, but definitely an experience to remember and talk about. I just want to make one thing clear, especially to Brett's dad Kenny: there were no bets placed, at least not on the races. I did wager at how long it would take Brett to jump onto one of the camels though!
Lawrence of Arabia Rides Again! Notice how he waves to all his peeps!


Marinda said...

That is pretty funny! What an experience! The camel with "the smile" is actually quite lovely! I think her decorations may help.

Kristy said...

Heehee! We ALL loved these pictures and videos! So, so fun.

adrienne said...

We watched the video yesterday. There seems to be no end to the exotic adventures you guys are having! Honestly, it is just thrilling to me to read about your life and I have such admiration for your willingness to embrace an adventure so far from Bountiful. You guys are great role models for some of the qualities I admire most: willingness to take risks, to learn, to grow and to not just accept the status quo. Go Kearneys!!!!!