Sunday, April 6, 2008

Camel Beauty Contest

Upon our return to Madinat Zayed and the Camel Festival, we entered the viewing area to see that it was already crowded - and men only. We sat in the next viewing area that was less crowded.

Above is the area where the camels were being judged. Yet again, I wish I spoke Arabic as the entire event was in that language. We could only guess what was being said and why the men in the audience clapped at certain points.

From the initial group of about 25 camels, about 15 were eliminated. The remaining 10 or so were brought closer to the viewing stand. At this point everyone came to the fence for a better look at the finalists. According to the newspapers the camels were classified by age and gender and type; they were then judged on the beauty of their face, the length of their necks, their muscle tone, and the silkiness of their hair.

Each camel had an Arabic number written on the side of its neck. In this contest, I liked number 6 the best; he or she had a particularly pretty face and fine proportions, in my unprofessional opinion. Unfortunately she was sent out before the final round.

When the winner was announced the viewers cheered and clapped most enthusiastically.

On our way out of the festival, we spotted this camel being hoisted into a farm truck. Posted by Picasa


elle said...

What really saddens me is how they transport camels here. Seeing how highly prized they are one would think they would of come up with a better way to transport them - like horses. I remember seeing 3 small camels on the back of a small pick up truck in Al Ain. Hoisting that camel up like that just doesn't seem right!

Frances Gunnison said...

I'm not so sure it is uncomfortable. Maybe it's like a ride to them? I know horses hate getting into those vans/trucks to be transported - I think they're afraid of them. Could this harness contraption be less scary for camels than being forced onto a truck with a big stick?