Pretty camel, where art thou?

April 22, 2008 at 2:00 am 5 comments

Perhaps my colleagues Luke Naismith and David Rymer can help me out. Both of them are currently lounging around working in Dubai in the heat, dust and sand. Is there something about camels in Dubai I should know about Luke and David?

Dubai’s crown prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (phew!), has just purchased a camel for AUD$2.9 million. Yep, you read correctly – 2.9 million not $2.90. Now, I must say that from the photo, this camel has extremely long eyelashes and a rather appealing face. But I’m not a great lover of camels. I was once on safari in Kenya, in the Masai Mara. It was a 2-week “luxury” camel safari (I think I missed out on the luxury part). I was assigned Stanley the camel, who would guide me safely across the deserts each day. Unfortunately, Stanley and I didn’t see eye to eye. He didn’t like me. I’d go to feed him in the morning, as was our duty whilst on safari, and he’d try to bite and spit.

And then as we were traversing some lonely, dusty part of Kenya in a camel train, Stanley looked off longingly into the distance, made some camel noise and bolted (with me still on said camel). Apparently, Stanley had seen some wild female camels and was lusting after them. The camel train leader had to rescue us both and I traded Stanley in for another camel pronto.

So why would anyone pay millions for a CAMEL?? Does it have diamond-encrusted eyelashes? A tail of gold? Does it have the secret to long life? Has it starred in the latest Indiana Jones film (and therefore had the gorgeous Harrison Ford on its back)? Is it some sort of camel celebrity?

It seems that Dubai recently had a camel beauty pageant (I think they get too much sun over there). And the Sheikh also bought up camels to the tune of AUD $4.8 million. Now, clearly the Sheikh has pots of money and I’m sure he puts it to good use. But a camel beauty pageant?? And paying 4.8 million for CAMELS?

I couldn’t find out any details about these camels to see if they’re special in some way. But I’m concerned about camel discrimination – apparently, the camels are judged in categories based on age and skin colour. Sorry but I didn’t realise that skin colour was an issue with camels. And is there age discrimination going on I ask – if a camel is over 40 years old and a female, is she considered over-the-hill and no longer attractive to male camels? Even worse, the five judges assess the camels’ bodies, along with their necks, heads, lips, noses, humps, legs and feet separately.

So what is it about the camel shown in the photo above that warrants a price tag of 2.9 MILLION??? I realise that the UAE is awash with money but when we have people starving in this world, I’m a bit staggered by this story of Dubai’s prettiest camel.

I’m sure that Luke and David have been immersed in knowledge management in Dubai and perhaps can enlighten us about camel beauty pageants. Meanwhile, whilst they gather the camel knowledge, I’m off to the desert of Central Australia to round up some wild camels!

Source and image credit: The Age


Entry filed under: Animals, Reflections.

Going, going A licence to shoot?

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Luke Naismith  |  April 22, 2008 at 3:51 am

    Hi Kim

    Long eyelashes, beautiful skin, lovely facial features, bite and spit if you get too close – reminds me of something else which is involved in beauty parades!!

    Enjoy Central Oz … very different to the desert here …

  • 2. David  |  April 22, 2008 at 4:33 am

    Clearly you do not share the crown prince’s keen eye for camel flesh. This undoubtedly is a rare racing camel – a Lamborghini amongst dromidaries! What playboy arabian prince would be without his camel, his Lamborghini and his falcon? Besides when you are in line inherit an entire emirate, what’s a couple of million? As they say in Dubai when assessing a camel, its a case of never mind the face – check out the hump!

  • 3. thinkingshift  |  April 22, 2008 at 5:29 am

    ah!! I knew that David and Luke would provide us with some inside knowledge about camels in Dubai. I see you both are not lounging around after all but undertaking some serious knowledge analysis of the landscape! Clearly, I will have to develop a keen eye for camel flesh and camel humps…mmmm

  • 4. James Christian  |  April 22, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    As far as i know Camel Safaris are not offered in the Masai Mara. The Mara is a grassland, not desert and so an unlikely place to find a camel. Sorry anyway that you had a bad experience with stanley. Camels like all animals, camels can be as nice or as mean as their trainors. If treated with love though they areas lovable as kittens but if beaten or provoked as bad attituded as stanley.
    Cheers, James Christian
    Camel Safaris in Kenya

  • 5. thinkingshift  |  April 22, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    It was over 10 years ago James and I actually did 2 safaris over a few years, so I might not have remembered exactly where we went. But….I’ve been to Kenya many times, loved it and the second camel safari was wonderful (nice camel too). One of these trips ended up in the Masai Mara as far as I remember but wherever we went it was lovely country.


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