Pink cuddly stuffed camels. Big bronze camels. Hairy life-like but fake camels. I’ve seen many variations of them, but never the real thing. (while living in the UAE, that is. I saw a few at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo last year, but that doesn’t really count, does it?) Friends have said they see them on the side of the road or being transported by truck, but I never have. As a tribute to the title of my blog, I thought it appropriate to dedicate an entry to them.
My husband and the boys and I set off in search of them over the weekend. I read about a camel racetrack in a guidebook so that’s where we headed. We came across an enormous horse racetrack that apparently forced the old camel racetrack to be relocated. We didn’t see any camels. Only this sign that when followed, led to a dead-end:
And this sign but still no camels:
After a bit more reading, I thought I figured out where this elusive camel racetrack was located, and it was a bit farther away than I had planned. We drove for about 40 minutes and it felt nice to leave the skyscrapers behind. It was also a not-so-subtle reminder that yes, we are living in the desert. The emptiness and severity is undeniable, and it reiterated what an amazing accomplishment it was to build a city like Dubai in the middle of this unforgiving landscape.
We finally came across on odd little assortment of camels, some tied up, others just relaxing. My sons woke up from their naps in excitement and we set off across the sand to snap a few pictures like some other tourists who arrived before us. I was struck by how harsh the “real” desert is. As opposed to walking across sandy areas in the city, here, our feet sank deeply in the already burning hot sand (it’s only March!) and it was a bit of a struggle (in my flip flops, especially) to walk up to them. I took a bunch of boring and ugly pictures, I think because I was distracted by the big “scary” animals. Being the city girl that I am, any large animal, regardless of their actual demeanor, is likely to jump up out of the blue and harm one of my children. 🙂
Here’s a couple of pics:
Did we find the racetrack? No. But none of us cared. My sons were thrilled to have seen what we did and we headed back to town for lunch. We’ll try for the races another day.