Saturday, February 27, 2010

A day at the races...

So this is a quick post about my experience seeing a camel race. Yes, a camel race. These races are a cherished aspect of the "Qatari Culture". When we arrived, as with any event that is arab, people are milling around, and there isn't any clear understanding of what is going on and what time things are starting. Eventually we figured out that the races were occurring on a different track a little further back from where we were. So we walked over to the track and hopped on a bus to follow the camels. The camel race is a 5 minute race around a huge track. The Qataris used to use little children to ride the camels and whip them to go faster.
Due to recent human-rights and safety laws (thank god) children can no longer be used. Instead they use little robots that have whips. What happens is that the Qatari men drive along side the camels with a remote control in order to control the robot's whipping. And the camel, has an ear piece in it's ear that the men in the land cruiser use to scream at them to go faster.... it's quite hilarious.

So as a spectator, because the track is so long, we hop onto a bus that drives along the other side of the camel track so you can see... sounds crazy, I know. It was a fun experience that I will never forget. For pictures click here!

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