Little Adventures

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Friday, July 21, 2006

A Few Minutes With The Camels

Out of curiousity, this camel came to us so close it almost licked my camera.

My wife and I were driving by the municipality of Rayyan, west of Doha, when we passed by this camel ranch. I have seen some camels before because of the nature of my job where I spend a lot of time on the road. However, this was a first for my wife. We stopped the car somewhere near the fence and walked towards the camels on foot. We did not enter the paddocks, of course. Just by the fence. My previous encounter with camels was not very pleasant because they stink. The smell is like urine. These camels don't smell.

My wife enjoyed looking at them from the fence. At first, they were all in the center of the paddocks but the flash firing from our camera (a Canon Powershot S30) called the attention of some. Usually, animals would become more elusive but some of the camels went to us really close - perhaps they think we have food or just out of curiousity towards the flash. One almost actually licked my camera. They were quite friendly. Most probably because these camels are well taken cared of. They all looked healthy. I think these are racing camels. Yes, Qatari's race camels here like horses. I've never watched one but it is part of their culture, I think.
At this time, one of the caretakers saw us and started talking to us. Problem was he can't speak a word of English. By reading his facial expressions and gestures, I figured he was asking what we were doing so I showed my camera and with a few gestures I said we were just taking pictures. He smiled so I figured he didn't mind. He talked some more in Arabic; I understood a few words. He was asking us if we would like to have a ride. He was also asking for some money. My wife was not up to the challenge at the time so we declined the offer. The other reason was that we could barely understand what he was talking about so I thought negotiations would be very difficult.
So we took a few more pictures and left. It was only a few minutes but the happiness I saw in my wife's eyes are precious and priceless.

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