My sister was here for two weeks, I started a full-time job, Honour landed the lead role in Grease (and knocked it out of the park), and life…well life on many other counts has been full of unexpected turns and twists. Yes, these are my excuses for my long silence.
We had a great time with my sister Lynda while she was here. We did lots of great touristy things. Most of which I’ve blogged about before and the others that I haven’t will save and dole out later. My sister is easy company. She is happy to cruise around in the car and see the sights or cruise around with a grocery cart and explore the new and exotic foods – did I mention we’re family?
For now, I have some great photos to share with you. Qatar Foundation (our employer) took us to the camel races yesterday.
Of course camel racing is centuries old here but in recent years it’s undergone some much needed changes. Child jockeys have been outlawed and mechanical jockeys have (mostly) replaced them. The minimum age is now 21 so most are mechanical although yesterday we did see two young men racing.
Another modern addition to the races is that the owners (and anyone who cares to) drive around the track beside the camels, honking horns and remotely controlling the mechanical jockeys.
All the photos are credited to Dave. The first one is incredible. There is a brief moment when the handlers bring the camels to the starting line. There is a cloth curtain that is all of a sudden lifted. The moment before is bedlam with the camels pushing to start and the handlers working to hold them back and not get trampled at the same time. Dave’s shot shows the curtain lifted and what is revealed the split second before the race begins.
There’s also a video clip after the pictures. You can see the cars driving around the track and the mechanical jockeys ‘urging’ the camels on for the win. Apparently there are expensive prizes involved and lots of money put into the camels themselves. The best part (and I’m not sure this is captured anywhere) is the fun the Qataris in their cars are having. The joy on their faces as they cheer their camels on is contagious and made for a great time for all!
After the race we stopped and took more photos of the camels…and the camel handlers thought it only a fair trade that they be able to take photos of Honour. She’s a bit of a curiosity here with her long blonde hair and I have added to my skill set ‘human curtain’.