While Britain was viewing horses racing round Aintree yesterday, we went for a day at the camel races. Camel racing is a popular, and what appears to be a male only, sport.
We also experienced one of the first real sand storms of the year. As we drove out of Doha, visibility was around one kilometre, but the further out of the city we went, it dropped to a few hundred meters. It looked much like a beige fog, except when stepping out of the bus, any bare flesh was hit by little pin pricks of tiny specks of desert sand.
So our first view of the camel track was with our backs turned to the wind to watch the camels being exercised.
Next we followed two races around the track in our bus from the start through to the finishing line. Either side of the circular track are roads. We drove along one of the roads in our bus along with loads of Landcruisers full or camel owners and trainers.
Meanwhile the camels raced along their track ridden by tiny ‘robot’ jockeys controlled from the Landcruisers. Camels are not the most elegant runners… it’s a sort of lolloping gait.
In the final race, two camels gave up, turned round and went in the opposite direction.
I believe the racing now stops for the summer… next time we’ll come back when the weather is better.