Camels are one of the biggest attractions in Dubai and all over UAE. There are camels in the desert, camels in the hotel resorts, and camels on the streets. Everywhere you go, you can ride them, pet them, and watch their owners doing tricks with them. Wonderful creatures. Children love them. They are usually very calm; not dangerous at all. They are kind of slow desert animals used to very high temperatures and they look like they can’t be fast. Sand doesn’t make it easy to run. But that is not completely true!
There is a place in Dubai called Al Marmoom Camel Racing. The racing season starts in September and ends in April. This sport is more popular than basketball or football or baseball in Dubai. All of the rich and famous gather there very early in the morning; around 6am. It is important not to expose the Animals to Sun when it is too hot, hence the early start. After the start of the race it looks almost surreal! About sixty camels start running, their long legs flying all around, and one can notice something strange right away: these camels are running without jockeys. Many years ago children used to ride camels on the races, but that is not the case anymore because some kids were injured during the years. Some time ago a team of scientists gathered around and they invented robot-jockeys; small electronic ones. They are placed at the spot where a human-jockey normally sits, they imitate the weight of a human and they have speakers that are built in; through those speakers trainers and owners of these animals communicate with them during the race. They have walkie talkies and they shout all the things that they would be shouting if they were riding the camel themselves.
Although these camels look no different than other camels you can see in UAE, they are actually raised in a totally different way; trained since they were one year old, they eat special food, and they live in special conditions. Camel can achieve an average speed of 30 – 40kph. It sounds slow, but for a camel – it is like a rocket-speed.
All of the richest sheiks and stars of Dubai go to watch camel races. They bet, they yell, and of course, there is a little market place where you can check out some young camels, sons and daughters of well-known champions, and buy one of them; or more if you have enough money. Some of the bet racing camels in the world cost more than 500.000 dollars.
Apart from camels competing – rich ladies compete too: it is very important to have beautiful binoculars in order to have a good view on the track. Most popular binoculars are those made of pure gold.