Posted by: Leap of Faith | April 16, 2007

Camels


I found this while browsing through the website of National Geographic. It is about Saudi Arabia and their love for Camels.

Camels are everywhere in Saudi Arabia, but they have no apparent economic or transportation function anymore. In the past, when the region\’s cultures were still largely nomadic, camels were the only way to transport goods across the bone-dry center of Saudi Arabia, as they can walk for many days without water. But the camel\’s practical function began to change with the oil boom following World War II.

Today a Bedouin is far more likely to be at the wheel of a pickup truck than on the back of a camel. In fact, it\’s not unusual to see camels themselves transported across the country in the bed of a pickup (I\’ve seen this once before and it looks amusingly weird!!!). Yet they seem in no danger of vanishing from the national scene and can even be seen walking down the highways of Jeddah, an otherwise thoroughly modern metropolis (there are around six or seven camels roaming/grazing outside the school of the boys – they are big, dirty creatures!).


Camels have also maintained their trading value, notwithstanding the loss of evident purpose. A thoroughbred can cost a million dollars. For months while in Saudi Arabia, I struggled with this paradox, asking dozens of Saudis why they still own camels. More often than not the answer was, \”Because we\’ve always had camels.\” (Hmmm, that really sounds like a legit Saudi answer)

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