Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The cost of camels

The man's Cheshire Cat grin got progressively wider and wider as our guesses for the price of a camel in Abu Dhabi got progressively further and further off the mark. £1000? £200? Well, actually more like £125,000. I've been offered upwards of fifty camels for various girlfriends in various North African countries – maybe I should have taken them up on their offers. But racing camels are a different breed of camel altogether – literally. Racing camels are like racing horses, and command similar prices. Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi apparently owned three rare breed black camels, highly valued in the Gulf states. We saw camels racing at the Lambeth County Show last month. They weren't very fast, one was called Bertie, but I like camels, not as noble as horses, but possessing more character, they're quite possibly a tad stupid, but steadfast, cheeky and with bags of stamina. In the butchers in Libya one finds camel meat for sale; to advertise the fact, live camels are sat around outside the premises, seemingly oblivious to the fact that dead camel heads are sitting near them with their oesophaguses in their mouths.

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