The Camel Market

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About an hour and half outside of Dubai, nestled in the quiet city of Al Ain, in the back of one of the largest shopping centre, you’ll find The Camel Market. The camel is a key part of the UAE’s rich heritage. The Arabian Camel, the Dromedary, is a large even-toed ungulate and has one hump.  Historically, these camels were used for transportation, food and milk, which you can still be found on shelves in the diary department throughout the Middle East.  For just 10,000 Dirhams, you can buy you very own desert bred baby camel to have for a pet. The stalls are set up for you walk around and pet the camels from outside the cage and the keepers are friendly, in the beginning, when you walk up to inquire about the prices.  I’ve taken pictures near camels before, but for some reason I was nervous about the venture, since there was so many in the cage at one time.  When you walk up to a cage, the keeper will rush toward the rope, as the camels will walk towards you at one time, hoping to be freed and taken away to a home.  The market felt more like an orphanage for camels, than an actually market, the prices range from 10,000AED for a small child camel to 1 million Dirhams for an adult prized racing camel.

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Camel skin is used locally to make shoes, bags, water containers. In the Arab world, it’s wool is used for tents and rug-making.
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In the Arabic culture, a camel is assigned a new name every year. This camel responded immediately when the keeper called his name.

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At a glance, some of the body features scared me a bit.  I’m told by a  keeper, that they can be a bit selfish like people when it comes to eating the right foods and sharing. They hardly ever leave the cage, if so, they are transported to a track not far from the market to exercise to remain looking healthy and profitable.

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YES!!  I finally got him to turn around for a prize shoot!!

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