When I was slated to come to Kuwait the first time, (back in January) I did some searching around on Google Maps and Google Earth to find some things that would be interesting to go do while I am in country. One of the things I noticed was, what looked like, a racetrack out in the middle of the desert.
I did some more digging and found that there is a huge camel population out in that region. Putting 1 and camel together I figured out that it was a Camel racing track! When I arrived in country, I made a point to head out there and see what it was all about. Some of the websites I found on the subject (there aren’t many) mentioned that Saturday is the day to go. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a free Saturday, but I thought, “What the hell, Camels!” and went anyways on a Sunday.
The area around the racetrack is mostly desert with a small village in the middle of it. Many of the villagers have pens where they keep camels. These camels were VERY friendly and wanted to know what this weird white guy with a camera was doing. This resulted in my first batch of pictures from the area.
A few months later, Sarah and I arrive and I tell her about the camels. Saturday comes around and we have some free time so, TO THE CAMEL RACES!!! ONe of the important lessons we learned is, the place I had found that had the sign out front and was, what I thought, the location of the races…..wasn’t. If you follow the road to it’s end you find a large building with lots of flags, which is the RIGHT building. We entered the building and headed to the grandstand area where there were many plush seats and screens showing where the camels were. The track was HUGE and you could just make out the trucks that were following the camels in the distance.
The great part was that I could venture right out to the track (and in some cases on it) and take pictures. There were many different varieties of camels at the track. Some were outfit for riding (my guess was that these were ridden in as we would drive a car in) and some were obviously the racers. Interestingly, you will notice that the racing camels don’t have anyone riding them. Instead there is a small robot on the back that spurs the camel on. It’s equipped with a small whip that is remote controlled, probably by someone in one of the many trucks and cars that follow the camels around the track.
I am sure we will venture back out again for more camel racing fun!