Side Profiles

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I asked these camels to say “Cheese!” and they all turned to give me their best profile look. You see, they are rehearsing for the upcoming Miss Camel Beauty Pageant which is held every year in Saudi Arabia. They flutter their thick eyelashes and show off their long legs and voluptuous curves. In a country where immodest women would be arrested for showing their legs and curves, the only beauty contest one will ever see in this country is for CAMELS, and it’s open to males and females alike.
Judging criteria includes overall health, beauty of the head, eyes, teeth, cheekbones, legs, and of course humps, as well as genuine affection displayed for the camel’s owner. And what exactly are the judges looking for? “The nose should be long and droop down, that’s more beautiful,” explains Sultan al-Qahtani, one of the organizers. “The ears should stand back, and the neck should be long. The hump should be high, but slightly to the back.” In addition, to be fair, the camels compete in different categories based on their breed or color: black, white, dark brown, and beige with black shoulders.
Prizes are worth every bit of immodesty shown by the camels. Past sponsors have contributed an almost three million US dollar booty in cash and prizes which includes dozens of SUVs awarded to lucky winners. One winning camel could fetch upwards of half a million US dollars! With that kind of cash at stake, it’s no surprise that the number of camel contestants easily exceeds 1500 entrants. These contests have proven so wildly popular that many other countries in the Middle East hold their own contests, which serve to preserve the lifestyles of nomadic Bedouin culture in the region. In addition, the contests elevate the status of camels and give them the love and respect they deserve for being such an important historical part in the development of the Gulf countries and recognition for their key role in helping to spread Islam throughout the world.

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About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Animals, Desert, Nature and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Side Profiles

  1. Pingback: MyWorld: Camel Couture « JEDDAH DAILY PHOTO JOURNAL

  2. They are beautiful creatures! I wish I could have one on my “farm.I guess for now I’ll just be content to knit a few toy ones……

  3. Dina says:

    This is a great post. I love it that one judging criterion is genuine affection for the owner.

    So males are included? Do they get extra points for slobbering and spewing foam from the mouth when the doola is inflated? (I had to feed one such male camel at Heifer Ranch, Arkansas, and it was not fun.)

    But I’m glad these contests are spreading and elevating the status of camels. They deserve it.

  4. I love this photo. These camels really do have a rather regal look about them. They seem to exude confidence!

  5. Kimberly says:

    LOL, they are beautiful creatures (albeit stubborn!) aren’t they? There’s an arabic poem, comparing a man’s beloved to a camel, actually..it made me laugh so hard when I heard it….the eyes, the eyelashes…the soft, soft skin of the camel…but when they got to the rear end of the camel, I just couldn’t see how any woman would be at all flattered by this poem!!!

    Susie, I really have come to appreciate your blog – both this one and also your “Susie in Arabia” blog. Your insight and emotion and just your posting of your personal experiences has been extremely valuable, especially as I am engaged to be married to a Saudi, also in Jeddah. We will be marrying shortly, insha Allah, and I would expect to be your neighbor by fall. (paperwork is being wasta’d through for the permission etc.) Is there any way I could communicate with you, via email or something, to ask some questions? I also have a teenaged son, and we are in Canada. I would value your insight, and don’t know where else to go for answers, and would like them before I move. I have some concerns.

    Thanks again for all your efforts and creativity (and humor too!). As it’s warming up over there, stay cool and I hope to be in touch soon. P.S. I vote for the second camel. She looks cheeky. LOL.

  6. very interesting information. i must say I would never have guessed a Miss Camel contest existed. Most of the camels I saw (and rode) in Egypt and Jordan did not exhibit smiles like the ones in your photo. The camel is a truly amazing creature. I find the ride on a camel to be very, very comfortable. And, it is so nice that they can bend their knees down to the ground to let you get on the camel very easily. By the way, thanks for your comments. I am glad you have enjoyed the Chihuly, cactus, and Scottsdale area photos. I hope they bring you good memories of the time period when you lived here.

  7. Glennis says:

    I quite like camels and these are very photogenic, I am sure one of them must be the overall winner of the beauty contest.

  8. Geogypsy says:

    I vote for the second one from the front.

    A beauty contest might as well be for camels. Those are some winnings.

  9. Ebie says:

    Can I be the judge? They all look so cute!

  10. Jacob says:

    I love it: a camel beauty pageant!

    Great photo, Susie. They actually look kinda cute!

  11. Mo says:

    They appear to be very competitive. Do they tell of all the work they do for charity.

  12. Lily says:

    this is the most unique beauty contest I have ever heard of. I like this portrait of camels too.

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