I visited a camel race with other exchange students. We were very excited and eager to enjoy our first ever camel race! And when we got there… we couldn’t see any camels. It wasn’t the most exciting event ever, and the track was so massive that we only saw the camels a couple of times. When they finally completed their first lap, they were followed by an entourage of vehicles. Apparently the owners of the camels were keeping pace with their animals, and remotely controlled the mechanical jockey on their camel’s back. Yes, each camel had a small machine strapped onto it, with the sole purpose of tapping it with a riding crop. These mechanical jockeys replaced real jockeys, to make sure no human jockeys were abused, such as by using children or starving the jockey. I heard this was sometimes done to make sure the camel faster by lightening the load it had to run with.
I recently got lost in Sharjah and wound up at an animal souq. At the bottom of this post are pictures from the souq, and you can hover over a picture for its description. Or, you can even click on the images for larger pictures, and move through them that way.
It was an exciting experience, and I even got to hold a falcon! The part of the souq I was in was a long building with a high roof. There was a walkway down the middle, and on both sides were stores full of animals. Almost every sort of animal was there, including fish, ferrets, chickens, falcons, cats, and dogs.