Meet the Beauty Queens of Al Dhafra – The New York Times

“Camel No. 1! Camel No. 1!”

I had simply arrived On the Al Dhafra Pageant, and youthful boys in kanduras, or prolonged tunics, have been working in the direction of my automotive, shouting as they pointed their index fingers Inside the air. In The space, two males rode camels, every pulling anfullly different of the animals on a leash. Definitely one of many camels was draped in a gprevious-tasseled winner’s blanket.

Behind The lads, slowly making its method throughout the sand dunes, was An monumalestal convoy of honking pickup vans. Men and boys stood Inside the beds of the automobiles and leaned out of All of the house windows, waving and cheering, Lots of them filming the scene on their telephones.

And by no means using a second thought, I left my little rental automotive behind — I wouldn’t have gotten far Inside the deep sand, anymethod — and jumped on the again of The shutst pickup. I needed to be An elemalest of this impromptu celebration.

The annual Al Dhafra Pageant rejoices Bedouin traditions, and takes place On The sting of the Rub al Khali, or the Empty Quarter, thought-about The Most very important sand desert On the earth, shut to the Emirati metropolis of Madinat Zayed, a two-hour drive southwest of Abu Dhabi.

Highlights of the gathering embrace Saluki races (the canine are prized by the Bedouin As a Outcome of of their velocity and eyesight), poetry readings and exhibitions on falconry and conventional artisanship. From current dates to camel milk, tright here’s additionally an array of Meals and drinks.

At The center of the festival, by no meanstheless, are the camel magnificence contests.

By way of the weeksprolonged event, Al Dhafra is the epicenter of the camel universe. In 2019, the yr I attended, Greater than 24,000 camels from All through the place Inside The center East competed for 60 million Emirati dirham in prize money — the equal of Greater than $16 million. Large sums Of money additionally change palms as notably lovely camels are purchased.

Some individuals hint the origins of The candyness contests to a househprevious dispute in 1993, when two camel breeders Desired to name on some unbiased judges To Search out out whose animals have been extra lovely.

Since then, camel magnificence contests have superior …….


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