Al Ain: The Camel Market

Al Ain

Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates

April 18, 2016

 I didn’t count them of course, but there must be several hundred camels for sale at the Al Ain Camel Market.  Goats, too.

At first I thought,”Why do we need so many camels?” 

A few may be bred for racing.  But camels as a major means of transportation are now a distant historical memory.  **

Then I remembered, “Aren’t we all envious of anyone who can afford the ultra soft luxurious texture of a camel hair jacket or coat?” 

And that’s just the beginning.

Check out the link below for Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Camels.

Apparently, camels or camelids as a species arose in North America.  They wandered south where they evolved into llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas.    Those that traveled west across the Bering land bridge populated Asia and developed two humps, the Bactrian variety.  Then they wandered west and south into the Middle East and North Africa and evolved into the one hump Dromedary variety.

In the Nineteenth Century, camels were imported into Australia where they served as beasts of burden for transportation across the desert and for the construction of roads and the rabbit proof fences.  After motor transportation become possible, some camels were released in the Outback where they continue to thrive in the wild.

Recently, someone quizzed me, “Where do many of the camels in the Middle East come from?”  The answer is, "Camels are now imported into Arabia from Australia!"

**During my trip to Rajasthan, India several years ago, I observed that camel carts are still an important means of transporting construction materials and other products. 

In Mongolia I saw huge herds of camels across the Gobi Desert. 

In Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, I watched as a young man led his family through the desert, his mother atop a camel. 

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