While American citizens are feeling the effects of a growing recession and especially the effects of high-priced gasoline, one of Vice-President Cheney’s buddies is paying $2.7 million for a camel. This purchase by Dubai’s crown prince came during a desert festival celebrating Bedouin traditions in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Included in the festival was a camel beauty contest. Regardless of which camel actually won the contest, it appears that camel sellers did pretty well. For example, Sheik Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the son of Dubai’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed, bought 16 camels for $4.5 million, including a $2.7 million female camel. There was no indication what Hamdan, Dubai’s heir apparent, planned to do with his purchase. However, I understand from media reports that female camels are often used for racing. Owning fine camels is also a mark of prestige for the ruling elite in the Persian Gulf.
Abu Dhabi’s ruling family organized the nine-day festival in a bid to preserve the nomadic way of life in the desert that predates the discovery of oil in the region in the 1960s. More than 17,000 camels from the oil-rich Gulf countries — the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain — were registered for the beauty contest, which gave out millions of dollars in prize money and more than 100 four-wheel-drive vehicles and pickup trucks. As you probably know, Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and, with the lion’s share of the country’s oil resources, it’s the richest of the seven semiautonomous emirates that make up the country. Dubai, the largest emirate in population, has become a major financial center. You might be interested in finding out how many American corporations have actually moved their headquarters to Dhabi. The numbers will likely surprise you.
Source: Associated Press
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