and it was a total immersion in Oman’s Camel culture
Making the Oman national newspaper – Colin Carroll & Graham Little created a stir as they did a unique double – a regional Camel Race and a local Camel Race in Oman.
On two consecutive days they joined in the quintessentially Omani pastime of Camel Racing – not as spectators as I often do – but as participants for their program ‘Colin and Graham’s Excellent Adventures’
Thrills and spills was the order of the day – but you will have to watch the program on RTE and BBC – to see how they survived the gruelling desert events.
As a child I enjoyed Horse Riding – and occasional jumping. Though of course not as skilled as the 9 year old British children who enter the show jumping events at the UK’s Pony Club I cannot recollect my having a serious fall.
Perhaps it was this enjoyment of riding that attracted me to Camel Racing in Oman; though Camels don’t jump
they manage most other things , including beauty competitions.
The start of this years Camel Racing Season in Oman marks a departure from previous years. The jockeys – young Bedu boys from the local communities close to the race, with all their swagger and bravado – have disappeared, to be replaced by Robots.
I will certainly miss the cultural interest in future Camel races – and hope that the Pony Club in England doesn’t eject the British youngsters from their saddles in favour of robots.
In an extraordinarily close finish in the last leg of the last race on the last day (just as they won the Gulf Cup in Football – nail biting) Oman Sail’s Masirah has won the “iShares Cup Champions 2009” in Almeria, Spain.
Whats even more extraordinary is that this was their first season – hopefully more to come.
What a shame the America’s Cup isnt in Oman’s waters.
Just before it launches I took a look at the Jewel of Muscat, the replica of a 9th Century West Indian Ocean (Arabian Sea) boat. This is being constructed in Muscat and will sail to Singapore where it will be the focus of a Museum about the Belitung, a wreck full of Chinese merchandise .
The boat is sewn, rather than nailed together, a technique used in Oman until the mid 20th c .
The Jewel uses extreme sewing – which in most boats I’ve seen was used for structurally critical parts of a boat. Probably for a long ocean voyage, between Oman and China, every part of the boat would be considered critical.