The Princess

Adel Al Marzouqi waits for his camel Amira at the Al Wathba finish line in his Phantom Rolls-Royce. Anna Zacharias / The National / March 2014.
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The Al Wathba finish line is a mess of white Land Cruisers with tinted-black windows and low-digit licence plates.

One car sticks out - a Phantom Rolls-Royce, a spot of dark red among the white.

Adel Al Marzouqi is parked at the finish line, waiting for his camel Amira. “That’s princess in English,” he says. “You can call her The Princess.” She is named after his car showroom.

A Rolls-Royce has no place at a race track. This is the domain of 4x4s.

Al Marzouqi disagrees. His 4x4 is parked on the island. This is a sport for show and his Rolls-Royce is his preferred car for camel races.

He gestures at the sweeping parking lot before us, at the tarmac road that rings the camel track, at a big screen broadcasting live races. Half a dozen men serve fresh avocado juice and hot gingered spiced milk at the finish line to drivers hidden behind tinted windows.

“You know, it’s not like before,” he says. “Our government has made very good facilities for camel races and there is new technology, a new vision.”

Al Marzouqi can’t drive around the track. There is too much traffic and mayhem. Instead, he gets friends to call him with updates during the race and he waits at the finish line in the luxurious comfort of full-grain leather seats.

He won’t say how many camels he raced at the Wathba festival. It’s top secret. “I’m repairing everything now,” he says. “Next year they’ll all be in my name.”


“Any team has a good year and bad year,” he says. “Players change. Next year I’m coming full power to this race.”