The Camel in Thailand


Update for week ende d 4 Dec 2009

Camels are very hardy animals of the desert. They are herbivores and have a unique tendency to store additional fat for days when water and food are scarce, which is quite often given their habitat. Their hooves are also quite adaptable such that they can easily walk across treacherous sand dunes, and their large nostrils have an unusual ability that no other animal has – the ability to tightly shut it voluntarily. This is extremely useful when they walk through or are simply caught in a sandstorm. Most people think that the Arabian Peninsula has more camels than anywhere else in the world. Nope – the honour does not even lie with the largest desert in the world – the Sahara; nor the deserts in populous countries like India and China. It is actually Australia that has this honour and these animals are not even native to this continent island. They were “imported” here from Arabia by the early settlers to traverse the harsh Outbacks. Very effective means of transport and sources of food and leather. In India, you can sometimes spot these “lazy” animals on sandy stretches of some coastal beaches, they actually don’t survive too long in these humid areas. And I was once stunned while holidaying in Thailand when the speedboat “guide” told me that after our trip to Monkey Island (which was teeming with simians) and Bamboo island (the only vegetation here was this tall grass), we would pass by Camel Island but not stop! Thailand does not have any deserts from where they can transport these animals from, but they are known to be a resourceful nation. They have theme parks and temples where you can pet a tiger or a lion or an elephant or an orangutan or even a python. But what I saw stumped me; it was an island outcrop near the famous Phi Phi Islands shaped like a camel wading in the sea – with its body, hump, neck and head visible above the azure sea! I had never seen anything like this and before I could capture the picture on my SLR camera, the speedboat had passed onto the bay beyond!

I think the Persian Gulf continues to dog D Street. The D Boyz are so fixated with what would happen to their neighbouring borough which is sometimes referred to as the Best Place in Bombay/Mumbai, that they cannot take their thoughts out of dates or even camels. So today, they spent their time thinking about the ship of the desert and the normally tropically lush D Street, turned brown or tan and helped in carving the SENSEX into a camel outline. Take a look. So they started from the tail about 100 points down before bumping up to the hump – 100 points up; and then craned their necks to get to the camel head. At the end of the day, they kept the SENSEX at 17101 (84 points down). It was also a week where the D Boyz travelled a little, resting in oases in the desert, climbing up lush slopes of the Elgon in Africa, or visiting farmers on their tomato fields in Nasik, admiring the heliconia at home on D Street; or simply looking for camels where they are usually found or sometimes appear! In the bargain they moved up about 470 points from the previous week, despite setbacks and volatile behaviour – keeping the SENSEX headed above 17100.

In case you wondered which borough the Boyz tracked – it is a place that rhymes with the city of Mumbai; has a lot of Keralites around; Hindi is often spoken at stores and malls. And no, I missed that famous pig race outside Bangkok! I instead spent time in their weekend flea market, Chatuchak; and saw the roasted suckling piglet, instead!! I have a picture of that!

 Have a nice weekend…..

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