Guwei'iyya, Saudi Arabia, April 25, 2007—
They've got the curves and the long legs, but these beauty pageant hopefuls probably spit too much to make it on the international catwalks.
Dressed in a rather revealing "tunic," this Arabian camel looks ready to shine during the Mazayen al-Ibl—a parade of "the most beautiful camels" held in this desolate region about 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
Although Saudi Arabia has rapidly become a wealthy and highly modernized country, the camel is still prized as a symbol of the Saudi people's nomadic heritage. But of the 1,500 animals on display, the 72 most attractive are sure to be spared any heavy lifting—winning owners each get a new sport utility vehicle.
So what makes a camel a knockout?
"The nose should be long and droop down, that's more beautiful," Sultan al-Qahtani, one of the event organizers, told the Reuters news service. "The ears should stand back, and the neck should be long. The hump should be high, but slightly to the back."
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Photograph by Andrew Hammond/Reuters