The camel market (souk al-gamaal) is just outside Cairo in Birqash. Even though it is just outside the city, it took us about an hour to get there. When we saw trucks like these, we knew we were getting close. (Enlarge it and look in the bed of the closest truck.) It cost 20 Egyptian pounds for each of us to enter, and I paid an additional 10 pounds for a camera permit.
Luckily my mom knew Fridays were the busiest day. The pictures just don't do the place justice - imagine about 1,000 camels walking, running, sitting, peeing, groaning. Just imagine camels everywhere.
This one is getting a closer inspection. I wonder what the going price was.Look at the camels behind the boy below. Notice how one of each camel's front legs is tied up. Most of them were hobbled in this way so they couldn't get too far too quickly. Every now and then someone would want to see one of the camels run, so they would unhobble it and "encourage" it to run around.
After the deals were made, it was time to load the camels.
This one was not interested in getting in the back of the pick-up truck.Once the camels were in the trucks they were tied down and driven off to who-knows-where. Mustafa, our driver, told us they were off to camel races in the Sudan.The hardest part of the day, for me, was seeing school-age children working rather than being in school. There were lots of young boys working that day. Many of them walked up to me, pointed to my camera and then back at themselves, as if to say, "Take my picture." So I did. Then they would rush up and want to look at the image on the back of the camera. When I showed them each one would get a huge smile.