Shaheen closed his eyes and reclined on the sand, but the camel had little opportunity to unwind.
Thousands of World Cup fans descended in the desert outside of Doha in search of the ideal Instagram opportunity: riding a camel across the sloping dunes.
Even its camels are working extra hard as Qatar expects more than a million spectators for the month-long World Cup.
Between games, tourists are pouring into the tiny emirate in numbers it has never seen before, hurrying to cross off items from their Gulf travel wish list like riding a camel, taking selfies with falcons, and exploring the narrow lanes of local marketplaces.
Hundreds of spectators stood in line to ride the humpbacked animals on a recent Friday afternoon while wearing soccer jerseys or flags.
When camels didn’t stand up, their handlers would compel them to do so.
A woman from Australia screamed, “It sounds like they’re being assaulted!” when one camel let out a loud groan.
A bunch of Mexican males in white Qatari thobes was nearby.
After his trip, Juan Gaul, 28, remarked, “It’s truly a fantastic feeling since you feel so tall.”
The Australian supporter of Argentina was spending a week in Qatar.
The handlers of the animals are taking advantage of the chance and earning far more money than they would otherwise.
A 49-year-old Sudanese Bedouin camel herder named Ali Jaber al Ali said, “There’s a lot of money pouring in.” Thank God, but the pressure is excellent.
Al Ali has worked with camels since he was a child and moved to Qatar 15 years ago.
Al Ali stated that his company typically provides 20 rides on weekdays before the World Cup and 50 on weekends.
Al Ali and the men he works with have been offering 500 passages in the morning and another 500 in the evening since the World Cup began.
According to him, the business went from having 15 camels to 60.
Al Ali remarked, “Tour guides want to move things along quickly, so they put pressure on us.”