A few weeks ago, the kids and I joined some of my family for a getaway at Port Stephens. While we were up there we visited Stockton Beach and the sand dunes. I stumbled across this little fella, took a snap and sent it to Skip in Dubai saying something like: "Are we in Australia or Dubai?" (Actually I just sent it to him accidentally again while writing this post and he's probably wondering why on earth I did, until he reads this).
Skip wrote back that of course it was Australia, the sand was completely different and look, they are clouds.
I've been asked often what the people "over there" are like. There is often a wariness to their voice.
The Middle East has always been painted to westerners as 'exotic', 'extreme', 'crazy', 'unsafe', 'backward'. Full of terrorists.
The thing is that people are people wherever you go. They may dress differently, eat different foods, like different music, have a different routine to their day, believe in a different god, they may speak differently, but essentially they're human. Everyone likes to laugh, to connect with other people, to provide for their family, to live a good life, to just get through the day. The things that really matter are the same. We may like to believe (or the media/government would like us to believe) that we're intrinsically different, but we aren't.
When my kid has had a tantrum in the supermarket I've seen sympathetic, knowing eyes from behind a veil and an Indian man dash over from another direction with something shiny to distract the child from his screams. All parents know and understand the full force of a tantrum. I've seen Pakistani men and Filipino women smile with delight when they've passed by my children pulling faces at each other to get a laugh.
So while that camel above is an Australian camel, it's still a camel. I'm sure it does whatever Arabic camels do too.