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Saudi Arabian Days 2005
Heaton Park, Manchester

The event was a five-day celebration of Saudi Arabia, its people and their way of life, organised by the Saudi Embassy in London. The aim was to boost the image of the country - which holds public executions and is described by Amnesty International as having an "appalling human rights record" - and improve cultural understanding and relations with people from Manchester and across the North West.

When I arrived at about 3pm on the final day, there didn't appear to be much happening or much to see, and I started to think it might have been a wasted journey and that I perhaps wouldn't be staying long. But a stroll to a far corner revealed a camel paddock and my afternoon was underway.

The languid and disinterested manner of the camel intrigues me and I was amazed to learn of their ability to carry great loads and go for days without water. But the beasts don't really do that much when they are in an enclosure with a wealth of food to munch on. So after a few minutes of gawping it was time to plod on to the next animal attraction.

I'm definitely not a horse person but I found myself spending a surprising amount of time milling around their paddock. The two grey mares and the bay mare on display were two of the finest examples of our four-legged friends I've ever seen.

The greys were apparently sired by a successful racehorse and that pedigree was clear for all to see. Lean and strong but also elegant and beautiful with gleaming coats and manes, these horses looked like they were worth some very serious money.

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Saudi Arabian Days 2005 was held at Heaton Park in Manchester
from July 13 to July 17.

For more information on the event see

Click here to see photographs
from the final day of the event

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