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Beauty Contest with a Disturbing Twist

Beauty is only skin ...err, fur deep

Legs that go on forever, more curves than the Indy 500 and eyes ensconced in batting, come-hither lashes. Ah, beauty. We never tire of admiring it, studying it and in many parts of the world, judging it. Contests in next week's pageant in Saudi Arabia don't have the best manners though - spitting is a favorite pastime.

Beauty - In the Eye of the Beholder...Beauty - In the Eye of the Beholder...In a country where women live under strict religious laws, the Quahtani tribe of western Saudi Arabia is assembling its "most beautiful camels" in the desolate desert of Riyadh, in Abu Dhabi.

"In Lebanon they have Miss Lebanon," Walid, moderator of the competition's Web site, told Reuters. "Here we have Miss Camel."

Although a tsunami of wealth has transformed the United Arab Emirates, the camel remains a prized symbol of their traditional, nomadic lifestyle. In a country governed by Islamic laws, camels remain big business - finalists could fetch as much as million dollars when sold.

"The nose should be long and droop down, that's more beautiful," Sultan al-Qahtani, one of the organizers, told Reuters. "The ears should stand back, and the neck should be long. The hump should be high, but slightly to the back."

Dazzling females, and their lusty male counterparts (equal opportunity beauty pageant, we suppose) from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will shake their booty for a panel of expert judges. Prize money totals more than 10 million riyals ($2.7 USD). One hundred cars are also up for grabs.

Spitting doesn't seem to be the only bad habit of these contestants though. Female camels have had to be, err, harnessed to thwart unwanted attention from the males.

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

Wonder who gets to crown the winner?

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