It's almost friday and I have a funny story to tell you. If you ever scrached your head at your government's actions, wondering what they could possibly have been thinking that day, this one would make you feel better about your government's decision making.
It is in the aftermath of the Mexican War in 1848 and the US army is trying to find a way to master the Southwestern desert. The thinking is: what animals are suitable for transportation in the desert ? Camels, of course. So why don't we import some here, get a few arabic friends here to teach us how to train them ( how the times have changed ;) ) and use them ourselves ? Pretty good reasoning but it might be a bit difficult to execute. Nevermind that, here is $30,000 for the project: let's get Ali the camel and his ruminant friends in the good ol' USA (quite a lot of money at the time).
So they went from NYC to Tunis on a big ship, the USS supply, to get 33 camels and 5 drivers, among them Hadji Ali later on nicknamed Hi Jolly (Syrian were friends back then and apparently Jolly ). Well, the experiment failed miserably because: 1) The camels were homesick, 2) they were not given legal immigration paperworks 3) camels are stinky, have bad temper and scared the soldiers and the horses. ( FYI, #3 is the real reason: I sure hope it's not always the case for illegal immigration cases, ... )
So what to do with the camels now ? They were doing what they were brought for ( resisiting heat and carrying things) but they were of no use anymore. So the army decided to release the ruminant ones in the wilderness of British Columbia, Canada ( seriously) but they decided to come back in California ( I am not making this up). I believe the meeting between the Camels and the Canadian Grizzlies did not go to well:
Grizzly: "hey you, you look funny. What are you and what are you doing here ?
Camel: Hello my dear furry friend. Fear not, we come in peace, we are looking for the closest oasis.
Grizzly: I don't believe you and you look appetizing in a strange way: guys, dinner is served !"
So that was the end of Ali the camel's american dream. Some believe that there are still a few camels roaming in the californian desert. Until now, we are not sure but this picture may provide a hint of what happended to Ali the camels and his friends ( thanks mosilager):
If you think this story was just a set up for me to post this funny pictures, well you know me too well. ;) ( SportsGuy's phrasing).
read about the camel in the US army experiment here.