Ship of the desert, NOPE ships are not this uncomfortable!

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October 15th 2007
Published: November 12th 2007
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I - ScreamI - ScreamI - Scream

This is exactly what we felt like doing by the 2nd day of riding a camel. They are NOT very comfortable, but I guess that isn't their fault.
After a 7 hours bus journey we arrived in Bikaner. Buses are somewhat easier for us, as we can decide in the morning - To go? Or not to go? Ahhhhh! Freedom! Trains on the other hand have to be booked in advance. The journey wasn't too bad, just this time our bus was really full and we had to squeeze our backpacks either in front of our knees (between knees and the next chair, not an option for Andy) or stack them on our laps. This made for quite an uncomfortable 7 hour journey, especially as Andy had his walking boots in the bottom of his bag , doh! We have chosen to go to Bikaner because we decided to do a Camel Safari and this place is supposed to be less busy than Jaisalmer. Also, we did not put too much effort into finding a good/reasonable Safari and went straight to the "Camel Man". The Camel Man is quite famous in Bikaner and all tourist guides, he also now operates the Vijay Guesthouse.

The guesthouse is very nice actually and we stayed in what we think was the best and the cleanest room in India for 300 rupees. In the evening and morning you can have home cooked food in the guesthouse. There is no menu but all dishes are delicious and vegetarian. This comes at extra cost - 150 rupees for dinner and 100 rupees for breakfast. However, the big dining table brings all the guests together and is a great opportunity to exchange travel stories. So we did and found out that we all share our hate/love relationship with India.

We do not like to be stared at - it makes us feel different and all we want is to get to know your country. We also do not like to be pulled at our sleeves and be scratched by numerous people while walking down the street. Shouting at us "Hello Sir! Which country?" will only make us ignore you - we know you are not interested in anything else but the content of our wallet. Asking us more than twice the local price while shopping - many times we do actually know how much we are supposed to pay and if we don't, we will assume that you at least doubled the price and so we will not buy anything unless you half it.

This beast drinks a fair bit, but has good efficieny, and is enviornmentally friendly. The ideal family transport!
Not letting us to have a look in your shops in peace - sometimes we only want to have a look. But if you are lucky we will find something and will buy it. We also have the impression that everyone is trying so hard to get as much money out of us as quickly as possible. Why don't you understand - if you treat us fairly we will come back and recommend you to our friends. Offering us help and then asking money for it - it makes us suspicious towards anyone that comes towards us. "No problem" - it is always "No problem" until it actually comes to it - then we are left by ourselves. Why, oh WHY do you always have to use the horn? Even on an empty street?!

I know the list above looks big, but really, we do love India. The colours, of the buildings, clothes and day to day live is just an amazing sight. The fabulous music makes our hearts jump at every beat and forces our bodies to move. If you have the opportunity to experience the true Indian hospitality, do, it is unbeatable. The vegetarian cuisine we believe
Cammel Pay and DisplayCammel Pay and DisplayCammel Pay and Display

That will be 10rupee for 15mins sir. Display the sticker on the nose where it can clearly be seen
is the best in the world. The Indian spirit and entrepreneurial skills are unique and so unbelievably creative. The country is enriched with very diverse landscapes, World Heritage sites, interesting customs and old culture.

Yes, some days are just great in India and you wish your stay would never end - on other ones you will be counting the days to leave the country. Don't loose faith 😊 We all feel like that!

So, back to the camel safari. We booked ourselves on a one night two days camel ride. It wasn't cheap, (we do know that some pay about 550 rupees a day) we thought we will not come back so we might as well pay more and have a good time. We ended up paying 1900 rupees per person for the whole excursion (original price was 2600). Actually that evening we found out from a fellow traveler that on his 550 rupees per day tour, he has been told that his camel has been bitten by a snake on the way (?!?! yeah right) so the guy had to ride a blind one. This meant that whenever the camel in front stopped, their camel smacked into
The Camel CartThe Camel CartThe Camel Cart

This was the view from our camels for the whole of the journey. This cart carried all our supplies as well as the 3 helpers. These camels are strong beasts I can tell ya
the back of it. Hilarious! You really could be more creative with the made up story 😊 The next morning we had breakfast and got ready for our trip. Before we left, the Camel Man's wife noticed Josie's dry hair and offered her some hair oil - how nice! Josie thought and sat down in Camel Man wife's bed room only to be told that this "favour" will cost her 50 rupees - this was a moment when Josie hated India.

Finally, we left for our safari - we were happy to see that our camels were all in good health, none were bitten by snakes or any other animals 😉 We all had one camel for ourselves and so did not have to share. The guides had a camel car - so everything was transported in a humane way. The food was great - considering we were in the desert. We had unlimited cold mineral water and our beds were clean and covered by tents. The guides were very organised and helpful. Just the Thar Desert was not quite like we thought it would be. We knew it wasn't pure desert, as in sand dunes as far as the eye could see. But this looked more like agricultural land to us, some even looked ploughed. On the plus side, we really did not see other safaris and we had the few sand dunes around us for ourselves. Unfortunately the sunset also let us down that evening - we are not sure if we were expecting too much - but the sun disappeared behind a blue strip before it actually hit the horizon. Hmmm..... maybe the sunrise would be more spectacular. In the evening we have been entertained by a local musician. Some of his "instruments" were amazing and it all looked quite skilled, just after about 3 hours of constant concert we didn't know how to end it and so we decided it was time for bed. FINALLY! Some peace and quiet - something precious when in India. At night it was colder that we thought and in the excitement we forgot to pack warm clothes as we have been ensured that we would not freeze. The sunrise was also not in the mood the next day and so we got onto our camels for the ride back. Soon we noticed that our bums were actually quite sore
Sand BettleSand BettleSand Bettle

They seemed to be everywhere, big and small ones
and we had enough of our beautiful animals. But we had to bite our teeth as the day was not over yet. The landscape started to repeat itself and by then we thought we should put a big tick in the "Camel riding" box.

The camel man took few minutes after our arrival to question us about the trip and we were honest and said what we thought - we actually got 100 rupees off the trip each, because we were supposed to have a camp fire which didn't happen. All in all it was a good trip - we think it would be more fun when you go with a big group of friends - deserts are just not too entertaining after a while. Everything was well organised and the Camel Man was the first tourist business man who was interested in our opinion and not just in the quick money. We left the next day back to.... Jaipur! Even though everyone we met assured us that they could not stay longer than a day in the biggest tourist hassle ever. We though had an invitation to meet an Indian family, in Jaipur. Yes, we have to admit

Queen of the Desert
that we had mixed feelings about that offer, after all the dodgy "favours" and "help" we received in touristy places, but we didn't want to miss an opportunity to mix with the locals. So we got back onto the 7 hour bus ride back to Jaipur - and what a surprise! 😊 This time the bus journey was much more comfortable, as we chose to put our packs in the front cabin, by the driver. It was near luxury, but this being India, it had a sting in the tail. When we got off the bus at the end the ticket seller demanded 15rupee each, for him "looking after" our bags!!! Bollocks to that we though, as no-one else had paid, so we told him so, and got off the bus. Needless to say, he did not follow to demand his money 😊

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Now that is entertainmentNow that is entertainment
Now that is entertainment

They couldn't look any more thrilled to be playing for us. The feeling was kinda mutual after the 1st hour or so

12th November 2007

Trip to Rajasthan
Hi, Andy and Josie. Went through your personal account about Camel the ship of the desert.It is true that today we are living in ultra-modern world but nothing could match the charm of camel safar. Me too has visited Rajasthan and compiled my personal experience in a blog. You may go through it for more information about Rajasthan. Trip to Rajasthan
15th November 2007

Still great blogs
Good to read that you are still having fun, even if everything isnt fun at the time! Our trip is about to end, but thats only a temporary set back, we'll be back on the road again soon!!! Keep writing, and of course keep enjoying things, you've written some great accounts of your travels, and having hopefully inspired a few people to join us in the wonderful world of wanderlust.

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