Edit Blog Post
Published: March 15th 2008
As the Tuk Tuk pulled up at the side of a railway station, my eyes followed the track stretching off into the desert. An old rusty barrel dripped water while a railway sign creaked in the slight breeze. As a sand devil built up momentum I looked around at the stunning dunes and deep blue sky before setting sight on three dodgy teenagers racing camels and a cart towards us. As they approached and the dust cleared, it was obvious these lads were going to be trouble. In England we would call them Hoodies, in India they are Slum Dogs. We would later brand them 'The Camel Fuckers'.
Yet again the realisation that we had been scammed set in. Originally booking our trip with an official business called 'Thar Camel Safari' we were eventually driven into the desert and offloaded to the Tuk Tuk driver’s friend. The driver’s friend proceeded to pay three Slum Dogs pittance in return for our adventure. We had no choice but to go or face being stranded in the desert. At the time we thought it could not get much worse. Little did we realise these lads would take us on an un-nerving anti-western experience
right into the heart of the Rajasthan desert.
As we climbed on to our ball busting camels, I caught sight of the boys eyeballing our belongings. I desperately tried to keep track of where we were going but lost all sense of direction as each sand dune merged into one. When one of the boys decided to pull out a mobile while saying "I call my friend in Pakistan", I became alarmed. His conversation was in an unfamiliar language although I understood enough to send adrenaline through my body; 'Allah', 'Pakistan', 'English', 'Two', 'Money', 'Tonight'. As I turned to Glyn he was already staring straight at me. Both of us wanted to climb off the camels and run screaming into the desert. But experience had taught us not to react; we pretended everything was normal and continued with the journey.
As we approached a small desert town, one of the boys let us know we were about to pass through a mafia village. The little village was exactly how you imagine a 3rd world town. People live in small mud huts with straw roofs. Animals wondered the sandy streets and children carried machetes. People would often poke their
head out of their windows to see the strange foreigners passing through their town.
Eventually the local teenagers became curious, suddenly emerging from the mud huts and surrounding us. One of them shouted "Where you from? Where you from?” I replied "England!” He then proceeded to chant "England’s broken, England’s broken". As the rest of his gang joined in, he picked up a large rock and looked at me with an evil glint in his eye. Out of instinct I threw a bag of hard boiled sweets at him first. It hit him square in the face, leaving an impact mark on his forehead and sweets all over the floor. All of the kids jumped on him, beating him to the ground, stealing the sweets. A full scale riot began as our guide used the diversion to get us out safely. It was brilliant, a very lucky escape.
That evening we set up camp on top of a sand dune a few kilometres away from the town. As the sunset turned to darkness and the cold set in, the boys talked among themselves and made us a basic Indian meal. They gave the camels a large bag of
grain and chucked flea ridden blankets on the ground for our bedding. We sat around a small camp fire talking as they asked us questions about western women. It then slowly spiralled into an amazing conversation that I would like to forget!
They began to tell us what it was like growing up in Rajasthan. They told us of their hard work herding sheep from a young age to support their families. They went on to tell us they are not allowed to have sex until marriage and marriage is forced upon them. They then proceeded to tell us that teenage boys relieve themselves by having sex with sheep or young camels. It went into sickening detail creating an image in my mind that will haunt me forever. Later they bragged about how many western girls they have had sex with. Although I knew the latter part of the conversation was bullshit, they would often tell us their warped perception of the western world and how its end is near. They didn’t appear to like us very much, often throwing the occasional racist comment in our direction.
We slept at the top of a sand dune on a
flea ridden mat that looked like it had come out of a garbage bin. It was freezing cold, well below zero. All we were wearing was a T-shirt and 3/4 length trousers. I wrapped myself in the flea ridden blanket. I can’t ever remember being so cold in my life. All night bugs climbed over us, there were hundreds, I even pulled a massive beetle from under my T-shirt! The boys all slept together hugging one another, I must have slept for less than an hour thinking they would do something in the night.
All night I watched shooting stars leave trails through the darkness while listening to the camels munch their way through an entire bag of grain. For a few moments I became concerned to see people moving around in the moonlight on the next sand dune. I went for a walk to investigate. It did cross my mind these were our guides friends from Pakistan here to abduct us. Luckily they passed not even noticing our camp, or the fact I was watching them.
The sunrise was spectacular and the warmth a welcoming sensation following a freezing night. I was amazed we had made it
through alive. The guides seemed to be slightly concerned when they seen the tracks from another party. We eventually climbed on to our Camels and rode towards a town called Deshnok. There we were introduced to the boys family and invited into a mud house. They made us traditional Indian tea and used politeness to extract further cash before letting us leave.
This is India!
Tot: 0.029s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 8; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0065s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb