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Published: April 5th 2020
Firstly I need to apologise for the sudden absence of blogs.
On the last night that we were in Jodhpur I developed a problem with my eye and wasn't able to use my smartphone for more than a few minutes at a time. Hence no blogs for a while.
We're back in England thankfully, we managed to escape the shutdowns and flight cancelations everywhere, due to the corona virus, by the skin of our teeth.
I have now been seen by an eye consultant at our local hospital and been given the all clear to use my smartphone. All be it in small doses and am in a ' wait and see how it goes' situation
So, to back-track a few weeks.
We were dropped off at the station in Jodhpur at the ungodly hour of 4.30am to pick up the 5am sleeper train to Jaiselmer. It had been coming overnight from Delhi many hours away so there was no guarantee of what time it would actually arrive. So far all our trains had been on time so as we waited wearily on the crowded station we thought our luck would
probably be about to run out.
But no! Within ten minutes the train arrived and left promptly at 5am as scheduled.
We had been allocated sleeping berths miles away from each other and I had been a bit worried about this. But I needn't have. We spoke to the attendant and he found us two together as many people had got off along the way. He even gave us clean sheets and pillow cases! What a relief, as they were very squashed in with dusty curtains draped around each set of two berths making it feel claustrophobic. As we sped along daylight broke and people began to open the curtains and sit up giving the carriage a much airier feeling.
At each station local peddlars came on board selling various snacks to eat but we'd brought our own food and all I wanted was water but no one seemed to be selling that.
I considered jumping off and trying to buy one at a kiosk on a station we pulled up at but the thought that the train might leave without me filled me with dread. Stan was back at our berths keeping a watchful eye on our bags.
Hanging out of the door, I managed to catch the attention of someone standing around on the platform. Waved an empty water bottle , pointed to the kiosk and held out some money. She understood, took my money and came running back with a bottle of water and … some change. I hadn't expected that!
The rest of the journey went without incident and we arrived at Jaiselmer around mid day. It was a small station so we soon met up with the taxi driver holding up our name.
Within a short space of time we were pulling up on a very dusty rock strewn road. A cow came to greet us and the driver had to shoo it away before we could even open the car door. He led us to the guesthouse around the corner. The staff were waiting for us and showed us to our £3.50 a night room. Surprisingly it was quite nice, spacious, lots of storage space and a huge comfortable bed. Despite the heat outside it felt quite cool inside. What more can you ask for?
The down side, we realized later, was that there was no hot water in the shower
in the en- suite bathroom. It gets pretty cold here at night being in the middle of the desert and there was no glass in the window either just a bit of mesh to keep out insects. It turned out there was a communal hot shower upstairs so we managed with that, it seemed there were not many more guests in residence so no hassle.
The guesthouse was located a short walk from the fort that was filled with restaurants, cafes and shops selling souvenirs, trinkets and the odd general store. Before getting to the fort though we had to negotiate our way past several cows and fresh cow pats.
Once in the fort we located an optometrist and explained about the flashes in my eye, he looked in for a few seconds with the aid of a dirty looking machine and declared, no problem I just needed new sunglasses and new reading glasses and of course proceeded to tty and sell me some at a much inflated price. I declined but did take his advice and found another optician where I bought new polarized sunglasses.
Sadly they didn't help my problem too much.
day our taxi driver met us at 10.30am and took us to a lake. It was a pretty sorry looking place and we spent ten minutes hanging around rather than instantly leaving so as not to offend our driver who seemed to think we would enjoy it. I guess we are spoilt with having the Cumbrian Lake District almost on our doorstep.
Next stop was Mandir Palace, a palace that had been turned into a five star hotel. For a small fee we were allowed to explore some parts but the bit that had been converted to a hotel was strictly out of bounds.
From there we went to some sort of burial ground out in the middle of the dessert. It was where members of the royal family and other dignitaries were cremated and their ashes buried under strange looking domes. A very strange place.
By early afternoon the temperature had soared into the high 30s and our driver suggested he took us back to the guesthouse and would pick us up at 5pm for another trip into the dessert where there was a ghost town.
We readily agreed and spent a lazy afternoon in our
By 5pm it was much cooler outside and our driver returned to take us to Kulahara, an archaeological site. It was an interesting drive along narrow tarmac roads laid along the sandy dessert floor, anytime we met a vehicle coming towards us it was a gamble as to who would run off the road to let the other pass by.
We got to see the tiny houses that people live in with absolutely nothing around them only scrubland.
Kuldhara was interesting and a pleasant place to walk around without bikes zooming at you from all directions.
As the sun began to go down we were driven back to town. Our driver offered to wait until sunset but we declined as we didn't fancy the narrow roads in the dark.
That evening we returned to our favourite Nepalese restaurant within the walls of the fort.
After one more day doing our own thing in Jaiselmer it was time to return to Delhi. We had planned to get an 18 hour overnight train but decided to take a flight instead. After a seven hour journey on a sleeper train a few days before I couldn't face
The flight should have taken just one hour but, due to smog and planes stacking up waiting to land in Delhi, we ended up circling around for an extra hour. I began to wonder if we had enough fuel as we flew in ever decreasing circles.
It had rained overnight in Delhi so thankfully the streets were not so dusty, after a day and a half just killing time, mostly in a coffee shop, I was relieved to be boarding the plane back to Thailand, the land of smiles!
Footnote. If you read my last blog and thought it made no sense and was full of typo errors you will understand now that I was having eye problems. I have now edited it and added more photos.
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