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Published: February 21st 2008
Jaisalmer, beautiful fully romantic city. Amazing fort, amazing views, and amazingly tiring camel safari market!
I arrived here about 6 days ago now, after a night choking in new Jodhpur (the air in New Jodhpur is extremely polluted) and a few hours on the train. Again the train ride was an adventure, not kowing if I was on the right train until about 3 hours later... I boarded in the dark, everybody was sleeping my berth was taken, so I really had no idea if I was in the right train... Mostly military people, we are close to the Pakistan border and we went by many army vehicles, it was really a strange experience, this military atmosphere...
Arriving in Jaisalmer, I met an Eglishman, Craig, who became my travelling partner in the desert. Very pleasant gentleman, we had a great time right away getting kicked out of a hotel after refusing to take their camel safari... So this is Jaisalmer. A place where the smiles can turn into nasty faces and prices triple if you do ot take the right camel safari...
But we laughed and found another hotel and booked our own safari for the next day. 3 days 2 nights, "no hurry no worry no woman no cry no chapati no chai". And so the next day we were a group of 6 (the second night there was only 3 of us) and we headed for the desert. After a crowded bumpy jeep ride, we finally got to a very ugly starting point and soon met our camels: grumpy stubborn huge Simon for our Maharaja Craig, hungry easy going tall Jillian for the Australian girl Bel, and dark small young cool Mr Bean, alias Kaloo, for the "Indian girl Catherine". Thank God, the landscape only got better, and soon we were in hot dry desert, travelling with Mr Khan and Raju, our camel drivers that were walking next to us.
The first day I wasn't too sure if I was bored to death or if I was enjoying it. My bum wasn't too sore, but it was a very slow pace, no stirring involve as Maharajah Craig was leading our camels who were all tied together, but after a couple of hours we stopped for lunch and it was amazing to eat freshly baked chapati, veggies and chai. We rested under a tree for hours it was so hot in the sun, but nice in the shade, some Korean tourists were there too and the camel drivers were talking just about every language includig Korean. Later we jumped back on the camels and went to some beautiful sand dunes, which were going to be our beds for the night after more chai, more chapati, more good food.
The next day was better, our group got smaller, and I started getting into the rythm of camel riding in the desert sun. Jillian behind me had bells and soon I found myself in the zone, listening to the bells and forgetting time and place.
The last evening was the most magical, with more sand dunes, amazing sun set, only 5 of us, amazing food, good conversation with the camel drivers, and the best part: Mr Khan singing Rajasthani songs by the camp fire while Raju was cooking an amazing cake, thanks to Craig who bought it for his "harem"... With the almost full moon, I went to bed, on the sand dunes, with the cool desert breeze blowing into my dirty face. Magical.
The last morning I woke up to a starry sky, saw a couple shooting stars, sunrise, chai in bed...
And more camel riding, more resting, more good food and more fun. By then, I was totally into the desert rythm and could have stayed many more days. I rode bare back for a couple meters and a good laugh (the problem is when the camel gets up, you have to make sure you don't fall forward...). Then we said good bye to Raju, Jillian, Simon, and Mr Bean and we jumped in an already overcrowded jeep, with Mr Khan (who has amazing golden brown eyes), which very obviously didn't please the tourists that were already in there, and all 12 of us made it back to Jaisalmer where the shower was delightful...
My two companions left the next day, and I found myself alone for... not very long! I seem to be making a new friend every 5 minutes since I am alone again! I am invited for chai by many locals, I am about to have a chai overdose! INdian are generally very curious, and they love to talk and love to ask where you are from. I had great times with some of them just exchanging thoughts and information about our different cultures. Many speak French too and I hear a lot of French tourists in the streets. Of course some INdians are very smart with tourists, and at times we hear things such as "can I have the opportunity to rip you off" or "come in my shop, short cut to spending your money", but mostly it is funny, and all good, and it is just the way it is and we say goodbye with a smile.
So much more to say but I don't want to spend all my time on the computer...
Oh! I forgot to mention the first evening in Jaisalmer. There was a wedding. Music and dance in the streets, everybody dressed like in the fairy tales, it was absolutely magical one of those unforgettable moments.
I have to go, I will try to put some photos first though, tonight I go for supper with a young couple from Quebec that I met yesterday. Tomorrow I am on my way to Pushkar. Time flies.
I said before how it is amazing that you can find everything in India. I lied... I yet have to find a computer with a good keyboard! Sorry for the typos!!!
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