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Jaisalmer and the Thar Desert (20 March)

camels are not my friends

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Day 8- 20th Sunday - Jaisalmer overnight

We woke early, well, to be honest, I woke early, and headed up to the rooftop. The lovely man who runs the restaurant was there and got me hot water for my nifty travel espresso machine. He watched me make a coffee ( as most have been intrigued) and then presented an additional cup for me to make him one. The only coffee we've seen here is Nescafé Blend 43! He tastes it, and although his English is very limited he tells me, in a round about way, it's strong and good.

The girls arrive and we eat. Curry and coffee is now totally normal for breakfast. We head into the streets. Jaisalmer is known as the golden city, and the stone they use is a beautiful golden colour. The architecture changes from town to town, and again I'm in love with the buildings before me.

We make our way past cows and people to get to an old historical haveli. It is magical- so much detail and a glimpse into how the higher caste lived.

We make our way to the leather shop where Nevermind obtain their leather bags from. The family business employs everyone, even grandma does the embroidery on some bags! They are friendly and welcoming. We all go slightly nuts with purchases! It is a hot day, and we try hard to find shade. Cow dung and heat are not a good mix......and there's plenty of each!

Each house, well almost each house, has a colourful Ganesh ( Hindu god with an elephant as a face) painted outside on the wall, with dates. When someone's children get married, they paint the Ganesh a week before, then put the date of the wedding, or if you have multiple children, weddings! I was a bit concerned one house had a high divorce rate, until the story was clarified!

We make our way up to the fort, and again, it doesn't disappoint! These buildings are indescribable and I can't imagine how they were built!
We meander the thin alleys and find a Tibetan rooftop restaurant. Food eaten, we head back to the hotel for a rest before our big safari.

Around 4pm we head off to the Thar Desert for a camel ride, dinner and dancing. On the way we see another bus with passengers on the roof. It is crazy to see, but for us, now a normal sight. Once the seats are full, people stand up in the aisles. Once that's full, they also lay is the luggage racks ( ie above your head) then the unlucky ones just sit on the roof! They can be on very long journeys, and just sit there! We take photos from our bus, ( a little 7 seater, much like an econovan) and they laugh and smile at us!

We get to the camp, and see the camels. Now I've never ridden one before and they all look amazingly gorgeous. We have chai and then set off. Now, mine gets up, I feel terrified. It's so high, and I'm not at all feeling ok about this! I ask to climb off....well that doesn't happen until he gets down first! I then climbed onto the chariot! Like a trailer, but small, with Anna. Much better!

The desert is beautiful- much like our sand dunes except we are nowhere near water, and the locals don't like that it is only 50kms from the Pakistani border! The Indians don't like the Pakistanis- so much so that they have wind farms near the border, and they power floodlights that light up the border at night to stop them running into India! I can now understand the rivalry in cricket between them!

We watch the sunset and head back to the camp. Amazing buildings built of cow dung, with a floor or compressed cow dung. It is just like mud brick houses. A band starts playing traditional music, and they have a girl / lady dancing. She perfects the 'resting bitch face' and we set about trying to make her smile. We weren't very successful, but occasionally she flashes one, probably to stop us smiling crazily at her! We take to the dance floor, by now we've perfected the Bollywood style, mixed with some thigh slapping, and we all imagine we are quite good. The videos show otherwise!

It is yet another late night, and we head off into the night to the hotel. Now cows on the road at night are a whole new concept of terror!

Posted by Jochester71 20:21 Archived in India

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