Jaisalmer and the thar desert, India
Well, I can check camel riding off of my list of things to try! My last night in Johdpur (or so I thought) I met a really awesome group of travelers - an English guy, a Danish girl, and an Ozzie girl, and we went for dinner the next night, the night I was supposed to catch a train to Jaisalmer. They convinced me to come with them the next day in their car, with a driver, and of course I said yes! After an early start we had a beautiful drive to Jaisalmer through the Thar Desert. We arrived, checked out a few hotels, and booked our two day camel safari.
We left for the safari the next day. We drove by jeep to the edge of the desert, where, after a village tour by some village children who ran out to meet us, we met our camels and our guides. We set off on the camels into the desert – very exciting for awhile, and then very uncomfortable!! LaShanté, my camel, liked to go behind all the other camels and walk into the fumes created by them (camels are very gassy animals!) It was a fun day though, and we arrived at some beautiful sand dunes for the night. After playing and rolling around in the sand dunes (and getting sand pretty much everywhere possible) we had a dinner of veg and chapatti and were then told by our head guide that it was time for sing song! The guides sang a Rajasthani song for us, and then told us they’d sing us an English song – the burst into a slightly mangled rendition of Old McDonald, which went straight into Frere Jacque, and then into Country Roads!
We were all pretty tired so we went to bed early. We slept out in the open on some blankets, and it was a very cold night, but it was a full moon and the stars were beautiful. We woke bright and early (and freezing!) in the morning to toast and eggs and then set off for another day on the camels! It was a long, hot one, but we got to see more amazing desert scenery. We were picked up at the end of the day by a jeep and came back into town, showered off the camel smell and sand, and went to dinner.
Yesterday we wandered around the fort – it’s built above the new part of the town and looks like a giant sand castle. Inside there are still shops and people living there. I said goodbye to my new friends and waited around for the long trip to Jaipur by overnight train, and then the longer trip (20 hours!) to Mumbai. The trip was relatively uneventful...although a man pretending to help me with my bags actually used the opportunity to grab my chest. I yelled at him but was too startled to hit him...wish I had! Oh India..
Made it to Bombay this morning. I'm staying in the Salvation Army guesthouse, the cheapest place in Bombay, which is ironically right across the street from the Taj hotel, the most expensive place in Bombay!
Pictures to come...internet connection is too slow here...