Sunday, 24 March 2013

Jaisalmer: The Golden City

Upon arrival, we were hounded by rickshaw drivers (standard) when one guy caught our attention with an offer of a ride for 20 rupees..despite everyone else demanding 100. Finding the prospect of not getting ripped off quite unnerving, we chose to stick with what we know and paid triple...After all, in India if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

We got to Paradise Hotel, which was suitably named as for the first time in 4 weeks we had a hot shower!! It was situated within the fort which, unlike the fort in Jodhpur, is a fully functioning community and not just a museum. A quick nap later and we were ready to explore. Jaisalmer seems to be an exception to the standard Indian city; there was a severe lack of rubbish and defecate lining the streets, making it a pleasant experience to walk around.

Inside the fort

Crazy Kidz

Sociable Michael was due to meet up with some more lovely ladies: Ailsa from Canada and Aifric from Ireland. We were starting to question their existence when their bus was three hours late but they finally rocked up and we all booked onto a three day camel trek.

DAY 1: Excitement

We were all very excited to get ourselves out to the desert and get onto some camels. When we first got there we were ambushed by huge groups of children wanting sweets, school pens and our scarves. To be honest, they wanted anything and everything we had. Most unusual request: Imys half used bottle of Wilko's sun cream. 

Wishing they would fit in her suitcase

The camels:

Radgey - as nicknamed by Imy due to his psychotic tendencies and foaming mouth.

Johnny - the perfect prince charming for princess Kat.

Simon - a closet homosexual that Ailsa struggled to control.

Raj - a strapping chap that Michael fears has been sent to the chophouse.

Kalu - the greediest camel to ever walk the Indian desert, much to Aifric's dismay.

Ramel - the most antisocial camel who liked to have Maria to himself!

Johnny and Simon

Imy swapped onto Johnny second day...couldn't handle Radgey

Within half an hour of being positioned atop our respective camels, we all started to question why we opted to do this for three days and two nights! Lunch was a welcome break and with just a fire and 2 pots Abdullah, our camel man, rustled up some of the tastiest Indian food we've had so far. 

Getting back on the camels was an effort for our already aching behinds, but when we reached our destination for the night, watching the sun set over the sand dunes made it all worthwhile! One campfire and a couple of beers later, we bedded down to sleep under the brightest stars we've ever seen.

Desert sunset

DAY 2: Regret

Fresh fruit and boiled eggs for breakfast were a slight distraction from the prospect of another three hours straddling a camel's hump. We all manned up to the challenge and got back on like the badass camel trekkers that we are. 

Pulling up for a break in a tiny village, where the houses were made from cow poo and straw, we stretched out our aching limbs in a shack filled with flies and freshly shorn wool. Lush.
After a few minutes we started to wonder why we had been abandoned here and hunted down Abdullah, Ali and Salem (the cutest 11 year old we ever met). We found them enjoying a nice cup of chai in Salem's crib and were lucky enough to be invited in to see the inside of the house.


We stopped for the camels to get some water and they had to draw the water up from the well. So Michael and Kat stepped up and helped. While this was going on Aifric was shat on by a bird, adding to her woes, and Imy ripped her hareems by sitting down (no more McDonalds for her). 

Drawing water for the camels

On the final leg of the day's trek we all got more adventurous and started trotting along, getting some serious camel speed up. The brief moments that we were mid air were a lovely break for our bruised bottoms. 

Setting up camp for the second time, we started to get a little nostalgic about our time in the desert and the initial regret of choosing two nights subsided into happy memories as we played cards by moonlight.

Act natural

DAY 3: Relief

Forfeiting our free lunch, we asked to get Picked up as early as possible. It's not that we don't feel extremely privileged to have been on a three day camel trek, but there's a limit to the bashing that one's bottom can take. We were slightly delayed when Ailsa saw a goat on its own, and we quote, 'Honey where's your family? Guys we can't leave it without any friends'. The poor distressed goat. 

The poor distressed goat

While waiting for our car in the blistering heat a stray dog came up to Ailsa and being the precious honey that she is, she gave it the last of our water.. Unfortunatly Maria nearly died from dehydration but at least the stray dog was well watered.

The well-watered dog

Next stop: Jaipur (the pink city).

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