Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jaisalmer - days 4, 5 & 6

Coming close to Jaisalmer one notices a heavy military presence - tanks, trucks and you can even hear the occasional gun practise shots - but nothing to be afraid of although the long convoys do make you a bit late.

When you get close enough you will see the fort - an imposing structure on the main hill of the city. An amazing sight in the scorching afternoon sun (imagine at night when beautifully lit up!!).

Just time to deposit our backpacks in the room and we ventured out up to the fort city which is a max ten minute walk up hill (if staying in a hotel outside of the fort which we strongly suggest you do! Check out the lonely planet and you find all the reasons why to make this choice!). Tuk tuks will be calling at you to hitch a ride - don't it's nice on foot and not far plus usually they will want to take you to shops to get commission. The fort is littered with these small shops but a smile and a no thank you will do.

The next day we got a guide to show us around the fort - there is no fixed payment to these guides but it's good to get familiar with this desert city. Again remember shops entered with guides equals to higher prices due to commission!!

That afternoon we left to the desert resort in the desert for our camel safari and that's when the fun started. On arrival they just showed us to our camels (mine was Rajja) and with the help of Patan the owner we were on our way deep in the desert to experience sunset - an unforgettable experience only matched by sunrise in the desert which when given the option to experience we immediately grasped.

Honestly at first it was a bit scary having to sleep in the desert on a makeshift bed and some blankets practically in the middle of nowhere - but we did it and so glad we did. I never saw so many stars in my life and shooting stars were just one common occurrence! Trying to sleep wasn't so easy as unfortunately we had some wind but when you drift into a nice nap you have the feeling of not being on your own. The early morning light actually reveals that we weren't alone as the sand around us was totally littered with footsteps - goats, rats, dogs, beetles just to name the ones I managed to recognise.

But all this is then totally engulfed by the beauty of sunrise - these people might look different or missing comforts, but I felt they are so rich, they are surrounded by nature and each morning they are blessed by all this immense beauty.

After returning to Jaisalmer and still haven't showered as yet, we wondered in the Market and also tasted some great samosas & sweets Ladoo small yellow milk balls. Yes you have to be careful from where to eat street food in India, but if the place is packed with locals then it's a good chance all will be fine.

The eve was a nice dinner with some Spanish friends we met on the way. After dinner we investigated why they were letting off fireworks in the street and from where ultra loud Punjabi music was coming. It was a wedding! Yes they invited us to join the frenetic dancing and after half an hour of jumping around and feeling knackered we decided to call it a night. This was one incredible thing about India - hospitality!

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