Friday, 22 October 2010

I tamed the camel and its toe

Hello all

So it has been a few days since my last post and I can happily report that I am settling very well into my new life as a hobo.
So what has been going on?
My last day in Jodhpur wasn't very evenful. I took a rikshaw to the zoo, which was closed, so I walked back into town in the midday heat which was a killer. I had a very cheap lunch in a non-tourist area and paid for it later and I am sure you know what I mean. Incidentally, since my first night in India that is the only time I have been ill, not sure what all of the fuss is about really.
When I got back to my hotel to check out I got talking to this German lad who said that the night before it had all kicked off at the hotel and it was a good job that I was leaving. Yogi's (of Yogi's Guesthouse) brother had turned up and robbed the takings from the restaurant till claiming it was his right because they were family and so there was a big fight. As a result they were closing the hotel for the next few days to sort it out and o I would've had to find somewhere else to stay anyway.

So I got the train from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer. Not much to report there apart from random chat at the train station with various Indians, a coach where the air-con was rubbish and I sweated alot and then waking up in my own sweat in an empty carriage because I woke up 20mins after the train has arrived.

I think Jaisalmer has been my favourite place yet. The hotel I stayed at was within the walls of the sandstone fort, overlooking the Jain temples and the staff were really cool and friendly. The fort itself is the only living fort still in India. It isn't that big but it has a lot of character and as usual lots of cows. Oh, yesterday I was looking up at the architecture etc and walked right through a fresh cow-pat, in my flips-flops!!

My first day in Jaisalmer was busy. I spent the morning watching the sun rise over the desert and then took a look around the Jain temples; amazing architecture and masonary but best of all was a sign stating that if a woman was on her period she would not be able to enter to maintain the sanctity of the place. Ha ha. Not sure how they check this though!?!

The afternoon continuing into the next morning was taken up with a camel safari, which is one of the main attractions for tourists coming to Jaisalmer. I have to say that it was excellent.
My group was made up of Mika, a japenese girl who actually met on Jodhpur the day before, Sue and Kim from Exeter, who happen to live about few miles away from my auntie, and Julian from Oxfordshire who openly admitted that since travelling in the 1990's he always uses his left hand to wipe his bum (at home too) and squats over the toilet at home Indian stylee as well - yes he was a bit wierd but I liked him. It was a good group.
We were taken about 60kms into the desert by jeep and then we travelled a further 2hrs by camel to the sand dunes. According to Sue's thermometer it was 45 degrees in the sun. I am not sure it was that hot but my Arab style head wear shielded me from the rays - great purchase and you can see how ridiculous I look on facebook.
It was my first experience of riding an animal since a donkey on Blackpool or Skegness beach when I was young (we dont talk about the other 'riding' incident in Cardiff a few years ago) and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, everyone seemed to handle the camels really well and no-one fell off. Booooo!
We got to the sand dunes about an hour before sunset and then sat there watching the sun go down with chai (which I still find too sickly) and nibbles. I have to say that at that moment it sort of hit me that that is my life now and not a holiday - quite a liberating experience.
Dinner was cooked over a camp fire followed by singing from our hosts. We then slept under the night sky on just a duvet. By the way, I can believe how much light a full moon gives off - which is not great for viewing stars.
However, I woke about 4am and again at 5:30am to find that the moon had done one and the sight that greeted me was a sky filled with hundreds of stars. I have never seen anything like it. It was like a band of light stretching across the sky and you could so easily pick out the constallations - that was a sight that I will not forget for a very long time.
The next morning we had breakfast and then rode the camels back to the jeep. It was actually a little painful this time and I could feel it down the insides of my groins and legs. They say that women do not suffer this problem, I will let you draw your own conculsions as to why this is!

I am off to Jaipuir (the pink city) today. Train leaves at 4:30pm and arrives at 4am - nice. Still, as I have said before, the sleeper trains are cool and I have my book, so it is all good. Afterall, it is not like I have anythuing else to do is it?

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