Wednesday, 29 May 2013


A fort. Cows are everywhere in India, even in the fort. A snap from a rooftop in Jaisalmer Fort. Another snap of the view. Sitting in the big bay window looking out over Jaisalmer. The view from our guesthouse window. Looking along the fort wall. Curtains. I sat in the window and watched day turn into night and Jaisalmer light up. The lights of Jaisalmer. An oasis. Safari. Typical India. Jeepin. Ruins in the Thor desert. A castle. Looking up a the tower. Two little dolls on a bench at an abandoned ruined castle. And wooden carvings hanging on the wall. And in the afternoon we went on a camel safari. My camel was at the back and didn't want to keep up with the others. Because they put me in control of the camel, and it didn't want to listen. In the middle of the desert. Me, on a camel, in the desert. Chai at the end of a long hot afternoon. Star jumpin on the dunes. Footsteps in the sand. A selfie on the dune. Me, watching the sun set at the end of an amazing day. Sunset. Our tickets to the Jaisalmer Museum included an audio guide. Shopping. Which one? Soda.

I fell in love with Jaisalmer the minute that I arrived, and spent three beautiful days wandering around the fort, through the desert on camels, and squeezed in the little shops looking through piles and piles of wall hangings. 

We were in high spirits when our bus stopped at Jaisalmer in the morning, but I think this was a mixture of relief that we were getting off the bus, and delirium. The buses in India aren't five star, and you can expect honking, sudden swerving or breaking, and loud locals, but this bus was something else. The roads were bumpy, and it felt like the bus had no suspension, the window wouldn't stay shut which meant we were freezing cold, with no blankets, the driver honked all night, and literally all night, and had his radio on at full volume overnight, and he was driving like a bat out of hell. For the next ten hours I drifted in and out of delirious sleep, and by six the next morning my travel buddy and I were laughing at every honk and bump, and wiggled in the bed to the sound of Hindi music.

We'd booked our accommodation in Jaisalmer and it was a luxury to be able to know where we were going and that there was a room waiting for us when we got there. And it was an incredible room. It was a big room on the wall of the fort, with an incredible bay window with an amazing view over Jaisalmer, and cushions, where I sat and watched Jaisalmer go from day to dusk to night. The curtains were thin red cotton and in the afternoon the light caught them and this beautiful dusky red glow filled the room. It was the most amazing place I've ever stayed. I honestly could have sat in the bay window for days and watched the town below.

Once we'd settled in we went for a walk around town and did a bit of normal backpacking things - booked a bus, went to the bank, did laundry. We drank mango juice and watched the sun go down. 

The next day we had a bit of a lazy morning, deserved after spending five of the past seven days sleeping on buses and trains. After lunch we met up with a local guy who took us on a quick tour of a ruined castle and an oasis, before taking us to the meeting point for our camel safari. I was really nervous because I'd never ridden a camel before and was worried about getting on and off because, you know, it's meant to be difficult. It's really not, so I'm not sure why people say that it is. We - the guide, three Brits, five camels, my travel buddy, and I - set off into the desert. After a couple of hours plodding along we arrived at the dunes and while our guides started making dinner we went for a walk. The dunes were incredible, They were totally untouched and there was nothing around for miles. For once, we were the only people around. We snapped away for a little while, before sitting down and watching the sunset over the dunes. Once the sun had set we had dinner - sitting on the ground on a sheet in the middle of the desert - before jumping back in the jeep and making our way back to the fort, driver and friend in the front chatting in Hindi, and my travel buddy and I being thrown around in the back like two coconuts. 

We spent our last day in Jaisalmer wandering around the fort and shopping for wall hangings, stopping at the soda shop for blueberry and pineapple soda - I really liked it and it was only R25 for a huge cup! We made our way back to the guesthouse in the afternoon and the incredibly kind owner let us take a nap in the room before we made our way to the bus station for our last overnight bus to Jaipur. If you're ever in Jaisalmer (and I'd highly recommend you do go!) you have to get in touch with Lala, who runs The Mud Mirror guesthouse and see if he has a room. It cost us R1800 (AUD34) for two nights, and although it is a little bit a splurge, it's worth every rupee. The owner and his son are extremely hospitable, the chef cooks incredible food, and the rooms are amazing. And it's a fort!


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