The long bus journey was finally coming to a close, I had been sleeping on and off for the past 12 hours, wait what? 12 hours? The journey should have taken 12 hours but according to Google Maps, we still had another 2 hours to go. Welcome to India. My body was hurting so much from the bruises that the trip had given me and apart from still feeling rather ill, to try and ensure that I wouldn’t puke on the bus I hadn’t eaten since breakfast the previous day so my stomach was hurting of hunger. I couldn’t wait to get out of that bus. It had been so cold as my window wouldn’t shut properly the entire night and deserts get notoriously cold during night time, I was wearing about 5 layers of clothes and had my sleeping bag liner and my sleeping bag, I told you I get cold easily. It suddenly dawned on me why my booked AC ticket didn’t have the AC I was expecting, the broken windows were doing the trick just fine. As I was patiently waiting for the time to pass I decided to look out the window, I liked the look of the wild camels walking about, I could also tell that this part of India was going to be a little quieter than what I had been dealing with in the previous cities. As I was following our route on Google Maps I was actually surprised to see just how close Jaisalmer is to Pakistan.
As we were finally arriving in Jaisalmer I got into a conversation with the two girls I had met the night earlier, we decided to get a taxi together as out hotels we situated almost next to each other. Actually, I decided to try my luck and asked them whether they would mind me joining them on the desert safari tour, they very happily accepted so we swapped out phone numbers and decided to take rest for about 2 hours before the jeep would pick us up. I was really not sure whether it was a very clever thing to go on a bumpy jeep and camel ride through the desert for the remainder of the day when I probably needed to sleep, also my stomach was feeling a little bit uncomfortable but luckily that just turned out to be torn abdominal muscles. I nearly begged the guy from reception for some toast so I could finally eat and for some toilet paper so I could finally use the bathroom again after 7 hours.
Anyhow, I decided to just go and try and have a good day instead of staying in bed again, at least this time I could go with the girls. Before meeting them, I desperately needed to get some water, toothpaste ( I had dropped mine and it had exploded all over my stuff the day before, my family will know what a joy this would have been for me) and money from the ATM as I hadn’t been able to find an ATM in Udaipur. After trying 3 ATMs unsuccessfully I was finally able to withdraw some cash. After a little wander by myself, the people here in Jaisalmer seem to be a bit friendlier than the other places I have been to in India so far. I still get plenty of unwelcome attention, but I am not made to feel uncomfortable nearly all of the time.
The strangest thing happened when I was waiting for the girls in their lobby. Do you remember that I said I really wanted to talk to an astrologer whilst in India? Of course, I had met Bari but we were going to meet the day I go so ill, so to my disappointment, that didn’t work out. Out of nowhere, their hotel manager approached me and started to tell me things about myself, about my life and my personality. I got super excited and he said I could ask him anything, I won’t share what question was the one I most desired to find out about, but his answer was almost beyond accurate. I find this stuff so fascinating and I always have but back in the Netherlands, it’s not a big thing at all like it is in India.
The jeep picked us up and first drove us to a deserted village, fine for a couple of pictures but nothing interesting, then our driver stopped at a man with a different jeep. For an extra payment ( like always in India) we would be able to ride through the sand dunes. This sounded pretty fun and my imagination went straight to the Arabain knights haha! We were not completely ready for what was about to happen though. The driver told us to stand up and lean on to the railing so we could see ahead of us, little did we know that within seconds we would be going – I kid you not, 90 KM per hour through the bumpy sand dunes with nothing keeping us in but our arm strength He turned his speaker on 100% and I could swear that we had by far the most idiotic jeep driver out there. No matter how exhilarating the ride was, I couldn’t help but keep wondering about my health insurance and where the nearest GOOD hospital would be around here. Somehow we made it without falling out and without my stomach getting more upset. It was quite an experience mind you, something I have always fancied to do in Dubai but the opportunity arose here so why not. It was a shame I wasn’t able to film it because it was quite a sight but I really needed to stay out of the hospital. Even now, after we had paid extra for the sand dune safari, they wanted to get as much money out of us as possible. All of a sudden our driver stopped the jeep and a hoard of ‘traditional’ people came towards us, clearly dressed that way for the tourists, wanting us to dance with them and take a picture for money. We had to tell our driver no thank you, you can drive us back now 4 times before he would agree. ‘ So no dance? So no picture? You sure? You give them money? Why not? This kind of reoccurring behaviour in India is really starting to get on my nerves.
After that exhilarating experience, we got out of the jeep absolutely shaking, I think mainly because we needed to tense our muscles so such an extent in order to stay in the jeep. It was time to get on our camels, I was honestly a little bit anxious because again, if something were to happen, like falling off, I would be stuck here alone with a broken whatever needing to get home. Of course it didn’t stop me, there isn’t much worse than regretting not doing something.
The camel ride was actually so much fun and much more comfortable than a horse! These camels came from a more loving home than most other camel ride places around here. They break my heart. The view was so breathtaking especially when the sun was setting it was just like an oil painting with the shadows of the people and camels against the glow of the sun.
The moment the sun went down, the temperature seemed to drop by about 15 degrees. We were told to go and sit down outside and we were provided with some Chai, some snacks and music. We were supposed to be having dinner there too but it was so cold when we were sat waiting there that we decided to get the jeep back home when we heard we would have to wait another 2 hours for dinner to be served. We had about 1 hour to go in the open jeep, the three of us had taken something warm with us but it didn’t help much. Brr. We spotted the beautiful star lined sky and Rukmini was an absolute badass and climbed onto the roof of the jeep to lay down and stargaze. I would have almost considered if it hadn’t been so cold.
Something so funny happened. I asked our driver how long it would take to drive to Pakistan, his answer was as such ‘ By camel or by car?’ He was absolutely serious. I really needed to take in that it was not a moment for me to laugh and how normal it is here to ride a camel compared to in the West.
When I finally got back into my room I had a massive tidy as in my stress and sickness I had dumped everything on my bed this morning. It was time to relax a bit, watch some Eastenders, phone my boyfriend and get some sleep. I am in a desperate need for the thickest moisturizer available though, my skin was already rather dry but since getting so dehydrated after being ill, my skin was so scaley, itchy and sore but after having seen most shops in India, I think I will need to wait until I can reach a Mumbai mall at the end of my trip I’m afraid. Just dreaming about slathering myself in Lush’s Lemony flutter in the meantime.