Trip Start Sep 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 10, 2012

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Where I stayed
Deepak Rest House Jaisalmer
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Exploring the Fort

Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

 Arrive at the luxurious Deepak Hotel midday.  It's not really luxurious, but after our 18 hr train journey, believe me this is Shangri La!  Friendly, comfortable and clean - pure luxury.  Our hotel is within the walls of the fort.  It is the only fort in the world that is still inhabited, hence it has been referred to as a living museum.  Building began in 1156 and took 100 yrs to complete.  It has been built from sandstone and, considering it's age, is in remarkable condition.  We were unable to go inside the royal palaces as they, along with a couple of other buildings, are having a little bit of restoration.  I cannot describe and do justice to the intricate lattice work that adorns every building.  The common phrase among our group was "how the f... did they do that"?  It is positively jaw dropping.  The inhabitants of Jaisalmer became very rich from the merchants who stopped off or paid for protection along the silk route.  I do believe they also did their fair share of looting.  There is such a lot of history to this place, and it really does have the feel of a frontier town.  I would suggest that you google it if you want to see and learn more.   After a short orientation walk we headed back to the Deepak and their rooftop restaurant.  We finally get to enjoy a Kingfisher beer which is about as good as it gets as we enjoyed sweeping views of the city and watched the sun go down.
 Sept 5th

 This morning we have a local guide to take us to a few of the more important buildings and give us more of the history of Jaisalmer.  Dora the explorer (aka Doris) got into a bit of strife with the Holy one in the Jain Temple.  She opened a door that she shouldn't have done, because she had seen a good photo opportunity of her looking as though she was behind bars.  The Holy one set off towards Doris with the speed of lightning, yanked the door open and gave her the evil eye.  Doris apologised to the Holy one, but did point out that there was no "KEEP OUT " sign.  I think if he had had his way she would have stayed behind bars!
After a bit of lunch some of us decided to go for a swim at the Royal Palace Hotel.  I'll let Doris tell you about that.
:  If you died and went to heaven and God said to you, "right you've had a go at being a human being, this time you have to be an animal, any requests?"  I would strongly recommend as your 1st choice to be a cow in a Hindu city.  They are sacred, and treated with great reverence.  To be honest, I've not seen them do anything special - except piss and shit wherever they want, and no-one seems to mind!   If they decide to have a lie down in the middle of one of the narrow alleyways of the fort, then you just have to climb over them.  The owners milk them in the morning then take them to the main square and let them go.  Everybody else feeds them!   Apparently it's good Karma to feed the cows - yeah right - sounds like a great deal if you are the farmer.  He doesn't have to put up with them walking into his house and shitting everywhere!   Fred had a bit of an encounter with a cow, he tried the Crocodile Dundee approach - it didn't work, he just had to wait till it decided to move.
  I would now like to share this top ten tip with you.  Never walk along staring up at the buildings in a Hindu city no matter how fabulous they are.  Always stop, then take a good look.  If you don't follow this advice there is a 100% chance that you will be caked in cow plop 10 mins into your walk.

 Do I have a flashing beacon on my head that says 'pick me', 'pick me'?  Every time we  walk through the Fort, the traders pick me out.  "Please madam would you come with me and I will show you the most precious bedspread, very cheap, you don't have to buy, you just look".  Me: "Not today".  Trader "What time tomorrow?  I'll be waiting for you".  Stupid me, I just kept saying not now.   My 'not now' finally arrived on the eve of Wed 5th.  Doris wanted to buy a leather bag she'd seen earlier.  I was again stopped by 3 traders who I had made these empty promises to.   I thought by the time we made our way back to the hotel it would be in the cloak of darkness, and I could slip by without being noticed.  No such luck!   They were laying in wait, and I had to honour my promises.  Doris & I had to sit through 3 showings of most precious bedspreads and quilts, even though I assured them that we would not be buying anything.  I had almost lost the will to live by the time we had sat through the 3rd one.  At the end of each showing when we stood up to go, they said "well at least you can buy some cushion covers".  They never give up.  However I will say, that when they finally accept that you are not going to buy, they take it well and most times with humour.
 Some good sales pitches: Hello lady let me help you spend your money. 
 Hello lady come over here and give me the chance to rip you off.  I like that one.
 Sept 6th.
  Some of our touring party have become roof dwellers.  The staff at the Deepak kit them out with blankets & cushions so that they can sleep up there and enjoy the lovely cool evening breezes.  Fred & I would love to be that adventurous, but alas, Fred has to visit the bathroom a couple of times a night, and quite often he gets disorientated.  I would not be able to sleep a wink, as I would be worried that he might accidentally waz on someone, or wander off over the rooftop edge in search of the toilet door.
  After breakfast we headed off with DJ for a walk to the lake, which is also the town's reservoir.  It is also home to the ugliest, biggest, gummiest catfish I have ever seen.  There are thousands of them, it's no wonder they are so big - they are fed loaves of bread by everyone who visits the lake!
  After lunch we set off to the Thar Dessert for a camel safari.   We were all really looking forward to riding a camel and camping out.  I would just like to mention that we have a very good tour group, every one has gelled very quickly, you can always tell when people are getting along, as they feel comfortable taking the rip when you do something wrong.  eg: Doris has paid heavily for her Dora the Explorer escapade.  
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Jaisalmer sound like an interesting place to visit.

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I love the Precious Quilts story. Optimistic sellers! Did they think they would fit in your luggage?

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