Elephants? Or Camels??

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Sunday, May 8, 2011

What's worse: riding an elephant or riding a camel??? Depends who you ask! Jay will say elephant...but, to me, nothing is worse than a camel!! Here's how our day went:

Beautiful breakfast in the garden, enjoyed the weather, relaxed for most of the afternoon. Watched some lizards and frogs playing...with NO IDEA what was to hit next!! Our ride picked us up at 3pm...we gasped when we saw the open air jeep...no windows or doors...which means...NO A/C! Oh well...the breeze will keep us cool enough during the HOUR and a HALF drive. Well...we can admit that we are now more intelligent, after learning the hard way! THERE IS NO "BREEZE" IN PLUS 45 WEATHER!! The wind is SO hot that I think it makes it worse. About ten minutes into the drive, Jay's eyes were bright red because they were so hot from the air...haha. I told you about our drive to the Taj Mahal in a previous blog, and the challenges with driving in India. Now, combine that with pot holes that can't even be called pot holes...more like chunks of road missing...a non-divided highway, 45 degree sun, in a jeep with no doors or windows!! I thought I was going to fly out of the jeep when we hit some of the bumps!! By the time we arrived, an hour and a half later, we were soaked! Seriously soaked! It was as if we had jumped in a swimming pool. I didn't think it was possible to sweat that much. So our driver lets us out of the jeep, we waddle away (with the feeling of a two year old who has peed his pants), up a little road into a market area of town to look at some temples. The driver didn't come with us. These temples are some of the oldest in the world. No sooner than taking one step into the market, we had a little old lady grabbing us, begging for money, a teenager trying to be our tour guide for a small fee, and two young boys asking for food and water!! All at the same time. You can imagine how we feel after our exciting jeep ride...and then to have all these people bombarding us with begging...we knew better than to give in to any of them. It sucks, it really does because we WANT to give the boys food, we really do...but you just can't. You'd end up feeding half of the town if you did. So we push past them, with only our tour guide coming all the way with us...even though we told him NO thanks. haha. We started to go into one of the temples but soon gave up...defeated by the crowds and the people. Looking from the outside was good enough for us...so we trekked back to the jeep through the garbage and the beggars.

Next stop...camel rides. Finally. This is going to be GREAT! We drive past some sand dunes, into the middle of nowhere! Only the odd house...if you can call it a house. More like a cement structure with half of a roof. We get chased by crazy dogs ready to kill, and stop in the middle of a road, beside some kids playing by the well. We had to wait for our camels to arrive. Okay..not sure why we couldn't just drive "to" the camels. So we are waiting, watching the kids...who look like they have never had a bath before in their lives, playing and throwing rocks at the poor dogs. I don't know if they have parents, if they go to school, or even if they get to eat at least one meal everyday. The kids worked their way over to our jeep...curiosity got the better of them. They couldn't speak English...so we tried to communicate with them the best we could.

So up ride our camels...are you kidding? Flashback to our Boracay sunset sailboat trip...where we had children drivers and almost lost our lives. The camel drivers were two kids...go figure! One was about 14, the other maybe 10...haha. I hope our "sunset camel safari" doesn't turn into the Philippines "sunset sail boat adventure"!! Here we go! I can't believe that there are people who go on four day camel safaris...I was ready to get off in 10 minutes! haha. The camel sits down, so that you can get on...which you think is great...until he goes to stand up and you have to hold on for dear life as you are looking straight down at the ground and sitting about 10 feet in the air!! Of course, I didn't fit into the saddle, it was too big of a seat and the stir-ups were too long for my feet, so I had no way to support myself! It didn't take me long to figure out that if I put my water bottle in the seat with me, it held me in more securely...but then I couldn't drink my water!

The first thing my driver, the older of the two, says is, "Did you bring water?"...I'm thinking, wow, this kid is concerned for my health, making sure I have water with me. So I answer, innocently, "Yup". He says, " Good. Give me some." Umm...what? "Give me some of your water. I need a drink". Honestly, I thought about just giving him the whole bottle and going without water, but then logic set in. I probably need the water more than he does...and I'm DEFINITELY not sharing my water bottle with him! It's the first time in all of my travels, that I didn't give in. I said NO. I've never said No like that before...usually I just suck it up and I would have handed it over...but no way. Not this time! Wrong answer...haha. He got mad. Then he wouldn't talk after that. And I'm thinking...great...I just made the "kid" who is the only one who can save us, angry. He could drop us off in the middle of the desert if he wanted too! lol.

We continued on our ride, over sand dunes, into the sunset. We made one stop at the kid's uncle's house...where some other kids (no adults) offered us some masala tea. Nope...no thanks. The Don'ts sign at the gardens in Jodhpur said not to take any offers from locals...lol. More so, there was no way that we were going to drink their water!! I know what happens when you do that! haha. We continued on our way...we saw a desert lizard, some groundhog things, deer, lots of different birds, bulls, and tons of goats. They brought us to a huge sand dune, where we stopped to watch the sunset for a bit. It was magnificent! the best sunset we have ever seen!! The plants in the desert were spectacular...although we weren't sure if any were poisonous as our legs dragged through them...lol. Seeing the way people live, in the middle of the desert, is both interesting and sad. So far from civilization...what do they eat? how do they get their food? They can't grow it...and they don't have motorized vehicles...which means they must ride camels into town. I can't imagine. The houses are one room cement, or mud, structures with only half of it sheltered with a roof! I don't understand it...but it was awesome to see and experience! We returned to our jeep, which was still being occupied by the other three kids, and continued on the journey back to the guesthouse...but in the dark this time!!
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