Camel Trek

Trip Start Mar 15, 2008
Trip End Jul 15, 2009

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Monday, March 23, 2009

We arrived in Jaisalmer after a 10 hour bus ride from Udaipur.  We arrived at Jodhpur at 3 am and decided to continue on rather than deal with an Indian city at that hour, a choice I later regretted as we heard great things about Jodhpur.  However, all the cities in Rajasthan are uniquely special in their own way.

Around 40 touts greeted us at the bus stop, it brought me back to Indonesia and I felt the wrath of India for the first time.  We quickly parted the touts and headed for an autorickshaw into the center of town.  Jaisalmer is a bustling city full of people, cows, goats, camels and bright saris.  A large fort sits atop a plateau overlooking the city.  The fort has lots of Jain temples inside and is quite beautiful.  All the buildings in the city are the color of the sand and have rooftop decks with views of the fort.

All the hotels are dirt cheap since they hope they can sign you up for a camel trek, anywhere from one to fourteen days.  We chose one night with an option for a second if we wanted.  Our camel guides were more than angry that we didn't take the extra night, they can be a bit pushy in these parts.

We started out with an hour jeep ride to the border, the packed us in like sardines.  We went with about 5 other people; 2 dumb English girls, a French Israeli character, an Irishman and a Japanese guy who couldn't speak much English. 

The camels were hilarious.  I could stare at them for hours and be pleasantly entertained.  We rode the camel for about 90 minutes before stopping to rest in the shade.  It turns out that there is a lot of down time on these camel treks.  We spent the next 5 hours lounging around, eating lunch and watching the camels graze.  Luckily, we brought our speakers and treated ourselves to the soothing sounds of Miles Davis, the others in our group were very happy about our speakers. 

The camels are amazing.  They graze for hours, some going very far from the group, suspiciously like they don't want to come back.  It took the guides almost an hour to round them up, but I don't think they were in much of a hurry.  Desert people seem to take their time. 

After lunch we spent another couple of hours on the camels and made our way to the camp site.  We camped in the middle of beautiful sand dunes while the camels were free to roam.  We had a nice camp fire, ate dinner, drank beer and listened to the guides sing songs.  We cut them off in favor of our music, they weren't too happy about it, but everyone else seemed pleased.  It was amazingly peaceful under the desert sky.

There was a sandstorm that night that made it difficult to sleep.  We woke up sand blasted and my sleeping bag cover was lost to the storm.  Everyone on the tour had had enough.  We all decided to go back, much to the pain of the guides, even the two dumb British girls who had paid for two nights were against staying another. One night in the desert was enough for us, it would have been nicer without the sandstorm., but I guess it made it an interesting experience. 

Overall, it was a great time.  It was fascinating to see so many camels up close.  After a couple of days back in Jaisalmer we were on our way to Nepal.

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