Exploring Aladdin's castle!

Trip Start Jan 22, 2011
Trip End Feb 24, 2011

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The bunk I had was nice and I was quite secluded. Opposite me were two rows of 3 bunks.  This is called 3AC as it is an air con cabin with 3 bunks on either side.  As I was on the window side there were only two bunks.  Good choice hey.  

I had a big blanket and did not hesitate to use it.  I was very comfortable and slept well until 11:30 when all of a sudden a huge load of people came aboard!  People shouting and yelling, I even had 3 or 4 people open my curtain to check the seat number.  Each time I calmly pointed out that the number was outside the curtain on the side.  I'm glad I had all my bags nicely placed and balance on my bunk and they all fit perfectly.  I soon fell asleep again, then the same happened again at 4:10am.  Bloody hell!  I should have written the number on a piece of paper and stuck it on t the curtain.  Arh that's an idea for next time.  I was wide awake for about 20 minutes! I then dozed off again until 7:00 when I gave up and did some more reading.  For the next 5 hrs I read, wrote my journal, played games and napped.  Time went really quickly. Before I knew it we were in Jaisalmer.  Thank god I made it without my stomach playing up!  

I leapt outside and to my disappointment only a few people approached me with their hotel recommendations.  I was expecting a battle, but nothing!  I found the sign for my guest house and followed the guy and about 4 others to the hostel.  I met a French couple and two German guys and we were all staying in the same place.  First impressions of Jaisalmer were good it was small and very quiet.  Nice!  We passed the main fort which remarkably resembles a sand castle on a hill.  It is the main attraction of this place and I was looking forward to expiring its nooks and crannies.  It was sunny and warm too, and I could feel that I'd like this place. 

We arrived at the guest house and were all directed straight to the roof and were given a cup of coffee each.  Wow! The views were unbelievable and the roof top was lovely too with large cushioned areas overlooking the amazing red fort.  I said farewell to the people I had just met, and checked into my room.  It was perfect! 2 Pound more expensive than the last place but ten times better!  I have a lovely double bed, a clean and good looking Bathroom, all set in lovely sandstone.  It was just my cup a tea.  Feeling very satisfied I went up to the rooftop restaurant and ordered some lunch, about time I was starving!  I was super happy to find wifi working as well. Bonus!  I emailed and had a good feed of dhal, rice and roti!  I could have quite easily stayed on the roof all day, but I was dying to go explore the fort

I set off through the narrow lanes towards the two main gates of the fort.  The fort is pretty big and with this sunlight there is a constant orange glow about the city.  I passed a lot of cows and then came scores of beggars.  I passed through them all, in the meantime helping a father and his son lift a heavy mattress.  It was nice to help and they were very happy.  The fort is the oldest occupied fort in the world and it was amazing walking though the tiny alleys looking at the arts and crafts on sale. In particular the textiles on display were magnificent; it was really something else wandering the streets.  It really did feel like a scene from Aladdin.  I also enjoyed the smells and aromas from the food stalls; lots of colors, and a variety of foods.  There were not many tourists around and it felt great, I had the place to myself.  Well, if I did see someone I could easily find another alley to explore.  I climbed a huge set of stairs and came to a roof top restaurant. Wow what a view.  I ordered a coffee and enjoy solitude in the sun.  It was lovely!

Ready to explore further, I went in search of the palace museum, mainly because it was the highest point in the fort and I wanted to get some photos.  On the way I met some of the people who I checked into the guest house with and they told me about a camel trip into the desert they had just booked.  I chatted with them for a while about it.  It sounded good, so I guess I'll book a tour with them later as well. 

The palace museum was better than expected, it's full of tiny nooks and crannies to explore, and as I got higher the views from the windows over the fort looked incredible.  I took my time, and took a lot of pictures.  Once on top I was amazed with the 360 view all around.  I met some Koreans on top, or should I say they spotted my chong-Ju T-shirt.  So I had a chat with them for a while.  They were in a huge group tour of 11 people, and they were very noisy, students from a uni I've never heard of before.  Anyway, it took me about 15 mins to find my way out of the museum, it was like a maze.  Bloody hell!  

I ran over to the tour place recommended by the other guys and got chatting to some people who had just got back from the tour, and they loved it! So I went in and booked a 2 day 2 night tour for about 20 pounds.  It sounds good!  Can't wait!

Stressed about what I was going to wear on this bloody safari, I went to the first stall that sold loose fitting pants scarves and tops that I saw.  The man inside was very friendly and I ended up trying on a lots of stuff.  I found a nice scarf which I planned to put around my head to block out the sun, a loose pair of green pants and a nice baggy red top.  Arh lovely! Just my style. The man in the shop even tried to sell me a turban, which I actually tried on and liked.  Really comfortable! Wow! All kitted out and ready to go (minus the turban I must add) I left the shop feeling ready for the desert. I walked down the street and grabbed a few photos of the sunset before finding my way back to the guest house. Once back I met up with some of the other people who I checked in with, they invited me to dinner but I was very tired and was looking forward to my nice bed.  Instead I went up to the roof top restaurant and ordered some more dhal and rice.  I sat on the roof enjoying the views over the fort and did some emailing.  It really was nice just relaxing on the roof.  I'm really gonna get used to this roof top culture.

I enjoyed the hot shower and had a great night’s sleep.  It was very quiet, no dogs, babies or spitting men.
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