Sore thighs

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

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Under the stars

Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Thursday, February 10, 2011

I woke up late today. Oops, I guess I Slept too well last night. So I had to run to the meeting point which was deep into the fort, say about a 15 minute walk away. Not to worry though, I got there in one piece, a bit sweaty but who cares right?  I met the rest of the group and together we had a nice breakie on the roof top.  In total there were 8 people on our tour, but two were planning on leaving after the first night.  It was of nice mix of people 3 couples and two people traveling alone, including me.  We talked a while getting to know each other, you know the usual intros and talk about travel. You really get to meet some interesting people when you're traveling.  What I've notice about India is that the backpackers are all so young, or is that just me being old? In Oz we met mostly older people, but here, mostly young! Oh well.  I have a nice group so this tour should be fun.  

We set off in the jeep speeding at a crazy speed past cows, goats and sheep, almost colliding with another jeep at a tricky corner. I just kept my eyes closed! The road out into the desert was long and straight!  Am I in Australia again I thought. We eventually pulled over, not too soon though, as I was feeling rather quirky, and we stopped at a small clearing at the side of the road.  It was here we met our guides and camels.  

The camels were huge, but tame enough and all I could think at that moment was how painful it was going to be riding them for 2.5 days.  Getting on was funny, you could hear screams and shouts from everyone as the camel quickly shot up.  Upright, they stand very tall and I wouldn't like to fall down from up there.  Anyway once ready we set off.  

It was now about 10 am and the sun was becoming to get hot, but I took the opportunity to top up my tan and passed on wearing my hat and safari scarf.  Instead I slapped on some sun cream and enjoyed the slow ride out through the sandy scrub land.  The first hour or so was great, it was comfortable and very relaxing, but as the sun got hotter and the ride longer, I began to feel the pain, especially on my inner thighs.  Thank god we stopped after two hours and had a little look around a small local village.  It was nice but the kids kept pestering us for money, pens and anything loose on our bags and bodies.  Some kids tried to take off my watch and another wanted the sun cream showing from my side pocket.  I pulled away and quickly put them both safely in my bag OUT OF SIGHT!  We all laughed and were glad when we were on our way.  The scenery was much the same, that being low lying bush, trees, and sand!  It was nice enough, but I was keen to get to the dunes.  40 minutes later we stopped for lunch under some shady trees.  We were all so relieved to get off the camels. It was getting really  painful.  

Lunch was great.  We were treated to some lovely local dishes which the guides cooked up on a camp fire in the sand.  We stayed there under the trees for about 3 hrs talking to each other and avoiding the strong lunchtime sun.  It was nice getting to know everyone. There were three of us who were traveling alone so we got together pretty fast as the couples kind of kept themselves to themselves.  Once back on the camels we had a about an hour ride further out into the desert before taking a break at another small village, now this was beginning to annoy me.  I just wanted to get to the dunes and we kept stopping at villages, oh well some of the other people in the group seemed to like it though.

We eventually arrived at the dunes and wow they were wonderful and way bigger than I expected. The Thar Desert only has a few dunes, as most of it is just dusty shrub land.  Another thing about this desert is that it is littered with wind turbines, which is kind of annoying as you are never too far away from an access road or a settlement.  Anyway the sun was beginning to set now and the sky looked great.  The Croatian guy and myself took off our shoes and loaded with our cameras hit the dunes unfortunately, no sand boarding here. In the distance a noisy group of Koreans were playing silly games which disturbed the peace and tranquility of the place, but we ignored them and managed to found a nice spot to sat down and relax to enjoy the sunset.  I got some stunning photos! 

That evening the guide cooked up some local cuisine and we all sat around a warm camp fire eating, talking and playing games.  The food was good, but we couldn't see what we were eating ha-ha.  The guides told stories and sang songs for us.  Very nice indeed, and funny.  

It was nice getting to know all the other people, some of which have been traveling for a long time to some exotic destinations while other like me have just started.  Two weeks in India seems a joke compared to what these guys were doing.  The Croatian guy has traveled to South America on numerous occasions and has really got me interested in going there soon.  That's the trouble with travel you meet others who fill your head with other wonderful destinations and activities to do all over the world.  Oh well I better get saving.

Just before bed the guides laid out our blankets and cushions at random close by to the camp.  It was getting chilly now so I put on everything I had brought with me and tucked myself in! Wow the stars were fantastic, but not as good as we saw in Pemberton, but it was great lying there watching for shooting stars.  I soon dozed off.

I was suddenly awoken in the middle of the night by a dog licking me. Why do all the dogs love me?  I sat up and pushed him away, but he came back, this time he tried stealing my pillow.  He was cute so I compromised and we had half each. Anyway he was warm and it was bloody cold especially when that wind blew up.  Later the dog moved down to my feet so I had regained my pillow.  
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