28.08.2007 47 °C
Hello and welcome back to Joss and Sarah's updated Indian Adventures!
To finish off our stay in Udaipur, we were finally starting to feel better and therefore we were able to venture out into the streets of Udaipur to farewell the beautiful city. By this time, we were local tourists - everyone knew us and would wave and say hello "Are u feeling better?..." etc. We had met a really charasmatic auto driver Pushkar and had arranged for him to pick us up and take us to the Monsoon Palace. Instead his brother James picked us up and we met Pushkar and some Pommie girls half way to the top (we were told he was busy! hehe). The Monsoon Palace itself is not very well restored and looked after, however the view from it over Udaipur is amazing. We stayed and watched the sunset and the was invited by Pushkar and James to go "disco" with them and have some dinner. We went to a really beautiful restaurant Masala, which turned out to be the best restaurant we had eaten at the whole time, beautifully decorated with intricate mosaic mirrors. We decided to go to another restaurant instead of the "disco" as the beer was cheaper, and the night ended up being lots of fun, drinking and dancing to Peter Andre's "Mysterious Girl"! We have organised to meet Pushkar and James in Pushkar (the city) in a few days after we go to Jaisalmer and Jodphur. We left Udaipur Wed morning by bus, hmmm might be taking the train a little more often, the bus was very claustrophobic and hot!
We arrived in Jodphur but did not stay as we were passing through to Jaisalmer, we met a young guy called Lotus who invited us to stay at his brother's guest house in Jaisalmer, we were tired and bothered so we just agreed - sometimes it's easier than finding your own hotel in the middle of the night!
The bus ride into Jaisalmer took 5 hours and it was really interesting to see the landscape change into desert, there was a sandstorm blowing in the distance and we were driving straight towards it (hmm bit of a premonition of things to come...)
In Jaisalmer we got picked up by the Himalayan Hotel ppl and taken inside the fort, where the hotel was. The fort had really winding cobbled streets, like a maze, amzing architecture dating back 100's of years, however some bits are crumbling under the pressure of inhabitation. At the hotel we organised our 3-day camel safari into the Thar Desert. We chose a 'non-touristic' safari that would take us places not many people see.
Our safari started at 7 in the morning, when we were taken by jeep to meet our camels in the desert. We met our guide Rhaman and our camels Bupu (Sarah's) and Lalu (Joss'). We had our turbans wrapped around our heads - bright orange (screaming TOURIST!) by Rhaman and we hopped on our camels and set off. Camel riding is very slow, walking pace, however you get to see the landscape from an interesting perspective, and u have lots of time to bliss out and daydream about stuff! It was so hot, hot, hot! We would start on the camels early in the morning each day and then stop for about 4 hours for lunch in the middle of the day as it was too hot for the camels and us! Rhaman would cook our meals on a little camp fire, and each meal pretty much consisted of chapatti, a vegetable (cooked in the same sauce every day...!) and rice. Food progressively got better as we suggested different combinations! Rhaman taught Sarah how to make chapatti's and chai, which turned out pretty good! On the first night we were informed we were to sleep on the sand dunes, 15km away from the Pakistan border! You could see the border lights in the distance and it was kind of eerie going to sleep with a storm brewing above us. Rhaman told us a ghost story about how these dunes are haunted and he doesn't bring many tourists here... aaargh, thanks! More scary than the supposed ghosts was waking up in the middle of the night amongst a sand storm! The wind was whipping sand all over us, in every crevice - and it was not a pleasant experience! Once the wind had stopped we shook out our blankets and had a hissy fit about the "ridiculous situation" and " as if they expect us to survive out here" and "im going home tommorrow!" But we didn't give up, we woke the next day feeling somewhat resfreshed (dont know how?!) and kept on going. Throughout the days we would pass small villages, small lakes (where some village girls freaked out when they thought Joss was pee-peeing in their drinking water!), and wildlife including peacocks, camels, deers, sheep, goats, cows, lizards - how they all survive out here we do not know! Second night we slept on some different dunes, met some Australians (who we were not allowed to talk to as they were on a seperate safari with a different agent) and had another windy night in the sand. What kept us going was the prospect of a shower and soon returning back to Jaisalmer the next day! On the last day we covered lots of ground and were so relieved to see the jeep waiting for us with cold water about 5pm that afternoon.
Hooray - we made it, we survived the desert - now we can get Thar Thar Away from here!
Back at the hotel we showered and shook the sand out of everything. We went to a restaurant, wow, that had tables and chairs, wow, and ordered pasta and cold beer, WOW! Mmmm bliss!!
We left on the train that night to Jodphur and were picked up early morning by a hotel that was recommeded to us by Lotus in Jaisalmer.
We spent 2 days and 2 nights in Jodpur, where we were able to explore the Mehrangargh Fort which was just behind our hotel. Lotus took us out one day to meet his family and have lunch with them and he also met us at the train station the next morning to see us off to Ajmer then Pushkar.
We had a pleasant train ride to Ajmer and then took a taxi to Pushkar which is 18kms away over a mountain pass.
Lots of Love Sarah and Joss xoxo