Okay, this is not nearly as entertaining as Ella’s version, but wanted to give you a few more details.
We have a brand new respect for the Three Kings who traveled to see the King of Kings. Good grief, that had to be uncomfortable and sandy!
We traveled to Jaisalmer from our homestay in Jodhpur for our camel safari. But first we visited the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, which is one of the largest forts in India. Built around 1460 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 410 feet above the city. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards.
The train ride to Jaisalmer was about 5-6 hours on a sleeper train, which we prefer to buses or taxis for sure. Yes, you have just a squat toilet and they’re pretty dirty; but you can stretch out and walk around, so it’s better. We arrived late in the evening, but our wonderful hotel host picked us up at the station. We finally made it to bed again after 1 AM at the Heritage House Hotel, but luckily didn’t have to wake till around 9AM.
We had a breathtaking breakfast on the roof with omelets and crepes – yeh!! We felt like we were straight out of Indiana Jones with the view. The hotel staff was incredibly kind and attentive, extremely so.
Trotters International picked us up on our way back form the market and took us to their office until departure time for the safari. They are an excellent outfit run by a very kind Rajasthani gentleman that traveled with us. They pay their mahouts a good living wage and take excellent care of their camels, which is definitely always the case. They try to maintain good environmental practices, while really providing a unique experience in the desert dunes.
We rode packed into a jeep out into the desert to meet our camels. They were remarkably well fed and cared for compared to the ones we had seen grazing on our way. They never utilize a pregnant mother or a camel that is old or injured. Of course, we were highly vigilant about this after spending the week with Lek in Thailand.
We stopped at an old Brahmin village ruin, that had been deserted after the Maharaj had kicked them out when they refused to let their women marry him- or so the guides explained.
We covered ourselves in sunscreen, and I used a head scarf as they recommended, to try and cover my leftover bike scars from the sun.
We were introduced to our camel and our mahout, Gandani. He was from a local village and his family had trained camels for generations. Chris rode The Desert King.
Ella rode Journey,
Walden rode Bomali,
and mine – well, I can’t even begin to spell it or pronounce.
He instructed us to mount, and we awkwardly took a while to get on board. The King was incredibly stubborn. But he was the leader, so the mahout kept telling Chris to kick him to Ella’s and my dismay. The King just totally ignored us though. We rode for about 3 hours, until we really couldn’t have tolerated much more without falling off!
They bedded down the camels while we had masala chai and biscuits (little cookies). We walked around the dunes and enjoyed the sunset.
We had dahl, rice, vegetables, chapati, and rice pudding, all with just a touch of sand. We slept on blankets on the sand, behind wind breaks to avoid the flying sand. They moon was awesome, but soon, believe it our not, a storm rolled in!! 120% chance–no rain we had heard, lol. But it just sprinkled and our Indian guides were thrilled to have it. Perspective is everything it seems.
Ella frantically avoided the dung beetles and tucked her blanket in at every corner, but Chris found one in his shirt in the middle of the night!!
The next morning, we ate porridge and toast around the fire with more masala chai and had an invigorating discussion about Croatian/Polish/American/European politics.
We rode about 1.5 hours back out and caught the jeep back to Jaisalmer.
Hotel Heritage House let us come back for free to get washed up and hang out till we caught the 5 hour train back to Jodhpur. Looks like another late night, but we will soon be in Delhi. Sorry for the regurgitation of itinerary, or so we call it, but struggling to keep my eyes open and the shake of the train is making me a little seasick!