Mandy and Jon's Journey 2005 travel blog

MJ and "Bulldozer." "Bulldozer" and MJ.

no Colgate in the desert.

All saddled up and ready to go

Our 5 fine guides, about to prepare our chai, chapati and Dhal

Bulldozer isn't named Bulldozer for nothin'

A true shepard. (or an actor making things more interesting for us...



Even though Liam had taken the liberty to book us all a guest house in Jaisalmer (well done, man) we still were greeted by a gang of touts and guest-house hooligans the likes of which we hadn't seen since Siem Reap. Barging our way through the welcoming committee, though, was easy enough when we spotted our guesthouse jeep parked close by.

Jaisalmer, too, is a fort city, but unlike the forts in Udaipur, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and elsewhere that we had seen Jaisalmer's remains an intricate part of the city and is still inhabited by the cities people and dotted with numerous restuarants, hotels, shops, and stalls. We choose not to stay in the fort, due to water demands that are taking a toll on the sewage system, but we spend much of our time in Jaisalmer enjoying the romantic alleyways, shops, and eateries contained within.

The highlight of our time in this desert city, though, takes place not in the enthralling fort, but in the desert lands that sit to the West. Jaisalmer (spelled correctly) is approximately 100 kilometers from the Pakistan border. Although it is not part of the disputed border there is still a gigantic military presence in and around the city. In fact, they say, that it is the joint financial push of the tourist industry and the army that keeps the city alive. Before the strengthening of the local base Jaisalmer was on the brink of becoming a ghost town. So if not for the threat of war the city would be solely dependent on their other main industry - camels.

The desert camel safari is what many people come to Jaisalmer to enjoy, and even if you had come without the slightest desire to do so there would be many-a-jaisalmerian to help convince you that it is the wisest thing to do.

Our safari was great. We were unsure, at first, after all the time we had spent with Liam and Sandrine that they would desire another night in our company. But they were kind enough to say, and we were pleased to concur, that the comradery was mutual. We booked a two-day, one night safari which we surmized would be plenty. (In Pushkar we had met a couple that had gone ten days, and me, being an idiot, thought that three or four day one would be a good idea. Luckly, Mandy and subsequently L & S shot that down. Thank christ.)

Oh, I guess describing the safari in detail would be (if not only tiresome) unkind. It was an experience best reserved for the firsthand, and I can't do it justice anyway. I will say this, though, in the form of advice. If you get the chance to sleep out in the desert, during a new moon, you should. If someone offers you a two day camel ride, ask if they have one that is one and a half. If you do find yourself around one (or many) camels, try and stay downwind. Be sure to tip your camel driver. He (or she) has earned it. Don't plan to do much on the day after your safari. Maybe don't plan too much for the next day either.

Jaisalmer was a romantic and scenic delight. Many thanks to our companions Liam and Sandrine for sticking with us for so long. It was our pleasure. We said goodbye to them as they turned towards Pushkar, and we, well, we must have places to go as well.

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