So to continue my tales....
We had arrived in Jaipur and had the day to spend exploring the Pink City- Let me tell you in a different light it may be pink but to me it looked like a peachy orange!! Anyway we caught the bus to the centre of the old city- my first public bus, it was pretty squished but another part of my Sangam challagne that I can tick off!! We wandered around the bizzares and the girls did a lot of shopping! I was quite content wandering and taking in all that there was to see. We found the wedding area where there were shop after shop after shop of all things you would need for a wedding. Turban shops, men wedding gear shops, invites, decorations and then of course Sari alley. It was incredible you barely fit 2 people walking side by side and every shop although tiny was jam packed with sari fabric, in some shops you honestly could not see the floor for colourful fabrics, there was one shop that fabrics were piled half way up the wall- I really don't think they could have seen the floor for years. Must have been a really comfy seat for the day though! So after lossing ourselves in Indian shopping paradise we headed back to the train station to meet the bus tour that we had decided to got on in the evening. For just under 5 pounds we went on a 'bus' tour of Jaipur and it also included dinner. So according to the picture on the photo we were going on this big shiny A/C coach or if there were less people signed up then a mini bus. Well it was neither! The only way to describe our mode of transport would be a old army truck!! It had no windows and a canvas top. Needless to say we were glad of our scaves and jumpers! We went to sit down but had to sit in specific seats, much to our amusment as there were no other passangers on the bus! In fairness we did drive to a hotel/ police station place and pick up a whole bunch more and also also the tour guide.
He was this slightly excentric old guy with a checked hat on. So the comentary was helarious- this is everything I know in English about this place so i'll tell you kind of style! We had some photo stops along the way. "We will have a 5 min stop here" No more than 2 mins later we were hussled back onto the bus- reverese Indian time!!! Our first stop was a memorial to the Chinese killed in the Vietnam war??? Random place for it in Delhi I know but there you go, it was the most random memorial i've ever seen. Flashing lights and story telling were part of the statue! Back on the bus we drove past the cinema, water palace, place that has something to do with Prince Albert (and not Green Sherbert as Bec announced to the whole bus as non of court what the guy said- this was funny beyond words!) The tour continued and after a shopping stop at a store that sold everything Rajastany, including beautiful bed covers that several people brought to keep them warm on the trains, we started to climb up hill. Higher and higher we went- for at least 2o mins. The funny thing was we couldn't see anything at the top (didn't help that it was pitch black!) eventually we got to our destination... sort of- the bus wasn't narrow enough to fit though a gateway so we all got out and in batches climbed into a jeep and they drove up the rest of the hill, although saying that alot of us choose to walk up in the dark and felt safe until tour guide man said they sometimes saw tigers and other scary stuff out at night!! Anyhoo at the top of the hill we realised the journey was worth it. We were at a fort ontop of the city and there for dinner! The food was so tasty and we had a lovely time. Afterwards we hoped back into the jeep to take us back to the bus and it was fair to say it was a bit of a squish! So much so in fact that Elly had to straddle to gear stick of the jeep which was being driven by this old Indian guy. It was so so so funny Elly and I couldn't move for laughing so hard, although she could move anyway- it was an intersting drive! :D
Back at the bus we drove down the hill and on our way back stopped to admire The Amber Fort- it was huge and very pretty. It really stood out against the black backdrop of the night sky. Back at the train station our tour ended and i can safely say it was the craziest tour i've ever been on it but I loved it! Deffs recomend it :), as does lonley planet...
The first sleeper train I've taken would take us to Jaisalmer. It was really exciting. I can comfirm rumours that Indian toliets on trains are infact cleaner and much more pleasent than the western style equivalent that they also offer- I am sure this is because people know how to us the squats! And the balancing act on a moving train wasn't too bad either!! The train was really fun, if not a little cold. The journey was 11 hours although passed so quickly as I slept all night. There are deffinatly benifits of being a heavy sleeper!! The next morning we arrived in Jaisalmer, the sun was shining and all we could see was desert. Amazing. No smog, blue skies and less people and buildings than Delhi and Pune! We met Del Boy of Trotters adventures who was the manager and had organised the camel trek. We were all very excited esspecially when we found out that on route we would be visiting a local village, a natural oasis and a semi-ruined fort.
We got out of the towns and then even villages were sparse. The village we arrived at was tiny, only 10 familys lived there in huts made from clay and cow poo. It was so peaceful and everyone was really friendly. In some ways it was a shame that we didn't know about it before because we could have brought some sweets or toys e.t.c. for the kids, luckily Dell Boy had remembered. After the village we went to the oasis and it reminded me of The Lion King. It was simply beautiful, the water was so blue and just as we walked down to the water's edge a farmer, his son and a herd of buffalo came down to the water to drink and swim, it was awesome to watch, the timing was just perfect. Our next stop was an old ruined fort. It was on the top of a hill over looking a village that had been destroyed in some battle time about camels years and years ago. The view was great, we could see so much desert but each area was different on the horizon there were wind turbines and to our right was a huge herd of camels next to this tiny village, it was kind of cool to see old and rural India next to a new era of environmentally conscious India.
We finally arrived at the camels mid afternoon and they were literally in the middle of nowhere. There were 9 of us on the trek, the tare and a photographer from Serbia and her friend from Australia although they were only there for the afternoon and evening. We met our 3 desertmen guides and mounted the camels and off we went. It was a bit scary when I first got on because when they stand up they are really tall and sitting down the first time is also very scarry- you have to lean back loads and hold on tight. But lucky for us we had no accidents.
Treking across the desert gives a really beautiful image, beautiful it deffinatly was, comfortable it was not! We rode for an hour and a half and be the end I kid you not, I could not feel my legs! They were compltely numb and the musles on the insides of my thighs were really sore. I have to say though, it was 100% worth it!! We saw jumping antelope (they could have been deer but antelope sounds much more exotic!) Every once in a while we saw herds of sheep or buffalos. There was one concrete building that we saw and a couple of muds shelters, but other than that we saw bushes and sand. The Thar desert is interesting because there are many times of environment. Some is dirt and trees and bushes but my favourite part is the sand dunes. As they came into view with the sun behind them they looked magical. It turned out that on the dunes would be where we were sleeping. After getting off the camels we stretched!!!! :D and then sat down for some homemade chai- made over a fire right in front of us. We then sat with Dell Boy and watched the sun set sitting on a sand dune, drinking ice cold beer from the beer wala. (A guy from some village that rocked up on a camel and asked if we wanted to buy some beer.) It was perfect, the sunset was beautiful and it was a really awesome evening. Dinner was cooked from scratch over a fire and it was some of the best Indian food i've ever eaten. We were so full afterwards, we just laid back a watched the stars. It was amongst the best star gazing i've seen, on a par with Lake Tekapo in New Zealand. There were hundreds and hundreds of stars and we even saw a few planets too!! After sitting around a campfire for hours singing and listening to our desert friends tell stories it was time for bed. We were tucked into bed and they pilled at least 3 blankets on top of us. We sang some more and admired the stars. It was one of the best nights sleep i've ever had, we woke up in the morning to "chai friend" and breakfast in bed. It was really amazing. The camels were chilling as the sun rose behind them. I saw the pictures from the sun rize but i was too tired to wake up for it! (naybe i'm not becoming a morning person after all). After breakfast we packed up and got back on the camels, mine by the way was called Miss Moo Moo!!! Completly random I know. So today instead of all being linked together we all took the reins and even got to go for a run as well! It was so sooooo fun!! and much easy to ride than walking because your pelvis doesn't rock as much. After a few hours treking we met the land drover and said our goodbyes and then headed back to Jaisalmer for an afternoon of shopping. I was sad to leave the desert men and camels so soon and would love to go back some day. Maybe next time we could trek right to the Pakastain boarder- this time we were only 35km away!!
Back in Jaisalmer we visited the fort and spent hours wandering through the narrow streets. After buying many exciting things- beautiful leather bound scrapbook and TURBANS!!!!! It was time to head back to the station and catch our train to Delhi. It would take us 17hrs and all things considered it went very quickly. I spent ages sitting by the train door and watching the world go buy. It was fun to dangle my legs outside however I wouldn't recomend it because the toliet is right next to the door and as you may or may not know the train toliets are just a hole in the floor! So every now and again I would get droplets of 'water' on my legs!! Not good but to be honest I was so covered in dirt, sand and more dirt I geuss it didn't really matter!! The train ride was pretty entertaining. A cow tried to come aboard at one stop and a chai wala made Nadia jump from the outside when he was asking if anyone wanted chai, Amy of course did. And from all her chai tasting we can safely say that some chai is better than others and state to state they have very different flavours.
Anyway on the train there was also this kinda creepy guy who at one point lifted his leg and farted. It was so funny we cried like babies we were laughing so much and it was worse because he sat one berth over and watched us! Mind you he did make up for it when we went to bed when he was on the top bunk opposite me and starred at me 15mins straight without blinking I swear!! Crazy times! So as we got nearer to Delhi the train got busier and busier. But the time morning came the train was cramed full and there were bags and people everywhere- very much like what you would expect an Indian train to be like. As we got closer to stopping, like at any stations the smell got worse- Jodphur is another stinky one!
Once in Delhi we made our way to the airport and were by this time grateful for the a/c on the airport express train. We were a stinky lot (no offence guys) and I didn't envy whoever was sitting around us on the plane! But we did watch this super duper cheesy bollywood film about facebook but we landed at the crucial point so went out to buy it to watch the end. Watch out David- it's heading to England in my bag sometime soon and you have to watch it!! :P (It is way more cheesy than the princess diaries!!)
So as you can tell our little adventure was incredible and I loved every minute of it. A holiday within and holiday!! Thanks to all my beautiful Tare friends who made it so incredible!! xxx. :)