Arabian Nights

After spending a week in Jaipur doing school we were able to take a second reading week and do some travelling. Our first stop was Jaisalmer which is west of Jaipur in Rajasthan. The city itself is quite small and the main attraction is the enormous Fort that sits at the top of the city. Surrounding the fort and inside of it is a giant market. My group went on a huge shopping spree for about 3 days and now we all feel really shopped out. But everything was so beautiful, and when we’re in school it’s difficult to get beautiful things for all our loved ones back home =)

Jaisalmer is in the desert which is very different than anything I’ve seen in India yet. We see a lot of cows in India, but seeing a camle on the side of the road in the desert is much more epic. On Sunday afternoon we left Jaisalmer and drove west into the desert to go on a camel safari. I’ve been looking forward to this camel safari for about 6 months and it completely exceeded my expectations! Hands down, probably one of the best things I’ve ever done in my entire life. It made every hard day on this trip completely worth it =) We stopped at the side of the road and there were about 15 camels just sitting there with guides. We all got off and wrapped our scarves around our heads and faces. It happened to be a really windy day and there was no shortage of sand in our eyes. We doubled up on the camels and I rode with my friend Becca.

Our camels name was Babaloo and Salip was the little boy that led our camel. All of these little kids were the ones that led us through the desert. It was interesting because we were all completely covered up and you could tell that these little kids spend most of their days leading tourists in the desert. They had no protection from the elements – I wonder what their health conditions will be like in 20 years. However, there is no really other way to make any money in the desert then income from tourists and staying at retreats in the desert. Riding the camels was absolutely amazing – the wind was strong but we could just look into the horizon for miles it seemed. We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere – and only 100 km from the Pakistan border! I found that really exciting =) Along the way men followed us with bags trying to sell us beer and pop and chips. We stopped for a small break in the sand dunes and I was able to ride with one of the boys really fast. Camels can run incredibly fast – faster than horses I believe. We didn’t run though, only trot.

After the camel safari we spent the night in tents in the desert. Well, some of us were in tents and some of us were in small little rooms. =) That night there was a cultural music and dancing and lots of people came to watch it. It was pretty awesome to sit outside (sand was still blowing), and watch the stars up above. We even got to dance. We explored some of the dunes and walked into the desert a little which was really interesting to explore. Giant beetles, camels, and small little bushes everywhere. Plus the dunes were really hard to walk on.

Being in the desert was spectacular – it made every tough day 100% worth it =)