18 November 2009

In the desert with Mr Desert

Jaisalmer lies at the edge of the Great Thar Desert and one of the most popular activities is to go on a Camel safari. When Liz was last in India she did a bum numbing, thigh burning, three day trek. In light of the pain that this caused she advised a much shorter half day trip this time.

We booked our trip with Sahara Travels run by Mr Desert (real name Mr Bissa), who runs a tour company and is also a bit of a local celebrity.

We started our trip by taking a jeep into the desert where we were given brief operating instructions before heading out into the dunes.

Steering was fairly simple but I appeared to have been lumbered with a very greedy camel who could barely pass a piece of scrub without stopping to eat it. He appeared to have a severe case of the munchies!

He was also appeared to be affected by a heavy cold as he kept throwing his head back and blowing thick gooey camel snot into the air. This however paled into insignificance when Liz's camel managed to blow a maggot out of its nose!!!

After two hours on camel back we dismounted to explore the sand dunes on foot as the sun set.

Whilst dinner under the stars was being prepared we gathered around the camp fire to hear the story of how Mr Bissa became Mr Desert, the poster boy of Rajasthan, the face of Jaisalmer Cigarettes and the star of a Coca Cola advert.

Once the sun set we we treated to a fantastic curry under an incredibly starry sky. A great end to a the day before we jumped back into the jeep and headed back to our hotel.

Some of the people on the trip where doing an overnight stay sleeping out under the stars. It sounds very romantic and great fun but when we left at half nine in the evening it was bitterly cold and they only had blankets for protection. Some of the people appeared to be quite horrified when they found out that they weren't sleeping on a bed in a tent! As if they weren't worried enough, just as we were leaving one of them had their bag stolen by a wild dog who was after the biscuits that were inside it.

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