After a lovely thali lunch at the hotel - made up of 4 little pots, 2 with veg curries and one with rice and one with raita yoghurt, completed with chapati - I was nice and full and ready for a night in the desert on the camel safari. We lugged our bags down to the main square and climbed into jeeps which drove us out for one hour into the desert. Not exactly a sand dune desert - more deserted land with only some grazing animals and limited greenery. Very arid. Our camels were waiting to meet us resting on the ground. As we quickly chose a camel - realised quiote how massive the things are as they rose on by one with our group on their backs. They really are magnifiucent. far bigger than i had expected and beutiful. They have lovely long eye lashes and pretty eyes.
But they also spit and relieve themselves regularly as they are walking with you so there are ups and downs!
The men led our camels for 2 hours through the landscape. It was reasonably comfortable and quite relaxing to do - made me a little sleepy in the afternoon sun! The only drama was when they tried to make the camels walk faster and the three who were tied together l;eading each other started to trot and we were bumping around a bit laughing for a while. I didnt even think camels could run they seem so lazy and relaxed! well i was wrong...
When we reached the sand dunes we set up camp and everyone was pretty impressed. Beds laid by a small shack they are kept in - and then open desert. Should be good. We settled down to snacks and beers that the camel drivers had provided and then we had local dancers arrive.
The two girls were very good and only about 14 apparently. They belonged to a snake charming caste - but this is now not really legal in india and so they do dancing mainly as their profession. And they were very good, like I say. In wonderful traditional costumes and with a band of local instruments - it certainly was lovely in such a setting. They made us come up and dance a few times too. Our tour leader, Pradeep, did a lot of dancing and was pretty good despite his claim a few nights ago he wasn't.
There wasn't a lot to do in the desert - so we talked for a while as the sunset - and then dinner was provided - a Thali style meal they had cooked us which was nice, and then set up our beds. There were a lot of bugs around - mainly dung beetles - which didnt impress us.
Especially as i realised they could fly! So when i was the only one left with a head torch playing solitaire and one flew into my head attracted by the light I decided it was time to call it a night! the light attracted too many unwanted guests. We all laid down loking up at the fantastic night sky above us. There was no moon and we had no lights now so the stars were really bright. We saw countless shooting stars - some big and some just little ones. Even after the others fell asleep I was up pretty late just looking. It was hard to shut your eyes on such a picture.
In the morning we awoke just before sun rise. The night had been pretty cold so I had wrapped my scarf around my head and used the blankets provided! Wathed the sun rise and then we were brought cups of chai to drink and breakfast.
Camp was packed up and we were back on the camels to walk back. My camel, tiger, seemed pleased to see me and off we went with the rising sun. Apart from a bit more trotting - it was pretty uneventful. Although Hans' saddle slipped forward and onto the camels neck which was a disaster and did not impress his camel which buckled under the weight on its poor neck!
At the end we got back in the jeeps and were sped back to the hotel for a much needed wash and lunch before setting off on the bus to Jodhpur
. The bus was to take about 5 and a half hours so we settled into our seats with the locals brimming over the aisle space - with the children craning their necks to try and subtly stare inquisitively at the ipod I had on.