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Day 147: The Orange Assignments

Sam Travel Blog

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Entering the desert

Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Ed (Netherlands)

Shortly before I left on my journey I gave a small farewell party at work. My colleagues had collected money for a farewell present for me, but since I wouldn't be able to take anything with me on my trip, they had given me the money, divided into 6 envelopes, with suggestions on how to spend it, or, assignments, as I prefer to call them. So far I haven't really been able to fulfil any of the assignments, until now. That said, I fully intend to fulfil the last assignments of my trip and will report on them in due time.

The assignments (and the reasons why I didn't fulfil them) so far:

Orange Assignment #1: Netherlands - a cheese sandwich at the train station
Well, I had a coffee instead.

Into the desert


Orange Assignment #2: Turkey - A Dervish dance and a dinner
I really wanted to do this one. Well, obviously I did the dinner part daily, but the Dervish dancing, I really wanted to see this. One of the best places to see a performance is Cappadoccia, but in the end I opted to spend the money on the balloon flight instead.

Orange Assignment #3: Uzbekistan - Bribe your way through the country
Uzbekistan is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world (or at least along my journey). Quite a surprise then that I didn't run into any trouble with officials - at all!

Orange Assignment #4: India - A visit to Rajasthan by camel
Well, not wanting to fail any more assignments, this was one I obviously had to do (besides the fact that I thought it would be fun, of course).
Getting ready to go
One of the best places to do a camel safari in Rajasthan is from Jaisalmer, or rather, the small settlement called Sam, 30 kilometres from Jaisalmer.

When arranging this trip in Delhi I had discussed the options with Mahinder. I had wanted to do a tour which lasted a minimum of two days, spending one night in the desert. Mahinder recommended me to do a trip where we'd drive to the desert camp, rather than ride, and then take a camel trip from there. “The last thing you want is sitting on a camel, being sore and miserable, only to find out it is another four hours to the camp,” Hem had reasoned. I reckoned he was right. Last time I had ridden a camel I couldn't walk properly for three days, so having the option to shorten the tour if needed appealed to me.
sand and shadow


A good move - less than half an hour on camelback and my back and arse were fervently disagreeing with the idea of doing a camel safari. Camels simply aren't comfortable means of transportation. That is not saying I didn't like it, on the contrary, I loved it! Slowly rocking along with the rolling gait of the camels, whilst enjoying stunning desert scenery against a setting sun. What's not to like?
I just feel the saddle could have been a bit more comfortable, I mean, what's wrong with a pillow?

Fortunately we didn't go very far into the desert. About 45 minutes in we stopped on a sand dune, from where we had a wonderful view over the Sam sand dunes stretching out all the way west, to the Pakistan border and beyond.

As we were sitting in the sand, enjoying the setting sun, we were approached by a local selling cold Kingfisher beers.
Enjoying a lukewarm Kingfisher beer in the sand
Just what we needed - how thoughtful! Obviously this was a clever soul, who knows what tourists visiting the desert might like. Much better than the group of locals who came over to sing for us (which we didn't want them to) and then kept bugging us for money for their performance.
We spent an hour or so enjoying our beer and watching the sun set. There were many dung beetles around, which put up quite a performance for us. Rolling huge balls of camel dung, trying to make it over the sand dune. Many a time a beetle would lose grip halfway up and tumble down the dune again, clinging on to its dung ball, which, in their little world, must be the most important thing there is. The persistent creatures would roll all the way down, only to get up again and go for another attempt.

We were spending the night in the Sam Dunes Camp.
Our accommodation - quite possibly the ugliest place I ever stayed in
Sam can't really be called a village. It seems the sole purpose for its existence is to facilitate tourists visiting the sand dunes of the same name. So the village consists of a string of lodges, a few dozen operators for camel trips, and some huts where the villagers live. Our accommodation wasn't exactly what I had had in mind when I booked this trip. I had expected something like my trip to the desert in Jordan, sleeping in tents in a secluded area in the desert, but the Sam Dunes Camp was a park with small bungalows - one in a long stretch of near-identical bungalow parks.

Foodwise it was also disappointing. No desert barbecue, feasting on exotic critters or anything like that, but instead we were sent over to a nearby resort where a musical performance took place, which included a food buffet.
Most of the people at the resort were Indian tourists, and while it was interesting to watch how the Indians all seemed to really dig the music and dance performance, I would have preferred my desert experience a little bit more quiet and peaceful.
Dinner


We retreated to our own 'camp' to drink a few more lukewarm beers, after which I retreated to our cabin to attempt to sleep. The cabin was steaming hot, as it had no ventilation whatsoever. About half an hour later Ed came to bed as well and he had a much better idea: grab the mattress from the bed and sleep outside. I followed his example and moved outside to sleep under the stars (which were invisible due to the ever-present clouds). Despite the mosquitoes and other bugs outside, it was preferable to the excessive heat.

I was exhausted and was vast asleep within minutes. It had been a nine hour drive to get here from Pushkar. Time had flown by though, we had been entertaining ourselves with music. We had been searching through our music collection on our MP3-players for songs which contain Indian musical instruments (sitar, tabla, dulcimer, hang drum, pump organ, etc), in order to come up with “The Ultimate Playlist to Travelling in India”.
sleeping outside to escape the heat from our room
If you're interested, the final playlist can be view below:

Hunting Tigers Out in India - Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
Pretty Tight Up - Gun's n' Roses
The Letter - Nirvana Sitar and Strings Band
Listen to the Flower People - Spinal Tap
Still - Alanis Morissette
Home - Dream Theater
Thank You - Alanis Morissette
Een en Alleen - Bløf
One - Buddha Lounge
Kathmandu - Celtic Cross
Old McDonald - Enge Buren
Corners - IQ
Paint it Black - The Rolling Stones
Ojos Así - Shakira
Hari Krishna Mantra
Full Moon Raga - Clearlight
Everytime You Go Away - Paul Young
Halfway Up The Hindu Kush - Katie Melua
Interior Lulu (Less is More version) - Marillion
Bas Ek King (Tiger Remix) - Singh is Kinng Soundtrack
Karma - NDV
Letter from the Desert (part 1) - Quidam
Teri Ore (Lounge Mix) - Singh is Kinng Soundtrack
World Through My Eyes (acoustic) - RPWL
Trying to Kiss The Sun - RPWL
Start the Fire - RPWL
Norwegian Wood (instrumental) - The Beatles
Signal to Noise - Peter Gabriel
Xen & Now (live) - Steve Hogarth Band
Old Wild Men (live) - Steve Hogarth Band
The Walk parts 1&2 - Gazpacho
To The Hill - Salem Hill
Nothing Is Something Worth Doing - Shpongle
Ineffable Mysteries in Shpongleland - Shpongle
When Shall I Be Free - Shpongle
Mad About You (live) - Sting
Haule Haule - RNBDJ Soundtrack
Worlds Apart - Bruce Springsteen
What Color is God? - Fish
Deliverance (live) - Yanni
Nika Nara (live) - Yanni
It Can Happen - Yes
Tujh Mein Rab Dikta Hai - RNBDJ Soundtrack
Bhootni Ke - Singh is Kinng Soundtrack
Time Waits for No One (live) - Roger Hodgson
Around the World in a Tea Daze - Shpongle
Electroplasm - Shpongle
Bas Ek King - Singh is Kinng Soundtrack
Jee Karda - Singh is Kinng Soundtrack
Dance Pe Chance - RNBDJ Soundtrack
Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte - RNBDJ Soundtrack
Tujh Mein Rab Dikta Hai (Reprise) - RNBDJ Soundtrack
Dancing Jodi - RNBDJ Soundtrack

bert1978 says:
nice soundtrack!
Posted on: Dec 18, 2010
rotorhead85 says:
What a great gift idea - that would make for a good new 'reality show'.
Posted on: Dec 18, 2010
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Entering the desert
Entering the desert
Into the desert
Into the desert
Getting ready to go
Getting ready to go
sand and shadow
sand and shadow
Enjoying a lukewarm Kingfisher bee…
Enjoying a lukewarm Kingfisher be…
Our accommodation - quite possibly…
Our accommodation - quite possibl…
Dinner
Dinner
sleeping outside to escape the hea…
sleeping outside to escape the he…
Local school bus - theres always …
Local school bus - there's always…
Passing the time during the long d…
Passing the time during the long …
Local women hard at work
Local women hard at work
Construction works in India, which…
Construction works in India, whic…
Ed mounting his camel
Ed mounting his camel
Sam village - little more than a c…
Sam village - little more than a …
Sam village - little more than a c…
Sam village - little more than a …
Ed on his camel
Ed on his camel
Camel safari
Camel safari
Approaching the Sam Sand Dunes
Approaching the Sam Sand Dunes
Some colourful locals heading into…
Some colourful locals heading int…
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes
That is one nasty, awful, ugly cre…
That is one nasty, awful, ugly cr…
Dung beetle doing what it does bes…
Dung beetle doing what it does be…
Ed doing his best pop-artist-video…
Ed doing his best pop-artist-vide…
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes
Sam Sand Dunes
Camel heading into the desert
Camel heading into the desert
Two amazing sights: Desert and Kin…
Two amazing sights: Desert and Ki…
Local girl came to entertain us. S…
Local girl came to entertain us. …
Local girl came to entertain us. S…
Local girl came to entertain us. …
Camel and camel driver at sunset
Camel and camel driver at sunset
An alien about to land on planet B…
An alien about to land on planet …
Me and my camel
Me and my camel
One of the many nice critters craw…
One of the many nice critters cra…
Toad and cricket
Toad and cricket
Ed and I practicing our Jedi moves
Ed and I practicing our Jedi moves
Sam
photo by: edsander