Maisie – The best things so far…

The best things that we’ve seen is the Taj Mahal: wow too hard to explain, it was so beautiful I know I will remember it!
The Ganges River: the morning and evening boat ride was fab except the body burning creeped me out and gave me a nightmare.
We drove through Rajasthan and the area was interesting but polluted and hot.
Now we are in Jaisalmer and the first impressions weren’t great because it was raining and empty and grey. But that soon turned around as we are now staying in an old palace
which still has some of the royal family living in it so that was a surprise!

The only thing I miss is not much but family and friends not much else.
Mum is now sitting in our room shivering and moaning she is cold so dads got a blanket for the bed and a coffee to warm her up.

Jaisalmer Palace

Our standard of living has improved dramatically since yesterday. We didn’t succumb to food poisoning and had a lovely meal last night in the most amazing setting.
The terraced top of Meharangarh Fort is a very romantic restaurant; we were greeted at the fort entrance by waiters in traditional Rajasthani dress who took us up to the very top of the fort and sat us at one of only 6 small round tables lit by the moonlight and candles.
We ate Thalis and drank Kingfisher beer to the sound of Indian music and the feel of the warm desert breeze.
In case this all sounds too good to be true I have to point out that Ali and Maisie were only reasonably behaved and dressed in my combats, battered converse trainers and with dirty hair I really didn’t feel all that glam but still we had a great time.

We leave for Jaisalmer at just gone 9am. Jaisalmer was once an important trade route and a very wealthy town. I have read that there are lots of elaborate houses and temples here. It’s as close as we will get to the India / Pakistan border and although it’s a peaceful place the airport is closed due to border disputes. Iram said the journey would take around six hours and I was feeling a bit apprehensive about this but the kids are in a better mood today.

We start the day with some science, we discuss what we learnt about the brain previously and I’m pleased they have remembered it all. I can’t teach them about any other organ of the body without study support so I teach them about the structure and functions of the liver. We then talk about food groups and how proteins, fats and carbs are processed by the body and they do really well.

Schools over for a bit and we put some music on. Today’s choices are The Killers and The Scissors Sisters. The Scissor Sisters could only remind us of one couple, our friends Di and Jimmy and a mad night we had out in Birmingham a couple of months ago.
By four o’clock in the morning following quite a large amount of beer and vodka we decided we were all at least good enough for The X-Factor and recorded ” I don’t feel like dancing” on our phones. When I heard it back the next morning I’m surprised the taxi driver didn’t chuck us out of his cab when we were practicing it!

By the time we are half way to Jaisalmer it has started to rain, it was cloudy in Jodhpur this morning and soon its pissing down and not very warm. We have to stop as Alister’s guitar is strapped to the roof rack and swap it over for one of our rucksacks which have waterproof covers.
The road to Jaisalmer is quite good and we don’t see much traffic. I have noticed that Iram seems to speed up a bit when we get closer to places and I’m glad when we arrive safely. The main risk to us on the road would be hitting a cow but sheep, goats, camels,
dogs, horses and large birds in no particular pecking order also think they are the kings of the road and completely ignore car horns.
The landscape is flat with lots of scraggy trees and occasional scruffy looking little ruins. We see a few people, the women dressed in the brightly coloured saris that are typical of Rajasthan and men all wrapped up with just their eyes showing.

We discuss where to stay on the way, there are lots of good quality hotels in Rajasthan and as the weather is crap we don’t want to be stuck in some grim room for the next 3 days. The Jaisalmer Palace is just inside the town walls and has been partially converted into A Welcome Heritage Hotel called The Mandir Palace. As we have read some good reviews about it we decide to have a look.
Some of the Royal family still live in the palace and as soon as we pull into the courtyard I want to stay there. It’s much more expensive than anywhere else we have stayed and while the kids are swayed by cable TV for me it’s the fact that loo rolls, soap and towels are supplied.
After a bit of haggling we get two luxurious rooms for 15 pounds per room per night and I can’t wait to phone home tomorrow and tell mum Maisie and I are princesses in our palace at least for the next 3 days.

I hope the weather clears up, we have brought waterproof jackets with us but as the main reason for coming to Jaisalmer is to go into the desert on a camel safari I want it to be dry. I ‘m dreading this anyway, I’ve been on a camel before and I remember they stink; they won’t go where you want them to and it hurts your arse.

I may take some persuading to swap my bed in a perfectly good palace, for a night under the stars with a wet camel.