The day of the camel has arrived and I feel sick. We woke up at 8.30 and after showering went and had a long and leisurely breakfast. We took the kids schoolbooks with us and Simon spent an hour or so doing maths with them. I can’t do maths so it gave me the opportunity to sit and study our guide book and start to plan our next few weeks in India.
The kids then had a game of cricket with the waiters from the hotel we are staying in. I am surprised and pleased that they have been getting on so well together and although their PSP and Nintendo DS have seen plenty of action, they had a great time today with a ball that cost 10 rupees and two empty coke bottles for bats.
We went and found Iram who seems very happy to be staying here and tells us he has a very nice room. We have decided that the best option is for him to take us out to the sand dunes where the camels are and try and negotiate a fair price when we get there.
Neither of us like organised themed trips and wherever we have been we have always found them to be very overpriced and generally shite.
We set off at 3pm, I am dreading it being cold as much as anything else but as I only have one cardi thing with me the only option is to take my waterproof jacket as well and I stick it in the rucksack.
We drive for about an hour and eventually see signs for Khuri village, Maisie makes us laugh when she tells us “I’ve just seen some massive eggs, I think they’re camel eggs”.
I have to explain to her that camels don’t lay eggs which leads to more discussion about mammals. She is surprised to learn that foxes don’t in fact lay eggs either – bless!
We get out the car and are immediately asked to sit down. The camel safari is explained to us and apparently includes an hour or so on the camels, out to the dunes, watching the sunset and then on return sitting around a fire watching some dancing and dinner. We’re having none of it though and Simon explains to the man that we only want to ride the camels and then will return to Jaisalmer for dinner.
Eventually we agree a price of 450 rupees each (about five pounds) and we set off for the camels.
I’m a bit worried to find that the camel drivers sit behind you on each camel as I have read that this is advised against especially for women but there isn’t much we can do about it and I clamber on. Simon and the kids all seem excited although Ali looks a bit apprehensive.
We set off at a good pace, the camel driver seems quite nice, he picks me some flowers for my hair and tells me he has six camels and the one we are on is called Lalu when I ask him. I’m not too sure if this is only my camels name though or if they are all called that although Maisie tells me later hers was called Baby.
Eventually the desert changes to perfect, rolling sand dunes. I’ve never seen anything like these before and it’s really beautiful. We don’t see anyone else and listening to the drivers singing and clicking to the camels in the dusk I realise I am actually having a great time.
We arrive at the top of the dunes there are lots of other people here but quite a long way from us and we get down to sit and watch the sunset. The kids love it and spend the time free running up and down the dunes. We write our names and the date in the fine sand and take lots of photos.
We get back on the camels and join the large groups of people also making their way back on their camels. The camel driver gives me the reins and shouts at Lalu to make her go faster, soon we are cantering along and although I’m hardly Lawrence of Arabia it is lots of fun and I am enjoying myself and pleased when we whip most people back to the village.
We get back to Jaisalmer and make for a restaurant called The Trio the food is probably the best we have had so far in India. We share a Rajasthani speciality mutton curry, tomatoes stuffed with goat’s cheese, raisons and almonds, chicken mughlai, mixed vegetables and special biriyani.We have banana fritters for pudding and wash it down with Kingfisher beer and cardamom spiced coffee Yum!
Today has been good, better than I thought and I should learn not to dread things so much they may turn out ok after all.