Saturday, December 10, 2011

My camel had a name (it was Papaya)

but that didn't stop us from singing this around a campfire.

One popular thing to do in Jaisalmer is to ride a camel in the desert. It is kinda the main thing to do in Jaisalmer. Everyone and his brother will take you in the desert on camels. I booked a trip through Ganesh Travels, which is listed in the Lonely Planet, but for good reason: they deliver honest quality tours for a good price and no BS. Seriously, at $13/day, going on a camel safari is cheaper than not going on a camel safari. Highly recommended.

Good things that were good:
Scrubby desert

Dunes! Did a couple of awesome dives and flips. Am still pulling sand out of my ears.

The other folks on my tour! This is me, Rob, and Joe, posing for our album cover. (we'd be named the Ambassadors of Morocco, but Joe's old band already has that name.) There were 8 people in our group, and I'm sorry to have missed the others in photos. Great mix of people from UK, France, Holland, Germany, and China. It's really the people who make the trip, and our group was no exception.
Also not pictured: our guides, Mr. Khan and Selim. They were wonderful too. Managing 8 tourists and 8 camels cannot be an easy task, especially when you're also setting up camp, cooking three meals, arranging mattresses and blankets, and building fires. And the language barrier was low enough that we could actually communicate sometimes as humans, not just customers.

Sunsets. Nights. All these things in nature, where I am not used to being. To quote the travel agent, Sebastian, at Ganesh Travels: "And you can sleep under the stars. Ohh, so beautiful!"

The camels! Riding was actually not bad, when we were walking. A little bouncy but you get used to it. Kind of calming, really. When we trotted a little bit, that's when it got tough. I don't know how camel riders ride fast for long distances. I really don't know how camel riders have children.

's about it for now. One of the better experiences I've had here in India. Otherwise I'm in Jaisalmer, which is pretty much a tourist town, with pretty heavy tourist-hustle, but it features this incredible fort.

Inside the fort, if you can get away from touts and find a nice place to watch the sunset, it's actually peaceful!

Practical tips about Jaisalmer: I stayed in the Artist Hotel, which was clean enough, had some plumbing issues, but friendly, and a ways north of the fort, for Rs300. Inside the fort, look for Kuku's Coffeeshop (near Hari Om Jewelers) and meet Deepu, as he is a friendly guy who can help you do whatever you need without getting conned. The Desert Eves Restaurant inside the fort is a nice place to sit for a while and use wi-fi on a rooftop.


  1. Dan you are making me antsy to get moving around in India again! Yeah Jaisalmer!

  2. The camels are so bizarre- but they're kinda cute....Would love more details about how you were sleeping and eating out there. More pictures, please! :-)

  3. Thought you were on Tatooine there until I saw the wind turbines. Awesome pictures from your phone; I showed helicopter where to find more photos. I'm no mama's boy.
    Enjoyed reading about the adventure. I hope you know how to hit and roll. It has saved me on many a bike ride.

  4. Love the camels! Papaya - very cute

  5. Dan, Your Dad steered me to your blog. What a great adventure. Loved your speculation about the children of camel riders. A friend of mine who rode camels in Egypt said that there they say, "Blessed are the Eunuchs, for they can ride camels."
    Beautiful pictures. This is a part of India that is not familiar to me at all. Or rather, it doesn't fit my stereotype of jammed cities (Calcutta), breathtaking mountains (Himalayas), exotic tropics (South).
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. helicopter: sleeping was pretty basic; they put down a bunch of thin mattresses in a line, put all the camel saddles and gear at the "head" side, and gave us each a blanket. Comfortable though (except cold). As for food, they'd make a little wood fire and cook a pot of some vegetables, then make a bunch of chapati (aka roti, basic bread). They also made a pot of chai with every meal. It is nice when you just wake up.

    Roger: hello! Great to hear from you. Yeah, India has so many worlds of its own, doesn't it? I was pretty unfamiliar with the deserts here myself. Hope all's well with you!