Friday, March 7, 2014
Just before 5 a.m. we arrived on the platform of the Jaisalmer train station. An exceptionally bubbly young man greeted us and had us jump in the back of a jeep. His compadre drove us ten minutes down the dark quiet streets of Jaisalmer to Shahi Palace.
We were told we could sleep on the rooftop until the sun came up and then we would be shown to a room. We loved it up there and would have been happy spending the next two nights on that bench staring up at the stars.
The sun slowly rose behind the fort and provided a brilliant show as we excitedly watched, guessing what our experience would be in the new city.
By noon we were showered with the hotel sales pitch. We were shown a room for 1500 rupees, which we politely declined. We weren’t in Jaisalmer for the hotel, we were in Jaisalmer to do a camel safari and sleeping under the stars in the desert was really our only priority.
After asking for the cheapest room, were were taken down the street to another building and reminded the room cost only 350 rupees ($5.70) per night, so we braced ourselves for the worst.
The door opened to one of the most sparkling clean beautiful rooms yet!!
Beyond ecstatic about our accommodation, we happily set out to explore the desert city of Jaisalmer.
James was ready to checkout of India for a day, but I insisted he come explore with me. I liked how relatively small the golden city was compared to others like Delhi or Mumbai, or as intense as Varanasi. The small confusing fort is basically a desert fort version of Venice.
Jaisalmer seemed to strike a good balance of quiet and crazy.
The day was spent walking around the streets and inside the fort. Jaisalmer Fort is one of the oldest in the world, and apparently it’s not aging well.
No wonder since the interior is a bustling world of its own. There are 3000 people living there, excluding the cows, goats and donkeys. Not to mention the flocks of tourists zipping around the winding streets and popping in and out of the hundreds of tiny shops.
I liked it. Okay, I loved it. It’s basically a massive market!
We spent the day wandering through the fort and city. We ended up eating at some random rooftop restaurant where we were able to barter down the menu prices.
I swear I can imagine us at home, trying to barter prices in Nordstrom and storming off with one ear open waiting for them to call us back with their revised price.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
James decided to sit the day out and hang at the hotel rooftop for some peace and quiet.
I decided I wanted to go explore the small city and wander aimlessly around. I ended up walking through the streets, of course managing to buy a leather bound, Ganesh printed journal which I have yet to find a suitable purpose for.
I swear I don’t know how this happens, but I also ended up with a new pair of pants and some drawer knobs.
In the late afternoon I found a perfect seat on top of a lookout point on the fort and was perfectly content sitting quietly on the fort and watching the animated scenes unfold below my feet.
Afterward I met up with James on the rooftop at Shahi as I lounged in my new pants watching the sun cast its amber glow onto the golden fort.
Later we headed back to our little annex down the street, dodging about 12 cows, four pigs, two goats along the way. Excitedly we packed our bags for our three day camel safari that would start in the early morning the following day!
Sunday, March 9, 2014