we agree to start early to avoid the heat of the day. Temps are still in the 30s!
Jaisalmer Fort is an imposing edifice rising out of the desert on a huge mound of sandstone. It is truly a living fort and has been lived in for many generations. Buildings are still being added to it. Through the main gate you enter a maze of streets and alleys where tuc-tucs & motor bikes squeeze past pedestrians. It is very lively and colourful. People bustling about and shopkeepers competing with each other for business.
We found a peaceful refuge for a cool glass of Lassi, the cheapest so far - 30 Rs, about 30p - in a rooftop cafe. We toured the sandstone fort which looks just like a massive sand sculpture! A quick visit to. haveli, a wealthy merchant's house before some lunch in. Local restaurant. Had to wait a bit due to a group of French tourists who had pre-ordered! C'est last vie!
Three of us, Babs, Mags & Sue, decide to return to shop in the streets of the bazaar so grab a Tuc-tuc. Over the bumps and ruts, squeezing through narrow twisting alleys we end up screaming like schoolgirls on a fairground ride! This only encourages our driver to drive more recklessly! Think he enjoyed it as much as us! A good 100 Rs worth!
Retail therapy was productive for all of us. Our return tuc-tuc journey was a bit more sedate as we were 5 passengers this time, having met up with Pat & Les.
Our much anticipated trip to the Sam Sand dunes and a camel cart ride to see the sunset over the dunes becomes an interesting experience! As we drive towards the dunes we begin to pass Camel Points - places to pick your camel! We realise we are not alone in this adventure. In fact far from it, as it is the equivalent holiday period of our school summer break!
We pick up 2 camel carts, 3 of us on each. Our camel cart sets off first & soon picks up speed. This is like a sandy re-run of the tuc-tuc ride. Only difference is we have Carlo the following camel breathing on us, literally! He is definitely within camel-spitting distance! More screams and hilarity until we reach our designated bit of dune!
Hawkers try & sell us drinks and locals want to dance & sing, for money of course. Although it is not quite what we expected it is good fun with a great party atmosphere. And it goes without saying, our celeb status means lots of waving and photos!
The sunset is a bit of a damp squib as it slips down into the haze rather than there being a stunning red sky. Also, nearby are regimented rows of holiday tents looking more like an army camp or refugee centre. Wouldn't fancy staying there!
Dinner is taken in the rooftop of Junction Palace, a restaurant off the beaten track. A good local meal in interesting surroundings to round off a fun day!