Day 3 : Jaisalmer, India

Holy cow (hahahahahahahahaah)! 

Wow, only a few days here and already so much to tell. After we left Bombay, we caught a flight to the state of Rajasthan. It is the largest State in India, in the north west corner of the country.  Most of the area is comprised of the Great Indian Desert (The Thar desert). The city of Jaisalmer is our first stop; a desert city - 

(add train picture)

We took the night train (a 7 hour ride) booking the sleeper car only to set ourselves up all cozy in the wrong car. The military car! Machine guns and all. (Buy the way Jaisalmer is about 20 miles from our good friends in Pakisthan). There is no shortage of military jets flying over patrolling the "line of control". Needless to say it didn't take long to pack up and find the correct sleeper car - even though none of the slodiers spoke English - guns speak the universal language of "get the hell out of my bed".

We stayed in the Jaisalmer fort in an old Havali (mansion) which is over 500 years old.

Jaisalmer fort at night. Jaisalmer fort is the second oldest in Rajasthan. Two hundred and fifty feet tall and reinforced by imposing crenellated sandstone wall 30 feet high; it has 99 bastions, 92 of which were built around 1633. 1/4 of the old city's population resides within the fort. and as a Tourist - or a Guest, there are loads of Guest houses to stay in.
Better safe than sorry. B getting into our room with the 17th century bolt lock - pesky rusty skeleton key and all.
The bedroom ... which use to be a hallway so it has windows all along both sides. Kind of funky, but that is what we love about staying in places like this.
The outside of our Guest House. They converted a lot of the old mansions (Havali) and Royal homes in to hotels, Hostels and Guest houses.
The living room section to our $7 a night room. Old white washed clay and stone walls still have a lot of the original gold leaf paint on them. It looks dirty, but its just old and warn through to the stone.
View from the rooftop of our Guest house (Those aren't Brian's panties). If you are a nerd of of cross-cultural merging, the subtle fusion of Rajput and Islamic architectural styles, visible in this fort, will catch your fancy. Someone had to tell US hehe.

In medieval times, Jaisalmer continued to be on the focus of the masses because of its location. It falls in the way of one of the two routes, which connected India from Persia, Egypt, Africa and the west.

Inside the Fort walls are many converted old mansions (Havali.) My are now hotels, Hostels and Guest houses run by families who also live there.
Oh, just burning a little time... We love this randomness of India. Its like this non-stop.
I just love these guys and their goat. People will just stop you constantly. They love to prctice English on yu, shake your hand and see pictures of themselves on a camera screen. Its the most fun place to interact with locals.
See how lucky you are kids? Instead of school, these kids have JOBS! You've got one sorting inventory on the roof even.
One of many 7-11's. No corn dogs though...we looked. We got water and snacks from this guy every day for 3 days. We did become a little addicted to the Masala flavored potato chips.
For some reson - EVERYONE is obsessed with the red glasses! Bri and his homies. Everyone wanted to try them on AND get their picture taken with them on.
Additions to the christmas card list of 2007. Had us take about 20 pictures of them so they could see...funny. These guys were dragging in family members left and right to get them into the pic too.

If you venture outside the walls of the Fort you experience a different vibe for sure. Daily life ensues and you get a better fell for local life on a day to day basis. White Blonde tourists are a rarity and a interest to many. The smallest things we do draw a crowd. We are constantly being mobbed by people to take our picture (alone and with them), asking to shake our hands and to know about us.  Really strange. We drew a crowd just for buying a bell. Not much of a melting pot in India. Don't see too many blondes here. Brian is commonly mistaken for Brad Pitt (hahahahahahaha) but he isn't insulted at all! I was asked If I knew Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton. They are also familiar with U2, Metallica and best of all, Bon Jovi (which we're sure Floyd Lloyd Boyd would appreciate the hair band knowledge).

Its no myth. Cows truly lay around here like stray dogs. We actually saw one giving a dog a tongue bath.  Already some firsts. We tempted the toilet Gods and drank scary milk boiled in a huge pot in the street and Marisha walked right onto an open air public toilet while some guy was "relieving" himself. The streets are just so crowded you done know what is what. Its just Crazy here. 

A typical street outside the Fort.
"Amazingly comfortable" - says Brian
Trio - Nutella and Banana Pancakes! Good god there is nothing like Nutella when you are trevelling - Don't know what it is, but it tasts so much better than at home. mmmmmmmm
This is how they make the milk-licious drink we had. Lassi. Boils for 24 hours.. It is a popular and traditional yogurt or milk-based drink flavored with spices and sugar and topped with a thin layer of clotted cream. It originates in the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan. mmmm delicious curtle
'Trio' is one of the most famous restaurants serving authentic Rajasthani cusienes. This unassuming eatery, with its open walls and thin cotton flaps providing a welcome through-breeze (not to mention views of the town and the maharaja's palace) is Jaisalmer top restaurant and one of the best in Rajasthan.
The view from Trio "dining room"
Leavig Trio from our breakfast that morning. We hit a ittle cow cridlock. Like Ihop on a sunday morning on Mothers day.

As part of the Brian and Marisha bucket list - We took a camel safari in the desert, rode some camels in the Thar desert. Was a trip. At the end of the day we got to watch the sunset in the sand dunes. On our way out there we stopped in a few desert villages to get invited into a family home where we got to see their house and take some pictures. You'll see some of the kids.

We'll try and update as often as we can. There is a camel out back running on a wheel to run this connection......slllooowww!


It is said while in Rome do as the Romans do. So, why opt for an SUV when you have a camel instead. I mean we are in india. Our Desert Camel guide. He looks so wise and seasoned.
Brian and Daniel. He's a natural. It is a lurching ride - so more than day would be rough without some conditioning. It would have been cool to get deeper into the desert though.
Again we had a guide all to ourselves. He brought to his village, introduced us to his family and we got to go in and see their house. His mom made us Chai , it was Super cool.
B and I with Daniel and Papu. Start of our camel day. We're trading in our mountain bikes for some of these! (nice socks!) You can take a safari anywhere from 1 day (our choice) to 7 days - or longer ones up to a month.
Camel toe. Oh come on now, you knew this was coming.
One of the village children getting "dotted" with a smiley face. No Geoff - Moorish did not steal her dot". Again, we love to bring stickers to offer the local kiddos, instead of candy. A lot of travelers bring pens now, but we like stickers because most kids dont even kow what they are. its fun.
Again we had a guide all to ourselves. He brought to his village, introduced us to his family and we got to go in and see their house. His mom made us Chai , it was Super cool.
Brian and the village kids. Discussing Dividend Capital's recent IPO... and stickers.
Our guide's Dad and Mom in Their living room. It is in the That desert, so no roof needed. They do most of their main living outside in a walled area. The main house has 1 room.
One of the village Cuties.
This guy was given this huuuge belt buckle by a traveler at some point and he wears it every day. It could tip him over and he is so proud of it.
Last stop of the Camel tour - the Khuri Sand dunes for sunset.
On our way back to Jaisalmer we Pitstopped at a temple. We didnt get the name..... Super amazing detail in the carved limestone. its crazy. You can stare at it all day - because its amazing they can even do that.
The Khuri Sand dunes. And out of nowhere, selling beer out of a backpack, this guy shows up. .. like a mirage.
Gadsisar Lake. Just on the outskirts of the Fort. Contrary to the popular belief, it is not an oasis but a water conservation tank made around 1400 A.D. by the then maharaja of Jaisalmer.Lots of temples and shrines surrounding the lake too.

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