Safari Sa-good-i in the Thar Desert

The only other desert I'd ever experienced before was Atacama, in Chile. Duncan too. Red, very dry, one oasis town after miles and miles of nada, volcanoes as a backdrop. The Thar Desert, in comparison is yellow, lots of green bushes and the odd tree, very flat, endless wind farms, a fair few villages and we stopped at a small lake en route to our destination.

In Atacama, Duncan rode a horse with a snowboard (read: sand-board) strapped to it, using the horse as a kind of sand dune lift - a story he's retold here now about 10 times and counting. I rode a 4x4.

Duncan rocking a turban
In the Thar Desert we rode camels. Mine was called Ratia and liked to lead. Duncan can't remember what his was called but maybe Shit would be a good name. It attracted a lot of flies.

From left: Ratia and Shit
When camels walk they move both legs on one side of their body and then the other, swaying from side to side rather exaggeratedly. Known as "ships of the desert" they walk in a line, a camel train, very close to each other and they fart, a lot. They are also very wide. About double the width of a horse. Thank Shiva, Brahma, Ganesh, any Lord that we only went for the day and a half safari than the longer ones on offer, it was painful. Even more so for the men on our trip and I'll leave the reasons why to your imagination.

But all in all it was a wonderful experience. Our guides Jonny and Jonny Mark II were very good guides and even better cooks. Their fire starting skills put Bear Grylls to shame (cue The Prodigy). They could also sing a song or two (no Prodigy tunes, but sadly a shameful tourist had taught them Barbie Girl).

We were accompanied by fellow backpackers Janna and Freddy from near Hamburg who we think felt the pain as much as we did.

They also got the same mind-numbing effect from the bhang cookies we ate at sunset. Unfortunately not much conversation happened after that, a shame as we'd all been getting on rather well. We all went rather quiet and extremely shy when it was our turn to sing a campfire song. Freddy boldly sang a German nursery rhyme and the only thing we could come up with was 'Animal Fair' which i'd had stuck in my head since going to the camel fair. I blame the cookies.

Bhang silence

And so to bed, we slept under the stars, on camp beds. The Milky Way looked truly amazing. We were a little cold, but what an experience. Fortunately the effect of the bhang cookies had worn off by the next morning and we were back to our usual talkative selves. To our relief the ride back to the village and our jeep pick up was only about an hour and a half. And almost as unforgettable as the safari was the jeep ride at 100km p/h back to Jaisalmer... We survived.


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