From My Recent Journey In India
Jaisalmer, January, 2007
When you talk about Camel Safaris in India, you're talking about Jaisalmer.
It's a quiet place compared to Jaipur but what I really notice is the underlying tension here. We are very close to the Pakistan border and the police are always on the lookout for terrorists who want to slip over the border to India. I learned here that you don't fool around when you fill in those boring three pages of forms to sign in at a hotel. The manager told me they can be fined five hundred rupees if the forms are filled in wrong.
Our safari costs $45 each per day, each plus another $15 for beer and chicken. The beer is ice cold when it was packed but after a day in the hot desert it's pretty warm. Also you should consider the fact that it is shaken all day as it rides on the camel. So the only time it really is good to drink is in the morning when it has had a chance to cool down and stay still. Unfortunately, I'm just not a drink -beer-in-the-morning kind of guy. The other thing is the chicken. I just never thought of how chicken could be kept fresh while we travel. Nourah offered to let me wring it's neck. I know it's hypocritical to pretend chicken doesn't die for my plate, but I like to try. I feel like a murderer when (Harvey) [never name the food] is killed for our dinner. Some say that one overnight is enough but I love having 2 nights under the stars. I recommend the three day trek. You also go further into the desert that way. It is all set up in a loop. Nourah offers to show us the villages but we usually say no. Most of them are just tourist traps so that they can beg for your money and sell you trinkets. We prefer to just see nature and enjoy the peace and quiet. Another thing to check on is the number of people on a trek. We really lucked out because it is only Aw and me. Make sure you get your own camel. Don't let them put two on a camel. I also talked to some people who said they had a camel driver who spoke no English. It's great when Nourah is able to tell us about the desert. One more thing. We're here in January. By April, the desert is too hot for travel. But you know what? You can take all the precautions you like. You can still end up on a Trek you didn't agree to. This is India. Sometimes it's a great experience, like ours is. Sometimes it's not.