February 24, 2013 by brasiersarah
Our sights had been set on Jaisalmer long before arrived in India. It was one of the only places that we knew we wanted to go to on specific dates as after doing some research back in Australia we discovered the esteemed desert festival was to be celebrated from Feb 23-25. So with landing in Delhi on the 15th and needing to be in Jaisalmer on the 22nd, we just needed to fill in the gaps from there.
It was our first experience with a website you may or may not have heard of before called ‘couch surfing’. Its more or less a global traveling network where people have a profile and can choose to host people or surf on their couches for free. It’s also used just to meet up with people and other fellow travelers.
Anyway this was our first couch surfing experience and it couldn’t have been better! We arrived in the early hours of the morning after a 12 hour bus journey on a bus with a ridiculous horn which the driver was not shy about honking persistently through the night. at 7am our bus arrived and Dev our host sent someone to come and get us.
We arrived at a hotel not really knowing what to expect and we were given a room in the hotel to sleep in and shower in untill Dev arrived to meet us.
Turns our Dev and his brothers owned about 4 Hotels in Jaisalmer. They were a jolly bunch of guys always ready for a joke. Dev said business was good for them, they had the room either in their hotels or at home, so he got on the couch surfing network to make friends with travelers who were coming to India.
So we more or less were able to stay in the unoccupied rooms of their hotel and at their family home free of charge! What a deal hey? More than that, we got to really experience a jam packed Indian home, 8 rooms, 12 (very curious) little children, 3 brothers and 3 wives (or something like that)? And we met some really great people like Dev who we shared great conversation and experiences with over our 5 days in Jaisalmer.
Every night there would be someone sitting on the roof top and Dev would light a fire up there for us all to sit and chat around.
Other perks included free “how to tie a turban” Seminars held on the rooftop (run by Dev and Sunni his brother) informally for all the foreigners of us who were keen to take the title in the turban tying competition at the Desert Festival
THE DESERT FESTIVAL
Piglet entering himself in the turban tying comp. Didn’t come first, second or third. But this picture could be interpreted otherwise. 10 points for effort 🙂 it was a fine turban, stayed on all day.
Then about 10 Indian’s surrounded him, wanting to take pictures with “the white guy wearing a turban”. I often wonder how many pictures there are of us floating around in India, what do they do with them I wonder? “Hey! Here’s a picture of me with this random white skinned individual I saw at the Taj Mahal, we have no connection what so ever aside from that were both in this picture” said the Indian man to his Indian friend.
Anyway, we don’t mind too much, it makes us feel like superstars so whatever!
One of the many examples of what happens when an Indian person sees you have a camera. Typically they request that you take their picture…. a lot of them ask to wear our sunglasses in the picture….. and then some of them try to charge you 10 rupees for the pleasure of doing so. This girl didnt, she just liked the interaction. Quite lovely.
Mr Desert 2013! “my beardspiration” (A. Dols 2013)
Once again they saw I had a camera and pleaded I take their picture. It’s a shame Indians tend to be rather straight faced in pictures as it doesn’t reflect very well the smiles, laughing and gestures of the whole situation, they really love being photographed!
This dude was onto it, unsuspectingly asked for his picture to be taken and proceeded to ask for 10 rupees. It was somewhere around this time Rhidian and I considered starting to charge INDIANS who wanted to take OUR picture (of which happens no less than 10 times a day on average if you’re sight seeing). Not a lot of money admittedly, so i gave it to him…. but its the principal you know.
SECOND DAY AT THE FESTIVAL
These are some of the most uncomfortable specimens you will every come across. I felt like it was my first night in a maximum security prison. We were sentenced to 2 days of imprisonment on the beasts and they left us with one hell of a walking stance.
A camel bak on a camel’s back! What are the odds? Well let me tell you this was no unplanned phenomenon it was the genius of a certain long haired fellow.This man was just a simple man herding his flock of sheep. Until his phone rang! Man it really takes takes out of it when you’re on a camel safari with nothing but nature in a desolate wasteland aaaannnnnnd someone’s phone rings.Sunrise on the dunes.