The Shimmer of Jaisalmer

Trip Start Dec 18, 2013
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Trip End Jan 03, 2014


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Where I stayed
Desert View Hotel

Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Saturday, December 28, 2013

No Passport
I had a chance to befriend the Nepalese kitchen hand at Discovery, who had prepared all my meals ordered at the rooftop restaurant. A petite young fellow who wouldn't look more than 15 years of age is actually 21 years old this year. 

A very cheery and friendly kid. He came over to Jodhpur with no money in his pocket 2 years ago. Now helping out at Discovery kitchen, he gets paid 500 Rs a month which is basically peanuts but provided with free lodging and 3 meals a day. 

He cooked a really good mutton curry with pulao yesterday for my lunch. But his pastas were really just whipped up with tomato sauce and chilli powder. He knew about Singapore and has big dreams to go work in Tokyo. I asked about how he plan to get there. He just shrugged and flashed me a toothy grin, then he revealed that he actually has no passport.
 
So I bought my 250 Rs bus ticket to Jaisalmer and made my way to the main bus station by autorickshaw for 100 Rs. The price value of the 2 fares just didn't make sense at all. It is a bit like my AUD$60 taxi fare from city to Melbourne airport for a AUD$50 single domestic flight to Tasmania. Go figure! 

Bus Rescue
The 5.5 hours bus journey through the dry arid desert started quite comfortably. An hour into the ride, the bus had to rescue all passengers from an earlier bus which had an accident. Everyone including foreign travellers were squished into every available space possible. 

Just so happened I struck up a conversation with a middle aged Belgian traveller from the first bus. A music teacher/therapist who was working with the disabled in Kathmandu, Nepal for 5 years before being kicked out by the corrupted maoist government. Or rather he refused to pander to their demands so he had to leave. 

Now backpacking India, and planning his next career move. Stories like these are hard to come by, especially when it happended on a crowded stuffy bus in the middle of the Indian desert.

Desert View Hotel
It was guesthouse touts' playground the moment I stepped off the bus at Jaisalmer. Disorientated, a driver offered a free pickup to his guesthouse and I can walk away should I not be happy with the room. So I blindly followed. 

Desert View Hotel turned out to be alright. Located at the southern end of the Jaisalmer Fort, it is only 15 mins walk uphill to the 1st Gate of the fort. The only disadvantage being far away from the the main city action that is Ghandi Chowk, located northeast of the fort. 
 
Vegetarian Korean Food
Desert View Hotel, run by a free spirited Korean lady, had something special to offer - Korean food and homemade kimchi. Even the indian helpers there speak korean with the owner. I had been laying off curries for a few meals now. 

The italian and chinese dishes on every menus were frankly speaking, horrendous. The avail of korean food was very welcomed initially, although the menu list was limited. I tried the cold kimchi noodle which was a terrible idea. Again, a fully vegetarian menu.
 
Jaisalmer Fort 
Headed up to the fort at 3pm. Although significantly smaller that the earlier forts in Rajasthan, Jaisalmer Fort is actually quite an interesting place to explore. Its labyrinth networks of tiny passageways branch out to various directions where sometimes you would find a nondescript guesthouse or sometimes a dead end with a cow staring back at you. 

The more adventurous would definitely find themselves perched on one of the many canon bastions around this fort, ready for the golden sunset over the shimmering desert. In the distance, one can easily spot endless rows of wind turbines like trees swaying in poetry. 
 
Cow's Revenge
Made my way down to Ghandi Chowk shopping strip for a bit of a wander and wandered onto my first pile of manure. I had taken pains avoiding every manure minefields in every city and this just broke my record. This was no tiny little poop. It was a heap of sticky playdoh and I had half of my left shoe buried in it! 

Extra efforts was taken to rinse my shoe off with puddles of water on the street, only to plunge the same shoe into my second pile of manure a minute later. Found a leaking pipe on the wall of a shop and proceeded to jab the shit off the sole on the rocky concrete pavement. The shop owner saw me, came out and teased this brilliant one liner "You eat beef yes? This is the cow's revenge!" We both laughed.
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