Saturday, March 24, 2012

Camel Safari Through the Desert

This was by far one of the best experiences because of what happened leading up to the safari. I was considering just booking a tour, but my host said he would take me via motor bike, which I obviously prefer compared to a jeep.

After having lunch with my Delhi friend and running around town talking to my local friends, I went home to meet my host. He briefly has a pep talk with me prior to going to make sure I am comfortable with going with him, which I definitely am. He is a very nice, trustworthy, happy person who I enjoy hanging out with. I leave with one bag and he leaves with zero bags(men). Motor biking there, he stops and gets a beer and drinks it while on the bike-India. We are passing by the desert camps and camels and my excitement begins to build. Only 5 kilometers to go. We keep riding and within seconds the tire starts to make a sound. Looking at one another, we both realize that something has just happened to the tire. The tire punctures and the bike comes to a stop.

This is definitely not my first bad episode on a motor bike. They either have no petrol, no sunglasses so they can not speed, or something happens on the road. It is perhaps a sign for me to stay off the motor bikes or be riding my OWN motorbike.

He feels bad and tells me he will quickly go the get it fixed and while he is gone I can start the safari.

First, I sit joking with the local camel men about creating a Bollywood themed camel ride(Bollywood music, camel riding, and a mini dance session at the end). I think it is a fabulous idea actually. After a bunch of chit chat, I tell them I would like to get moving. At first, they pick out a camel for me, but naturally I want to pick out my own camel. The camel I pick is the prettiest one dressed up in purple and pink. The camel boy is around 10 years old speaking little English, but full of energy. We walk with other groups towards the dunes. We run together with the camel a few times and I am quite entertained.

Camel riding towards the dunes, I am a bit lonely and wondering when my friend is going to come. Just in the knick of time he shows up and asks if I want to switch dunes to the other "bigger and better, less touristic dunes." "I have another camel ride set up for us there."

I agree with this idea, but am concerned about the sunset, but he says we have plenty of time. What happens after is just quite romantic and sweet. I am pouting because I really just wanted to stay put in my original touristic spot with my camel.

Trying to make me happy, he is racing towards the other dunes. These dunes are far out in the middle of the dessert where you have to motor bike through trees and dirt-it is quite challenging. My friend is trying to find the location quickly and at times the bike tips over from the dirt. Like a real man, he manually pushes the bike using the strength of his legs and arms. I see all his effort and I begin to step down from the Priscilla Pedestal.

We arrive and there is one small group from England there. My camel is waiting for me and off I go into the sunset riding. The camel is hesitant to go through the dunes, but I request the camel man to go deep through the dunes to enhance the experience and make me happy. Camel riding is great and I definitley like it better than elephant riding-more comfortable and exciting when you get to run on it(this does not happen with my dear elephants).

The sunsets and we drink chai, eat some veg. chili, chapati, and rice. The chapati boy is cooking chapati after chapati after chapati utilizing the small fire they created and one pan. The leader, Neru, was quite funny with his hospitality and broken English. Together we all sit by the fire, the sky is midnight blue with the brighest stars I have ever seen, we listen to Hindi music, and sip on Chai. There are black beetle bugs that keep coming out of the sand lightly tickling my skin. We sleep inside the sand dunes and wait for the sunrise. I awake in the morning to the camels eating their breakfast and Neru is cooking breakfast.
                              Precious moments I willl cherish...

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