It’s a six hour drive to our next stop, Jaisalmer.
Gordon checks the route on his Ipad and it is one good straight road all the way.
We tell Joginder that we want no short cuts today.
He says the road is just 70 miles from the Pakistani border so it is used by the military all the time and they keep it in good shape. Indeed we pass miles and miles of military camps and airforce bases. It is an unwelcome reminder of how precarious relations with Pakistan are.
Jaisalmer itself is a delight. It’s centre is a huge fort built on a small hilltop. Work started on the fort in the 12th century making it the second oldest fort in Rajasthan. It is also the only fort to have a thriving town within its walls. In fact our hotel is built in the walls of the fort.
The scale of the fort is amazing
The streets inside the fort are too narrow for cars so we have to transfer to a Tuk Tuk. Tuk Tuk’s are not built for steep hills and with two of us and all Gordon’s suitcases it barely makes it to the hotel. As we make our way to our room the Fabulosity Meter starts ringing.
We had researched our hotel on line. It has just eight rooms and one of them has a balcony hanging out over the walls of the fort.
We had requested it, but didn’t know until this moment that we had got it.
The room, though small compared to the palaces we have been staying in, is so atmospheric
and we have our own sitting room
But it is the balcony
and the view from it that rocks the Fabulosity Meter off its feet
The town within the walls is packed with narrow streets filled with everything – people’s homes, the weekly wash, tiny stores packed with merchandise spilling out , motorbikes, dogs, cows and of course people
Even the milk man makes a daily delivery
The one thing that it lacks is a pooper scooper. They need a giant one. Like all Indian towns and cities, the cows and dogs wander freely leaving their signature everywhere. Cow dung is collected and dried and used to insulate the walls of houses. Plaster seems so much more preferable. But the cows produce the stuff far more quickly than it is collected.
In the streets you are assaulted by the merchants, by the noise, by the colors and most of all by the smells. But it is all part of the experience, and here in Jaisalmer the experience is mesmerizing.
Outside of the fort is the old town. Here the streets are a little wider,
but still not wide enough for cars.
The shopping and the people watching here is a little easier, as you are not relentlessly attacked by the merchants. But they do try and attract you with their hand made signs.
Women shop in a tiny store full of makeup
We also discover that the local school is having a “best dressed pupil” competion, and we meet several of the contestants as they make their way to school
But then there is the other side of the story, a young boy working the bellows for his father’s outdoor smithy.
At the end of a long day we find a great restaurant. Two musicians sit crosslegged on the floor, one plays an accordion like instrument while the other sings. The singer has a huge grin and a great personality. He frequently smiles and grins at us. Their music is good and he is fun.
We are having a good time.
After a few songs he gets up and comes over to us. He speaks very little English, but asks our names. He practices saying them, but gets an extra syllable in my name calling me Anderew.
We laugh a lot. He is delightful
He says that the next song is for us.
He starts singing
So maybe his future does not include song writing, but we love it. Nobody has ever written a song about us before