So last night was a bit fucking cold, wasn’t it?! I’d rugged up in woolly socks, a singlet, base layer, shirt, hoody, scarf and a thermal sleeping bag liner underneath my thick blanket and I still felt like my snot was freezing inside my nostrils. I’d even cocooned inside the blanket after abandoning the idea of falling asleep whilst watching the stars because I didn’t want my eyelids to seize up but somehow the cold still got in. Fuck my life, Nepal is going to kill me.
Only me and Jill were up in time for sunrise which, as it usually is, was a stunning affair, and I finally got my camel silhouette photo I’d been coveting. Seriously, you can’t claim you’ve been on a camel trek until you’ve got a photo of a camel in front of the rising or setting sun. It’s the rules. I also decided I wanted a silhouette photo of me and a camel so I handed my camera to Jill and wandered over and stood in front of a particularly large one who was happily munching on bushes. He stopped chewing and looked directly at me like he wanted to gouge out my eyeballs and spit in the holes. Alright, grumpy chops! Fine! I turned and bolted with all the dignity of one who has just been non-verbally threatened by something a lot larger than oneself with massive teeth and an ability to projectile bile right at your face.
Oh and just a heads up if you decide to go mincing around the scrubland. Maybe wear sandals or some shit. There are these little prickles whose sole purpose in life is to embed themselves into your flesh and cause you the maximum amount of pain possible. It’s what they do and they do it well.
Anyway, breakfast occurred, the desert heated up as quickly as it had cooled down, layers were stripped off and we were back on the camels.
Today I figured out that camels will only listen to their drivers and have exactly fuck all interest in anything anyone else has to say. I spent a good two minutes this morning, sat astride Simon, begging him to stand up. I tried everything.
“Get up, Simon. Simon, get up. Please get up. Come on. Come on, Simon. Get up. Please. Get up.” God help me, I even tried it with an Indian accent but he stubbornly remained in the sand, twitching his ears, not moving. Abdullah wandered past, didn’t even look at him, just casually said in a low voice, “Get up, Simon.”
Simon got up.
Alright, Mister Attitude. Have it your way. Fucker.
Today was uneventful but on account of the fact the wind turbines weren’t far away, we’d pretty much worked out that most of the trekking we’d done yesterday was an illusion. They could lead us in circles around the desert all fucking day and we’d have no idea if we were walking distance from the start point or halfway to Jodphur but we were cool with this. We got our trek, we spent the night in the desert as promised, we didn’t care about the actual distance from Jaisalmer. I reckon they just lead the caravan in the appropriate sized circle depending on the speed of the group and how much sitting on a camel the individuals can handle.
At one point we stopped at a well to water the camels but this involved actually pulling water from the well. The blokes were enlisted to help. They had to grab the rope and run with it a good few metres, pulling the bucket up far enough for the water to be tipped into a trough for the camels to drink from. They had to do it quite a few times top quench the camels’ thirst an all. I stood back and tried to work out if running through sand in direct, desert sunlight would be worth it “for the experience” before deciding probably not. Watching camels suck water was better.
And with regards to the sucking water thing, when I was in Sawai Madhopur chatting to Shaan, the hotel owner, he told me that we know humans aren’t not meant to eat meat because we suck water. Dogs and cats, true carnivores, lap water but herbivores suck water. Since he told me that I’ve noticed he’s right. Cows suck water, camels suck water, humans suck water. I mean, don’t get me wrong, whether we’re meant to eat meat or not I’m still gonna consume dead stuff at every available opportunity. I enjoy eating meat. I love chicken and bacon and chicken wrapped in bacon and steak and sausages. I don’t think we’re meant to drink Jägermeister either but I don’t plan to give that up any time soon ay.
We stopped for our vegetarian lunch under a tree again, the kid wrestled himself a goat or two and milked them then they dumped the milk into the pan they were making the chai in. Hmm. Were they going to feed that to us? Was that safe? Then we figured we’d probably already been fed boiled goats milk on this trip already so hey, fuck it, we weren’t dead yet.
Oh my god, and once we got going again and were getting near to the waiting jeeps they got the camels to trot. They’d linked the four of us together for this final leg (the others were doing another night) and we must have been on a deadline because they sped them up into what passes for a jog in camel land which resulted in four pained tourists wailing, “Gaahhh!! Fuuuuck!! Stop!! Stop running!!” My legs, guys. My inner thighs were well and truly tenderised.
So I feel like I have the mother of all groin strains and I appear to have a small percentage of the Thar Desert lodged in my nasal cavities. My bogies consist entirely of sand. I have way more camel silhouette photos than any one person needs and I think I nearly froze to death last night but was it worth it? Oh fuck, yes! It was amazing to sleep outside and I haven’t seen stars like that in way too long. I fucking love nature. Love it. I think I need to do some more trekking but on my own two callused and bunioned footsies, and probably not in the desert. And for anyone thinking of doing more than two days on a camel? Fair play to you, dude. But don’t blame me if your adductors never forgive you.