On our way to a small town called Khuri, we passed a bunch of military vehicles with tanks on them. Our driver, Rana, casually mentions that he was watching the news last night and that a war between India and Pakistan is supposed to start at 4pm tonight. He then tells us that we should probably head back to Delhi. Rana jokes around with us a lot, but he was so convincing we weren't entirely sure… after several questions and 20mins later, he finally admits that it's just a joke… so we suppose that the tanks were just heading for the military base near Jaisalmer.
From Khuri, we were suppose to go on a 3 day / 2 night camel safari into the desert, but due to all of the tourists for Diwali, they couldn't get enough camels for us to do a full safari so it turned out to be more like a set of camel rides. But, we still had a great time - we rode camels, literally slept under the stars in the desert with no tents (just a bunch of blankets), and played around in the sand dunes :)
Here is more detail account of our adventures.
On our first day, we arrived in Khuri around 2PM, had lunch, and prepared for our outing. We left the compound around 4:30PM and rode camels for 45 minutes to the nearest dunes to see the sunset. Jen sorta got to "drive" the first camel, but we learned that they generally do not let you control the camels as they are really stubborn animals, so the other camels were strung and pulled behind one another. Riding camels turned out to be a pretty bumpy ride! It was fun, but for some of us it was also rather painful on the back and butt :). The sunset over the dunes was really pretty too - it was just unfortunate that this section of the dunes was really touristy and dirty with plastic bottles and other various bags/wrappers littered everywhere.
After returning from our sunset trip, we enjoyed dinner and a local music and dance performance. Oh.. and speaking of dinner.. on our drive to Khuri, our driver Rana ran over a bird. He actually stopped the car, backed it up, picked the dead bird up from the middle of the road, and threw it in the trunk with our bags. We found at dinner that he decided to cook and eat the road kill. He offered us a taste buuut.. well... we've been playing it safe and stick to a veggy diet while in India :).
Our second outing was by far more interesting than the first. After breakfast, we set out for a 3 hours ride to another set of dunes where we let the camels rest while we had a blast frolicking in the sand.
Let's just say that Guy was really entertaining... If you want to see a more elaborate version of his stunts, watch the video to get a glimpse:
Here is the video we of Guy:
We then returned to the compound for lunch and a nap. We were awoken suddenly with the manager who, without telling us what to bring, rushed us out to the camels to head out for a sleepover on the sand dunes. We "setup camp" an hour away, which basically involved laying blankets out on the sand.
Then our guides left with the camels (they had to go back to bring more tourists to see the sunset). While we were waiting, we played in the sand (again) and happened to pass by a group of tourists taking a photography course… they had hired some camels and riders as models for their course, so we took the opportunity to snap a few shots of our own :)
Here are some more fun sunset pics.
When the sun disappeared, our guides returned with dinner. We laid in our bed and watched the stars (wishing the manager had taken the time to tell us to bring warmer clothes..!) before falling asleep to a not so warm night.
The next morning, we woke up for sunrise and returned to the compound before driving to our next destination: Jaisalmer.
Lastly, if you ask Jen about what she liked best about this excustion, she will definitely say: "The baby camel!! It was sooo cute when it was following us around."…it was. You can't tell from the pictures, but that baby camel (the camel without a saddle) was only 3 months old. She followed us everywhere because one of the camels that we were riding was her mom :).