After the Camel Fair a few of us had not had enough of the beasts, or at least the opportunity they provide for getting out into the desert.
Our original plan was to take camels from Jodhpur out on a journey to Jaisalmer which is really far away from anywhere. Due to some time pressure for Esther and speaking to a friend of a friend we were talked in to taking the camels from Pushkar to Jodhpur, a route that proved rather hazardous.
Before I start recalling some of the calamaties that befel us, let me say that I did enjoy the trip, it was great fun and done with great company but it could have been even better for reasons I’ll explain. I don’t feel particularly attached to the camels but being outside for almost a whole week was pretty cool.
Day One we were picked up by Dharmo on his motorbike without brakes and taken to his house where we were immediatley surprised by how small the camel cart was and how packed it already was with camel grass (feed). We crammed in four big backpacks and our other stuff along with food and cooking pots, covered it all with thin duvets/blankets and pondered how we would also fit.
After a spot of lunch at the house we set off full of excitement but slightly dubious about just how professional this outfit was. (NB it wasn’t)
Riding on the cart could be comfortable if you had it set up in the right way, which for the most part we didn’t due to being rushed in the morning and while Thomas always seemed to be able to find his comfy spot I was often either half hanging off the side balancing precariously or sitting on something hard and not designed for the purpose.
The first few hours passed pleasantly as we trundled through dirt roads past farms and small settlements.
I tried riding a camel, first with Koen, who seemed to have the knack. I was sat up front and hadn’t really got to grips with sitting up so high or understanding how to control the direction with the reigns, let alone keeping watch for potential hazards, before I managed to ride us into one of the really spiky trees that the camels love to eat. We rode straight on through the branches, with one large one nearly knocking us off and I got properly served in the face with a large scratch above my eye and on my ear lobe and several more on my arms and hands. Luckily, Koen is a nurse and just happened to have a bandage handy.
This wasn’t to be the last injury on day one though, my laptop bag was secured to one of the side poles of the cart by an unbreakable metal tie, or so I thought. Stupidly really, after a scare in the morning where it slipped, I should have moved it somewhere more secure. Anyway, I didn’t, and the next thing it was lying on the floor, tie snapped and covered in dust.
When we got to camp I discovered its contents hadn’t held up too well. My laptop was well and truly knackered, the screen bent in an angle it shouldn’t be and the base not any better, although I hold out hope the hard drive may be salvageable.
After Tushita, I could only think to look on this as a test of attachment and I meditated on it that evening after yoga, rather than get upset about it. I was getting fed up carrying my heavy laptop around, it was old and would need replacing when I got home anyway etc etc.
Slightly harder was the loss of my mp3 player, again, the HD actually works but the display is gone, and since it’s touch screen that renders it useless as a player. Finally, and equally as annoying, my camera was also gone, the SD card is ok but the screen was no good.
Travelling without a camera or music could be a real issue but the meditation worked and I was able to come to terms with the loss without any real distress.
That night in camp was really damp as well with the blankets saturated, leaving us tired and cold.