Trip to the Desert
Last weekend was such an incredible one! Where do I even start with this one? I honestly don’t even know; I think I’m just going to start typing until my brain starts recollecting memories and gets into the train of thought.
No, it’s not one of those moments where I’m struggling to recollect my thoughts due to an excessive indulgence in alcohol. I think just so much happened last weekend that my brain is still processing all of it. I will let the pictures do most of the talking on this blog.
This was one of those weekends I had limited knowledge of where I was going or what I was getting myself into. I guess that’s a perk of travelling as a group and having someone else book plane tickets and the trip. My job was simply just to show up (and pay for things, too, haha). What an excellent feeling, especially compared to all the structure and planning I usually do at uni. Our inside joke on this trip is, “don’t think; just follow.”
We boarded a SpiceJet flight from Mumbai to Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. This, however, was a flight like no other. The pilot on board narrated everything during the flight, like a tour guide. From describing what type of aircraft we were flying in (Boeing 737-800), to the type of fuel that it took (Jet A1) and describing local landmarks and the history of the towns below, all in perfect English. Honestly, I think he chose the wrong career, but maybe being a poet full-time didn’t appeal to him.
Anyways, we were lucky enough to get a chance to meet him after the plane ride; however, we weren’t allowed a picture with him as Jaisalmer Airport was an Indian Air Force base and photography was prohibited.
Instead, enjoy a photo of us in the sky (left: Tabby, Jana, me)
2nd picture: Mumbai from the sky
From the airport, we drove and checked into The Bordi, Jaisalmer.
1st Pic: Me on the bus with the crew
2nd Pic: The luxury camping hotel tents we stayed in
3rd Pic: Tabby super excited to check in at our desert hotel, the Bordi, Jaisalmer.
This was such a cool experience. Essentially these were luxury air-conditioned tents with a bathroom and shower, all in the middle of the desert.
Caption: Inside these luxury tents
That evening we went camel riding and watched the sunset in the middle of the desert. It was so beautiful.
1st Pic: Me on a camel
2nd Pic: Me and old mate, with the sun setting behind us.
a snippet of us on the camels
That night, we made a spontaneous decision to go on a sand dune bashing on a dune buggy.
A local driver drove us up and down sand dunes at excess speeds through the middle of the night, all while we were bouncing around in the back of the truck.
We ended up stopping in the middle of the desert and stargazing for an hour.
Blurry Pics alert
1st Pic: 4wd buggy
2nd Pic: The Bordi Hotel sign at night
3rd Pic: low res photo taken while going at least 100km/h on a random desert road
The next day we travelled and checked in to our next location, Nachana Haveli Palace in Jaisalmer.
This was the home of the Prince of Jaisalmer, and Naveen, our local coordinator, just so happened to be best friends with the Prince…
We had a nice lunch at a close-by Rajasthani restaurant, and then during lunch, we had an impulsive idea to hire motorbikes and scooters to explore Jaisalmer.So we did exactly that; after lunch, we went to a local bike hire store and hired a scooter.
Definitely super different to riding in New Zealand. People do not follow road rules here. So riding on the road alone was definitely a breathtaking experience.
That evening we rode the scooter to a local lake for a scenic boat ride.
What Gadisar Lake looks like.
Sunset again, this time on a lake… So beautiful.
That same night, the Prince invited us to his rooftop restaurant for a function, unlimited dinner and drinks.
He told us stories about how he ran away from home and was nearly shot by his father, the King.
I was a good boy that evening and only sipped on lemonade, knowing what I had planned for tomorrow.
The Prince’s rooftop restaurant in his palace
The next day!
I was thrilled to have had a chance to ride even just a scooter in India, so I thought the evening before, why not hire a motorbike and take that for a cruise?
That morning, we went back to the local bike hire store and asked for their best bike.
Introducing the Royal Enfield Bullet, the most classy of Indian cruiser bikes.
1st: Royal Enfield Bullet
2nd: In front of Indian Army Base, next to a howitzer cannon
We met a few local friends the night before who agreed to ride with us for a local tour around the area.
We rode out to Bada Bag, royal cenotaphs located just north of Rajasthan.
Riding in Rajasthan, in the rural countryside, where the highways were wide and open and relatively empty, was exceptionally nice and enjoyable, compared to what I imagine riding in Mumbai, through congestion and heavy traffic, would be like.
1st: at Bada Bagh Royal Cenotaphs
2nd: Tabby being a passenger princess, smh get your own bike… jk
We then took the bike up Jaisalmer Fort for some last-minute shopping and then went to drop the bike back off.
We rushed back to the palace to pack our bags and say goodbye to the prince.
But before we left, he pulled me aside and complimented my Hunting and Fishing New Zealand shirt. He told me he, too, was an avid fisherman.
He gave me his number and told me that when I return to India next, we’ll go ride bikes and go fishing at his secret spot together.
Crazy. I know. The Prince of Rajasthan.
Us with the Prince (middle), you would never know just by appearance. Truly a humble, honest man
Thanks for reading! This is my last week here in India as I am writing this. I am honestly getting sad just thinking about leaving this beautiful place.
Jai Hind! (Victory to India!)