Khuri to Jaisalmer to Jodhpur
26th Oct to 27th Oct 2016
After our massive, and for me, emotional day yesterday, we were pretty tired. We slept well in our sleeping bag liners, in our desert tent. It was already hot when we got up for breakfast, but the boys had started a game of cricket. We shuffled in for some boiled eggs and toast, then had plenty of time to relax and take in the desert scene before us. Only a short ride today. So once packed, we head over to the bikes, and I’m back on board. One of the bikes had some new decorations, and a new nickname.
Today’s ride was mostly just rough road, and sweeping good road, through the Thar Desert, and the Sundha Mata Conservation Reserve. This desert is 85% in India and the rest is in Pakistan. It is also the 17th largest. It was a very different ride, with rolling sand dunes, flat plains, dust, camels, dust, blaring sun, and did I mention dust?
In the middle of nowhere, a boom gate. We must pay. We could just ride around it, but okay!
The guys were all very chilled today, having come off of their adrenaline high from yesterday, and we all enjoyed some good Indian Thumbs Up (made by Coca Cola) and Indian flavoured crisps, at our first Chai stop. Now there is a taste sensation. Words would never do them justice, something you just need to try. The cookies, on the other hand, are awesome.
We rolled into Jaisalmer at lunch, and pulled up at some dodgey looking place, not far from our hotel. Coming into the city, we past some beautiful, newish looking buildings, with huge canons out front. This is an army/airforce base. Lots of military vehicles and men in uniform. Before food, I had to pee, so after asking, I was directed to the public facility around the corner. Uh oh, here we go, I thought, been lucky up till now, but I’ve heard the stories about these Indian public toilets…… I was told it would be 5Rps, so I took 10. Walked around the corner, a pretty lady greeted me, told me 5, I gave her 10, the grumpy looking, fat man took it, grunted and pointed me through. I went right, he grunted again, shook his head and indicated left. Now I was nervous! I looked in, a squatter, okay, reasonably clean (well no visible poop). I did what I needed to, without incident, went to wash my hands….no water….uugghh! Lucky I have my stash of wipes and hand sanitiser.
Our lunch stop, always with a cow!
After the usual lunch, we rolled around the corner to a gorgeous Havali. This was luxury, with stairs, of course. We were all tired and hot, so retired to our rooms to chill and blog, and Facebook. The Internet was terrible, so we decided to go check out the Fort. We’d heard there was the best coffee in India here, which we were all missing, and there were rumours of a Bhang Shop (marijuana is allowed in India if you don’t do it in public), that we wanted to see for ourselves. We tried walking, but Madam Google is a bit messed up here, and we got a bit lost. Tuk Tuk time! We haggled a price and got a ride to the main gate. We had no idea where, or what the coffee place was called, but we found Kuku Coffee Shop, which had a very nice man, a magnificent panoramic view, and good coffee. Didn’t find any Bhang Shop! So we walked back, following Gaz and Daz, and miraculously didn’t get lost in the maze of alley ways and markets.
After we got lost, rode a Tuk Tuk, got harassed by touts, this was the place to sit.
Will and Darren saw many Indian men holding hands. They thought they’d try it. Until they found out it meant that if Will died, Darren would have to marry me. He reckons he couldn’t handle another wife…..chicken! It is a sign of friendship here.
Definitely time to relax on the roof top, with a cold drink and just enjoy the sunset. Jaisalmer is actually very nice. Lots of beautiful stone work, cows everywhere, a bit touristy, but not obnoxious. The Fort is fantastic, about 3000 people still live inside it, generations on.
We found the spot, and settled in. Great views, Hindi pop music, and the sunset.
The next day, our last day riding on this tour, was going to be a long one. 320kms, which in India, with Chai stops, is at least an 8hr day. We didn’t leave super early, and it was already looking like it was going to be a hot one. But we were all in good spirits, although some where not in the best health. About half the group had some trouble during the tour, and a couple were feeling it today. Not that it had stopped anyone from riding at all.
I can’t say that the scenery was super today, but it was a different view of Rajasthan again. Long stretches of straight road, with lots of fuel stations, and what looked like truck stops. Lots of agriculture, crops and bloody cows. With the intercom, the guys were in front mostly, and all we got was “cows on the left”, “cows on the right”, “cows on the road, coming at you”, “goats, goats, goats”. All day long. Add to this, “crazy bus coming at us on our side of the road, go left, left, left”, and with the 40+ temp, it was a very exhausting day.
Chai, rest and fuel. It was hot and dusty.
A couple of Chai stops, a dubious lunch stop, and about 70 kms to go. We were all feeling fatigued and just wanted to get there. About 50 kays to go, and Gary was out of fuel, so we pulled into a fuel station for a top up, to get us through. Naim was keen for another Chai stop, but as a group, we all said NO! We battled through some seriously crazy, dusty, shitty traffic and roads, to the outskirts of Jodhpur, which looks like a more modern, industrial city, before pulling over to do the group up behind the bus manoeuvre. I have to say, that when we do this, something switches on in your mind, and you have no choice but to be aggressive and forceful. It’s full on, close, staggered, full horn blaring fun. I really like it, and it is a surprise to me.
Poor Will had a number “2” toilet need, it was not super….but lunch was good.
Once again, we are squeezing the bus, and our bikie gang, through these dingey, seedy, windy alleyways, to pull up at another quirky old Indian Havali. We all parked our bikes and cheered with absolute joy. What an amazing ride. Saheed whipped out a bag of cold beers, and we all enjoyed the end of our bike tour. We’re exhausted! Satisfied! Filthy! Happy!
http://www.nevermindadventure.com Great crew, great time. Naim and Varesh, celebrate success.
Off up stairs, to our awesome rooms, relax, blog on the fantastic Wifi, shower, then hit the roof top for dinner, drinks, fireworks (which you can buy anywhere, and let off anytime, anywhere), and a few speeches. We all had to get up and say something about the tour. I had to go first, but I was unprepared so missed a lot of what I really got from it. Things like, realising what amazing, resilient people the Indians are, how poor but giving they are, how India isn’t a scary, horrible place, and that I can ride a motorbike in India, on gravel, on rough roads, through insane traffic, dodge goats, cows and sheep, but I still need to learn about riding in sand. Nevermind Adventures, don’t run a standard type tour, it is hard going. They push you past your limits, with great encouragement and support. Totally worth doing! We both feel ready for the next part of our Indian Adventure, thanks to Damien, Naim, Saheed, Varesh and the rest of the crew, who are still helping us. We just have our train ride to Delhi, then we are on our own. Can’t wait.