066 / Hello Safari
066 / Hello Safari
After a short stay in Jaipur, Adam and I took of with the night train to Bikaner, a rather non-touristic place (the proof: we spend 2 hours trying to find an internet connection) on the edge of the Rajasthani desert. Via Pankaj, whome I met in Mumbai, we were hosted by Mr and Mrs B L Sharma. We had the address and the name of the people, but the address didn’t lit evocate much interest of the local people when we asked for instructions. However, when we mentioned the name Hari Babu, everybody became curious and overly friendly. We found out soon that the man is one of the well known people in town. The couple were the owners of, a.o., a movie theatre that offers place to more than a thousand people. Their house was a big, beautiful oasis of green and quietness in a city that felt a bit like the inside of a vacuum cleaner to me. Their food (and associated explanations) were true discoveries of the local cuisine, with the finest herbs and the best ingredients. Their devotion to letting us experience the best of what Rajasthan has to offer was limitless. A remarkable stay.
Adam, the New Zealand pilot who works in Papua (Indonesia) for the moment, has a funny habit of using unusual adjectives to comment things. He calls a dish beautiful, a beer nice,... all this to the occasional confusion of the local people who are less conceptual users of the English language. It’s interesting and fun to travel some days together. He also geared me up with seasoned action plans for my future stays in Bali and New Zealand. No problem.
The reason why we came to Bikaner, and the highlight of this stay was an overnight camel safari (technically, it dromedary safari, but that doesn’t ring very well…). We left around 4PM and by 4.11PM we realized that riding a camel is about a comfortable as driving a bicycle backwards without a saddle… A little pain, a lot of laughter. Around 5PM, the pain/laughter balance shifted dangerously to the pain side, but miraculously the sour butt feeling goes away when the huge evening sun start to kiss the horizon. Drenched a welcome silence (after some 10 days of bamboozling noise), this produces views that easily outclass the pictures. We arrived at our camping place. The sand was warm and inviting, and the thai hot and sweet. After playing with the children, trying to get the perfect sunset picture of Manman (my camel) and a long chat about “let’s call it man stuff”, we sent to sleep by 10PM. I woke up once because a dog had way to much affection for my cheek and once because a desert beetle passed my ear with so much noise it actually woke me. A wild peacock announced sunrise at 5.30AM. After a basic breakfast and once the dished done (with sand), we were ready to go, each of us with their own blisters and thoughts.