We escaped for a weekend deep into the desert to visit the ancient sand castle city, Jaiselmir. Waking up early, we were privileged with seeing the golden glow of the sand stone carved fort before the heat and Indian men made it uncomfortable. Accustomed to the peace of Setrawa we were apprehensive to the people biding for our money and attention, even those with the best intentions. I curtly said, "No thanks" to one peddler suggesting we buy his water. However, he ended up winning us over when he pointed out that the bottle I was carrying was empty. A classic case of Indian hospitality, making the offer before the need is realized.
Checking our hostility we decided to venture out of the city to a hotel palace, but not until after indulging in chocolate banana and pineapple crêpes in the fort. In the palace, Jen and I further indulged by donning bikinis and delighting in the luxuries of their spectacular swimming pool. It was liberating, as swimming always is, to immerse myself into a medium I can over power with crisp strokes, and furthermore to enjoy the radiating sun against my shoulders and legs that have sensibly been hidden for weeks.
Our quick dip was followed by a bus ride out of sensational Jaiselmir to tiny quaint Khuri. From Khuri we arranged a camel safari into the picturesque dunes. The adventure included a cliché turbaned guide, sleeping under the stars, a meal cooked on burning camel dung and of course two well packed camels that bounced us into the sunset.
The wind swept around us as we trotted through the sand. My stead was Kamila; she was connected by a rope to Lal, which carried Jen and Guide Durger. We stopped once in a hamlet for drinks, specifically: water to refresh the camels, chai to refresh us, and wine to refresh with later. Our guide selected a particularly handsome dune for our camp, next to a large lush shrub. He also prepared a great meal that left me warm and heavy all night. Laying on the sand, we passed out under the influence of the sugar cane wine, which had fermented in a hole not far away.
Fully satisfied, Jen topped the weekend off by sharing a coveted chocolate bar with me on the return bus ride.