Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Canadian Camel Trekking in the Rajasthan Desert – a personal memoir.

I awoke feeling well and hungry. Eggs and bread were prepared; we packed up and began the same routine as the first day. My strength was back and I was better able to tolerate the heat and pain. However I still could not wait to get off that damned camel every time. I came up with the idea of keeping my water bottle in a wet wool sock, which did manage to keep the water from getting excessively hot. My companions played Trance music and explained to me the whole “Trance scene” in Montréal, which had apparently passed me by even though I went to school there for seven years. We made camp again around 8 p.m. and were met by a boy who apparently wanders the desert with a wet burlap sack to keep a few bottles of Coke and 7-up cool for the tourists. I paid about twenty times what I would in the city for a Coke but he had the supply and I had the demand. After another simple but tasty dinner we heard another campsite in the distance and went to investigate. We stumbled upon a premium safari with full course meals, ice cold beverages, comfortable camel saddles and tents for shelter from the elements. Turns out they hadn't paid much more than we had, but then again they didn't get the pleasure of meeting Mr. Nice Khan.

My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw an ice filled cooler with many bottles of Kingfisher beer. The guides were friendly enough and sold us a few bottles for a high price but well worth the money for cold beer in the desert. We then went back to our bargain camp for another few rounds of smoke and another sound sleep under the stars.

By the third day of the trip, I was starting to get the hang of the whole camel jockey thing. As we got nearer to the town we were amused by a couple of local kids on an ass who mocked us and yelled “donkey safari”. After six more hours of riding, we finally made it to the main road where Nice Khan met up with us and another two day safari group. I have nothing but praise for the locals guides who made the trip as pleasant as possible with the limited resources that they had been provided. We had nothing but contempt, however, for Mr. Khan. We didn't take kindly to being overcharged and lied to, but we held our tongues until we got a ride back to the Hotel Henna. Now I have a temper, but in the argument that followed I looked like the level headed one. People were most angry with the lack of adequate water and sub-par food, which usually consisted of just potatoes and bread. I think we managed to scare off a few of his potential customers who hopefully went to a more reputable dealer of desert safaris.

It's been four years since my desert excursion, and as I sit writing this article in my cozy home office, sipping hot tea and watching the snow flying outside my window, some of you may wonder if I have any desire to return to the desert. Those still wondering are asked to reread this article from the beginning.

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