A couple of months ago we purchased a new printer. It’s one of these new-fangled ones that does everything…if you can work out the instruction book that is! Fast forward to last weekend, and hubby decided to try out the scan function. He ended up scanning quite a few photos from an overland trip we did from London to Kathmandu.
This was the first big trip we did, and despite me catching malaria, we fell in love with many of the places we visited. I used this trip as the inspiration for one of my books, Wanderlust.
Instead of just posting a selection of the photos today, I thought I’d give you small snippets from my book, Wanderlust and some matching photos. BTW – Wanderlust is part of the Value in the Vaults program at Ellora’s Cave. You’ll pick it up at the bargain price of $0.99 there or $1.49 at Amazon Kindle.
I thought back to that day in Aleppo, Syria. My eyes narrowed while I remembered. The entire group had wandered through the crowded marketplace. Donkeys laden with huge loads of vegetables or bolts of cloth plodded down the narrow streets. Both locals and tourists jostled for space, the local people trying to carry out their business while tourists dallied, gawking at everything. It was noisy. Dusty.
The scent of petrol and oil was heavy on the air. We walked on, pushing our way through with all the panache of the locals. We learned quickly and we’d already visited the bazaars in Turkey. They were no place for correct and proper British manners and queues. The bazaars and marketplaces were every man or woman for himself. You pushed without being too pushy or else the locals walked all over you. And bargaining. We’d all learned to do that as well.
Without another word, we ambled down the dusty street, heading for Pushkar Lake. Other tourists wandered the streets, checking out shops and restaurants. Some wore red string bracelets on their wrists, reminding me we’d need to do the same—donate some money and receive a bracelet passport in return. Giving in and donating money stopped further harassment. Some of the priests were very persistent.
Top left: At a Pushkar cafe
Top right: The annual Pushkar camel fair
Bottom left: The crowded streets.
Bottom right: The beautiful lake
The sun lay low on the horizon when we drove in the old city of Jaisalmer, painting all the ochre-colored buildings a soft pink. I slowed the truck and waited for a cow to amble across the road in front of us.
A chill breeze blew over the flat rooftop but the knee-high wall plus the air-conditioning unit protected me from the worst. The sky glittered with a canopy of stars. I stared up at them, idly picking out fantastical shapes until my eyelids grew too weighty to hold open. A dog barked, the mournful howl picked up and repeated by another animal. Gooseflesh rippled over my arms. Talk about creepy. I heard others come up to the roof and settle down for the night, their chatter a low, background noise.
The mosquitoes came out about ten minutes later, the whine irritating and loud. Very loud. They flew in kamikaze circles around my head. I slapped my hand around my head a few times and snatched at the source of the sound. Missed. Muttering, I sat up and pulled out my mosquito net. I hadn’t put it up because there was nothing to hang it on. But desperation called for ingenuity. I covered my head and upper body with the netting, tucking it under my sleeping bag. It didn’t halt their whine but at least it stopped them landing and taking a bite.
“Don’t forget your water bottles and hats,” I said. There was always one who forgot if I didn’t remind them.
One of the camels grunted and made a loud whistling sound.
“Oh god. I think that camel farted,” Rosa said, waving her hand in front of her face.
“That will be your camel,” I said, attempting to keep a straight face.
Everyone laughed except Rosa, who pulled a face. “I expect farting is the least of our problems,” she said. “I hope I can walk by the end of the day.”
Shelley’s notes: I have very vivid memories of the mosquitoes and the dogs in Jaisalmer. Between the barking and the buzzing around my head, I didn’t sleep a wink. I actually caught cerebral malaria on this trip and spent time in a New Delhi hospital. It’s part of the reason I look so skinny in the photos.
We enjoyed our camel ride very much but most of us walked like ducks the next day! Talk about sore muscles.