Jaisalmer, India

January 23, 2003

Weather: high of about 75ºF and clear

On our way in to Jaisalmer, we barely make it 5 blocks into the city limits before we are pestered by three different touts! We've never been touted before we got off the bike before. This is a whole new level of tourist processing.
Still, if you can withstand the shouts, guilt trips, and general intrusiveness of the touts, Jaislamer can reveal itself to be one of the loveliest places in Rajasthan. The fort is gorgeous.

Just before sunset, we see a hawk swooping through the clouds of pigeons. The pigeons flee in all sorts of lovely patterns. We don't witness a kill.
On our way to dinner, we hide from the touts in this procession of Jains on their way to temple. We are peacefully escorted right to our chosen restaurant. It is an Italian place and we are hugely relieved to have something other than Indian to eat.
The restaurant is inside the fort and so we can look down over the city at sunset.
I should have something scholarly to say about Jain architecture like this temple. But all I can say is, Wow.
After entering the first gate, just big enough for an elephant to get through, you cross this open courtyard to the second and third gates to the fort.
This is a different view of those same second and third gates. Those round things on the top of the wall on the left are boulders for tossing down on touts or other unwelcome guests. Too bad we couldn't reach them.
The fort has been inhabited for 800 years and still is a working and living entity. The oldest "living" fort in the world.
We choose to stay in this place, Nachana Haveli, outside the fort because the fort is being damaged by the overuse of the open drains. It is a short walk up and into the fort from here, and I don't have to skip too many showers.
Look, Bill! Cheese balls! I'm not as far from civilization as I thought.

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