There are four color cities which is famous in Rajasthan, India. Jaislamer, the one called “Golden city”, which placed in the western Rajasthan, only 65km far from Pakistan.
Coming to Jaisalmer was an accident, cause neither booking train tickets nor bus tickets all became impossible during their biggest festival Diwali this time, (and the other thing was I was so angry at the madam who is sooo inefficient while we was booking the train tickets from Jodhpur to Jaislamer at the counter), but after meeting Tarun from couchsurfing while we drank some beers at the rooftop, he confidently promised us that he could definitely help us to buy the train tickets to Jaisalmer. And that time was already 11pm, there is a strong man riding a motorbike with two scary tourists sitting behind him, holding the big backpack on our hands without being stable on the motorbike, like the movie fast and furious, racing to Jodhpur railway station. And after arrived to railway station, I just realized online booking is for all locals and tourists, but there was the other options to book the ticket— The booking machine in the station. Tarun pushed me standing in front of the booking machine and said ” Don’t worry, Indian men are gentleman, they will let you buy the ticket first if they see you are a woman.” And the most surprising thing for me is, after I successfully bought the tickets, I felt shocked at the price printed on the ticket, ” 105Rs”, and from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer wasn’t a short journey, it took 6 hours.
OK, there is no rules and nothing impossible in India.
After getting on the train, besides my anxious finally released, I finally understood that there are no rules in the car, more and more Indian people got on the car, most of them are military, some people quickly climbed on the top berth which is already occupied by some other people, but then he just naturally woke the guy up, asking he to leave a small space for him. Or some people just directly started to put bed sheets on the ground of car and sleep immediately. Anyway, until the train started to get off, all the car was filled of people inside, sitting or lying in lots of weird postures, I even didn’t know if they did really buy the tickets or not. With the noisy sounds made from the railway and the decreasing temperature, I couldn’t sleep and wasn’t dare to sleep, moreover, there was a guy who covered with the scarf on his body and kept looking at me, I decided not to sleep, and stared at this strange view in this car.
早上五點半，頂著沒有預期的冷冽寒風，前幾天已經鼻涕流到不行，現在的我已經完全失聲，T說他每年跨年都會在齋沙漠爾度過，已經十年了，特別打電話給他經營旅店的老朋友請他好好照顧我們，所以很幸運的大清早不用再以失聲的喉嚨和嘟嘟車司機各種討價還價，J舉著” Vicky Taiwan”的看板在外頭迎接我們，從遠處看來格外親切。
5am in the morning, I didn’t predict Jaisalmer was so cold then, and I’ve already got cold when I was in Jodhpur, apparently, it was getting worse, I even did’t have any voice at that time. Luckily, when we met Tarun, he said he used to spend some times in Jaisalmer during New Year since ten years ago, so he contacted his old friend who ran a hostel here, so this time, I don’t need to use my poor voice to bargain anything with rickshaw drivers. Jistin held a board with ” Vicky from Taiwan” on it, I smiled, suddenly I felt it was so adorable when seeing my country in India.
Jaisalmer in the early morning gave me the feelings of living in a abandon city, the sand and rocks lifted up while the tire of car rolled over it, the smoggy view even made Jaisalmer become more mysterious, I shouted excitingly when I realized I was going to live in the fort.
” Welcome to Jaisalmer Fort, please come to the rooftop and have the tea first.” Justin knew I was the friend of Tarun, so he kindly invited us to go upstairs, but we were not only welcome by the hot tasty tea, but also welcome by the red sunrise just slowly rose up in the sky.
The original meaning of Jaisalmer is “the Hill Fort of Jaisal”, that means all the city was named by the Jaisalmer fort, and it was the route which camels used to go long time ago.
And more interesting, long time ago, the citizens can only watch the royal family from far far away, and after the Rawal Jaisal, people now become the common owner of this place, they run restaurants, make business, nowadays the Jaisalmer fort has become the part of their life, apart form other palace of other city in India have become the museum which have to pay ticket to go inside, living with archaeology makes Jaisalmer more unique.
齋沙默爾Jaisalmer古堡內的旅店很多，這次我是住在Temple view guesthouse, 一晚雙人房450Rs，就是簡單乾淨，其實還可以找到更低價位的旅店及房間，畢竟古堡內外的旅店多到不勝枚舉，基本上只要嘴巴夠厲害，旅店老闆寧願降一些價錢也不願讓我們這些肥羊逃走哈。之所以叫Temple View，和字面上意思相同，旅店就位在Jain Temple的後面，在齋沙默爾古堡內的旅店99%都有頂樓餐廳，但個人覺得不管在哪個旅店的頂樓餐廳，身為齋沙默爾Jaisalmer最高處的地標，放眼望去都可以一覽整個金色之城。
There are so many hostels you can choose in the fort, I stayed in Temple view guesthouse this time, double room cost 450Rs/per night, I won’t really recommend this, because you can always find the cheaper one here, and most important of all, almost all the hostels have their own rooftop restaurants, and it really doesn’t matter which hostel you are going to live, cause you can always see the best view as standing on the top hill of Jaisalmer 🙂
While we were roaming around in the fort, we encountered the Cashmere store which the entrance was decorated with different color bricks on it, and just stood in front of the store and discussed how to distinguish the real Cashmere scarf, we were invited by the shopkeeper, he was so willing to show us how to recognize different materials of scarf, “You only need a lighter.” He smiled, and started to burn the terminal of all of different scarfs, I was shocked.
” Well, burn the terminal of these scarfs, then you won’t need to be afraid to be cheated again.”
He asked us to smell and to touch those ash of different materials, from silk, from wool, from cotton, and from polyester, I was surprised, now it became really obvious to recognize all of them. And moreover, he even didn’t give us any hint to purchase anything from this store. “You are the special guest I’ve seen in these years, except purchasing these goods, you seem more interested in knowing the knowledge about this.” He said. “I’ve already run this business for more than 30 years, and if I only keep the knowledge I gained in my mind, then one day it will disappear when the life gone, I hope both of you can help these knowledge keep passing to your friends, and the next generation, help all of them to purchase the real scarf.”
“And purchase the happiness at the same time.” He smiled.
才抵達這裡的第一天，齋沙默爾已經被我列為目前待過最舒服的印度城市之一(和Jodhpur並行)，來此旅遊的觀光客還是一樣的多，但整座城市給人的感覺並不像齋浦爾這樣令人喘不過氣，你可以在城堡內爬上砲台俯瞰整座黃金城，在巷子裡迷路，和各式各樣的老闆胡亂聊天在他們要向你兜售商品時找個藉口離開，跑到德國麵包店前來一塊超值只要40台幣的巧克力香蕉派；或到古堡外偷拍Baba (印度僧侶)，然後在他們大聲和你討錢時溜個無影無蹤，擠進人潮爆滿的甜點店問當地人吃什麼好，聽著他們七嘴八舌向你推薦各自覺得好吃的甜點，最後乾脆放棄跟你溝通，直接幫你向老闆點餐，或是跑到古堡外喝一杯貴鬆鬆的Bhang Lassi (大麻優格)，然後發現即使點了Strong對你也起不了作用(真的，我多希望我能感受幻聽一下XD)。
Just arrived to Jaisalmer on the very first day, Jaisalmer has become one of my favorite place in India so far (Jodhpr as well), not like Jaipur always give me the stressful feeling. While staying in Jaisalmer fort, you can go on the top of fort, watching the view of all the golden city, getting lost in the small lane of the fort, chatting with lots of shopkeeper here, and escaping when they start to sell the goods to you, having the valuable chocolate banana pie here, or taking the picture of the Baba sit next to the wall, running away when they start to ask you for money, joining the crowd which people are waiting for the famous dessert here, asking them to recommend some sweet to you, and after they will be giving up communicating to you but then directly tell the shopkeeper to give you the sweet, or having the Bhang Lassi, which is really legal here, but then realize even the strong taste of Bhang Lassi can still make you awake, that’s sucks.
Story @ Jaisalmer 2016.11.02