dunes at dawn

1 Nov

There’s something remarkable about watching the sun rise over the dunes in the desert. A feeling washes over that I can’t quite get in the US. The rhythm of the camel’s sure and steady gait, the tranquil sound of the small bells that hand from their neck and the miles of undulating sand combine to a kind of inner peace that is just not enough to overcome the displaced hip sockets and the saddle sores.

After getting comfortable atop our massively tall rides, we spent a beautiful morning through desert scrub, cascading sand dunes and lovely small villages home to herders and their families. It was a great experience that we all enjoyed and made the long rise to Jaisalmer very much worth it.

The Jaisalmer fort is a remarkable part of the city. Built by King Jaisal on the mer (hill) it is a study in old world craftsmanship that still lives today. Unlike the detail of the Duomo, the skill that carved the intricate designs in the sandstone, sculpture, really, is still present in new construction.

We continue to be amazed by all the colors. And our wonderful guide here put it all into perspective. It’s a beautifully simple matter of balance. Indians understand the world as a balance of many energies. For example, here in the north, you see, is barren desert, low brush and miles of brown with hazy skies. Seeking balance, the central and northern Indians began to add color to their wardrobes to both add brightness to their world and to celebrate their happiness. The vibrancy is visible especially in women’s clothing. Brilliant hues of pink, purple, blue and orange pop from the landscape, even at a distance. A slight nuance to this is the fact that unmarried younger women wear lighter colors, married women wear the brightest colors and widows are dressed in darker tones.

By contrast, in the south of India where the vegetation is lush and the flowers bloom, the color all around has dimmed the colors of the clothing. It’s a fascinating symbiosis between culture and nature.

This is why we travel. To learn what we can’t from books, to experience what we can’t on television, and to share with friends.

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4 Responses to “dunes at dawn”

  1. Anne-Marie November 1, 2010 at 5:31 am #

    Feel like I’m right there with you. More photos — and include some more of you guys as well!

  2. richard cohen November 1, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    what beautiful pictures was that the same camel from morroco

  3. Rob November 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    I was impressed when you convinced Roger to have warm gin, but when you claimed to have gotten him to ride a camel, well, I just didn’t believe it. Thanks for the pictures as proof!

  4. Janice Yelland November 2, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    I feel like I am watching a PBS documentary. Thanks for “Bringing Us” along. I love the narrative. A+ from a former teacher!

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