Trotters

After finally getting our tickets in Delhi we took two overnight trains* to Jaisalmer. We spent 2 and a half weeks in Jaisalmer volunteering at a camel safari company named Trotters. Trotters has been in the camel safari business for about two decades** and prides itself on being owned and operated entirely by local desert villagers. The Trotters headquarters are located at the base of the 858-year-old yellow sandstone fortress surrounding the old city. Our duties there were primarily to communicate with prospective safari guests via email and in person, answering any of their questions and making bookings. Our spoken English and literacy were the commodities we offered in exchange for freshly prepared lunch and dinner every day (usually some variation of a very spicy vegetable curry served to us with chapati and rice while seated on the cement floor of an outbuilding) and a place to sleep (a frequently-changing room in their guesthouse. On one occasion the guesthouse was fully occupied so we slept in the fresh air on the rooftop terrace next to the safari guides who slept there nightly, a floor to crash seemingly one of the common benefits of employment). We found the work light enough to leave us plenty of time to wander through the fort and markets and hang out at the rooftop restaurant. In exchange for our time we were also gifted a free*** 2-day camel safari in the Thar Desert, which deserves a blog post all to itself.Diptic 1Our stint in Jaisalmer concluded when we found an opportunity farther east in Rajasthan. We arranged for some new volunteers to take our places at Trotters and a couple days later were on an overnight bus toward Pushkar.Diptic 2.1*The distance between Delhi and Jaisalmer can typically be covered in just one night. However, the direct train between those cities was fully booked by the time we found our way to the ticket office. Not wanting to endure another day in Delhi we opted for an indirect route that left the same day but took longer. We ended up taking an overnight train from Delhi to Jodhpur and 16 hours later caught an overnight train from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer. Our 16 hours in Jodhpur was its own unique kind of madness but became instantly improved once we found a vendor selling young coconuts, an air conditioned cafe offering espresso and interesting conversation with the proprietor, and a rooftop restaurant where we dined al fresco in the evening, enjoying the live sitar music wafting in over the breeze (which we later realized was being piped in from well hidden speakers on the terrace. Still, it was wafting and beautiful.)Diptic 3.1
**Coincidentally, our friends Simon and Donna from Los Gázquez were guests at Trotters about 15 years ago during their last visit to India. They remembered fondly the man who had arranged their safari, who turned out to be our host!Diptic 5.1
***We were not expected to pay for our safari nor tip our guides. However we were asked to leave a top-ranking review for them on Trip Advisor upon returning from the desert. We did this though we felt uncomfortable about leaving a not-entirely-truthful account of our experience, and uncomfortable with our hosts offering writing prompts as they looked over our shoulders.Diptic 4.1 The next blog post will detail our free*** Thar Desert camel safari adventure. Stay tuned!

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6 thoughts on “Trotters

  1. The way you express the minute details is so lively…I feel as if I am seeing through my own eyes rather then reading.,The experience of sleeping on the terrace was exciting. Also, I believe that the hosts should refrain from prompting travelers on what to write and what not to write on TripAdvisor…

    I am looking forward to your next post…

    • Hey Raj! Thanks for your kind words.
      The night on the roof was exciting, and we think it’s so cool that you slept up there too. A fresh breeze, the open sky. Nature’s A/C!
      We totally agree with you that it is best for travelers to write their own honest reviews on TripAdvisor. We kept our reviews very truthful, but still didn’t feel entirely good about the situation.
      We are excited to see you in Mumbai in about a month! Woohoo!!
      A&D

  2. Pingback: The Best Guy in Mumbai | Fodenvensel Studios

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