Bikaner is a small town by Indian standards, with a mere 2 million people eking out a living on the fringe of the Rajasthani desert. It also has an awful lot of camels.
Our tour organisers have arranged for a few of them to be waiting to greet us at the end of the red carpet leading us off the Maharajas Express. I think I may have mentioned once or twice that we were travelling on a luxury train?
There’s nothing like a few camels sprinkled around the streets to make you feel you’ve arrived somewhere exotic. Bikaner does feel like a frontier town, though the border with Pakistan is still a couple of hundred kilometres away.
A camel’s face doesn’t give a lot away. If it’s thinking anything it’s, ‘Okay, take my photo if that gives you a buzz. It’s all the same to me. I’m in no rush. It’s hot and I could do with a drink.’
The faces of men who work with camels have pretty much those expressions too. Perhaps they’re chosen for their faces and that’s how they get the job. They’re wonderful faces.
We can’t help it; we still have to take a photo of every camel we see.
And we’re mighty impressed when as sundown approaches, our bus pulls up by some sand and we’re loaded onto our own camel carts for a trek out into the dunes.
The writer travelled on the Maharajas Express as the guest of Railbookers.