My Photographs: Top 5 Jaisalmer, India.

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1Jaisalmer Old Town, March 2004. I can’t quite believe it’s been thirteen years since I arrived in the Rajasthani town of Jaisalmer. My travel mate Allan and I were instantly charmed as we set off on our first wander. Set on a ridge of golden sandstone at the edge of The Great Thar Desert, the entire place felt like something out of a storybook; a giant fort town home to a beguiling network of narrow twisting lanes and finely sculpted buildings.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Jaipur, India.

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Ashiyana Guesthouse, March 2004. My visit to the Rajasthani city of Jaipur was one of the most frustrating experiences of my two-month trip around India. Everything about the place proved to be a long, hot, aggressive, hassle-ridden struggle. Even finding a place to bed down was hard work for my travel buddy Allan and I. Embarking on a wild goose chase around the city; we eventually found refuge at this private guesthouse, but only after the owner threatened to call the police on us because he thought we were Israelis! But in the end, thank god for small mercies, Ashiyana Guesthouse turned out to be a decent enough place and our prickly host mellowed out a bit towards the end, even agreeing to pose for this picture.

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Octopussy – a short story from India.

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In March 2004 I was 25 years old. With not a care in the world, no particular place to be and zero commitments to speak of, I packed up a rucksack and headed off to India. The future lay sparkling and I thought it would last forever.

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‘‘Hey, you want Bond?’’ asked the goofy man, shoving a paper menu into my hand. ‘‘Yes yes… shaky shake but not stirring’’ he continued, directing his charms towards a sniggering Lena. It was the third time in as many minutes that we’d been approached by a restaurant tout championing delicious home-cooked dishes, ice-cold beers and around the clock screenings of the classic James Bond movie Octopussy. In fact, just about every restaurant in town offered up exactly the same deal.

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The Bus Journey From Hell – a short story from India.

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In March 2004 I was 25 years old. With not a care in the world, no particular place to be and zero commitments to speak of, I packed up a rucksack and headed off to India. The future lay sparkling and I thought it would last forever.

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“Udaipur! Udaipur! Uuuuuuudaipur!!!”

With less than a minute to spare we hurried through the commotion of the bus terminal, heading towards the agitated sound of the final call. ‘‘Uuuuuuudaipur!!!”

‘‘There it is!’’ called Allan, our feet skidding on the gravel as we rounded a sharp corner. Straining my neck to see, I knocked into several people as I ran, praying that it wouldn’t pull away just when we’d finally found it. Happily we were in luck, though my initial excitement melted away as we came to a breathless stop. Our so-called deluxe bus was a monstrous hunk of metal no different from any of the other metallic clones that filled Jaisalmer Bus Station. Where exactly had my extra Rupees gone?

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Lalou – a short story from India.

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In March 2004 I was 25 years old. With not a care in the world, no particular place to be and zero commitments to speak of, I packed up a rucksack and headed off to India. The future lay sparkling and I thought it would last forever.

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It was our first day in The Golden City of Jaisalmer and Allan and I found ourselves immediately reeled in by its magical charms. Set on a ridge of golden sandstone on the edge of The Great Thar Desert, the entire place was like something straight out of a storybook, a giant sandcastle of a town home to a beguiling network of narrow twisting lanes and finely sculpted buildings.

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Fear and Loathing in Jaipur – a short story from India.

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In March 2004 I was 25 years old. With not a care in the world, no particular place to be and zero commitments to speak of, I packed up a rucksack and headed off to India. The future lay sparkling and I thought it would last forever.

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Jaipur had sounded great on paper. ‘‘The pink city!’‘‘The shopping capital of Rajasthan!’’ ‘‘A lively, colourful metropolis!’’ Add to that a royal palace and a historical fort crowning its surrounding hills and the question of whether or not to pay Jaipur a visit seemed like a no-brainer. And yet our stay hadn’t been great at all, it had been less than great. In fact, the whole thing had been a bit of a nightmare.

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