Thursday 6th Feb.
A leisurely rise,and a delicious breakfast Ali Poori before setting off for Jamba, the village near the hotel where we are staying. We stopped after about an hour and a half for a loo break and then again after another 30 minutes for coffee and biscuits supplied by our driving crew. In India there is always a crew of two on a coach. One is the driver and the other is primarily responsible for passing around water, refreshments and making sure you don’t fall flat on your face when entering or leaving the vehicle.
After about 4 hours we arrived at the edge of the village. There we decanted into jeeps and headed out across the Thar desert. This is really acacia scrub with succulents and occasional fields of a low growing mustard. The hotel, The Clement Dune Retreat, was visible on a rock promontory in the distance. We would our way through fields and past some very poor housing and were waved at by a group of children, before entering its gates. WE were given a royal welcome and after a brief introduction from the 23 (!) year old owner were shown to our rooms. These are sizeable huts, thatched with twigs but providing very comfortable accommodation inside. Our room faces the pool area. The views over the desert are stunning.
We unpacked, had a late lunch and settled in. We lounged around the pool, a few hardy members of the group went for a dip, but the water was freezing and no one stayed in for long. Although the sun is hot, the air temperature isn’t and the surface of the pool was the only warm part. I was distracted by a group of babblers and took numerous pictures. We sat and talked until high tea was served at 5.30 – sandwiches and biscuits. Then, as the sun went down we …..well had a sundowner,,,,,before meeting in Reception at 7.00 for what I think is called ‘orientation’. Our host gave us a brief overview of the local tribes and the activities during our stay. It was now getting quite cold, so a hot shower was very welcome. Dinner followed and the food here is very good, so I shall be like a barrel by the time we leave. Back in our very chilly room we walked up the heat and were delighted to find hot water bottles in our bed.