It only took two days in Jodphur before I found my self on a motorcycle again. The opportunity to simulate one of my youth-grown dreams gunning a bike down a desert straightaway was too hard too pass up. Conveniently, the nearby village of Naguar is hosting a camel fair.
I broke free of the urban limits and started the 135km into the barren region. I push the bike into top gear and pull the throttle back to full power. The machine picks up speed and for the next couple hours I’m clocked at 100kph, with the mildly potholed road virtually smoothed out under its spinning tires. Pulling into the dusty outskirts of a tent village at noon, my speed lowers as I’m forced to dodge the plethora of camels on the road. This must be it. I find parking besides a food tent inside the fair, beside a food tent which I look forward to sampling later.
The event lives up to all expectations. The flat, dry desert plains are dotted with sparsely distributed brush and the occasional shade-giving tree. Occasionally a minor tornado rustles by with a wake of tumbleweeds. Scruffy looking men in multicolored turbans huddle around their makeshift tents. Camels are abundant to say the least, and there are quite a few horses, goats and other four-legged animals to fill out the roster. Their owners appear to take an immense pride in customizing their mounts with vivid harnesses, intricate hair cuts and dyeing. One was even stylized with a black Mohawk!
I am the only foreigner crazy enough to attend this desert animal-market, and consequently this attracts a growing tail of children that won’t leave my sight for a single moment. Remarkably, none of them seem to speak any English! The faint calls of “One Pen” and “One Rupee” are replaced with strained efforts to utter the world “Hello”. I wander for a while, watching the men negotiate for camels and then make my way into the restaurant where at least thirty people watch every moment of my meal. From the look on their faces, I must be the most exciting thing that’s happened to the Naguar Camel Fair. I am totally out of place here and the whole impression is quite remarkable… I love it!