My favorite bedtime story when I was a kid was about Sinbad the sailor. I knew it by heart but still I would ask my father to read it for me several times in a row. This was even before the time of Teletubbies, the children’s TV program that does not hesitate to run the same damn clip three times in a row because the main characters clap their hands and always ask for repeats of clips of themselves and their stupid activities… “Again! Again!”
Anyway, the story about Sinbad began like this “It was a wonderful day.” (ísl. Það var ljómandi fagur dagur”) and then it went on to describe his adventures in a desert city. In the stories about Sinbad, he traveled around and encountered some adventures each and every time. Aladdin was also among favorites, not to forget Prince of Persia (a PC game where you were the prince and the mission was to free a princess that was kept hostage at the top floor in a gigantic palace. To do that you had to slaughter the various security guards (bad guys) with your sword, drink magic drinks to heal your wounds etc). What these characters had in common was that their surroundings were very exotic: deserts, palaces, magic lamps, turbans and magic carpets were things that I never encountered in daily life back then and consequently I found them all very interesting.
These adventures also made sure that I had unrealistic plans about my future. One of my plans was to have my own big palace in a desert where a princess would be waiting for me when I came home in the evenings and where I would have numerous servants making sure I was never hungry. For snacks they would not serve me grapes though (as in the adventures), because that much grape eating causes diarrhea. Rather it ought to be ice cream and liver pate (I was crazy about liver pate as a kid, ate it with a spoon directly from the box). I was going to have a magic carpet to fly anywhere I wanted anytime I wanted and a shiny silver sword to use whenever bad guys would be in my way. I was going to ride a camel through sand dunes towards the sunset and accidentally run into a magic lamp containing a genie granting me three wishes.
Ever since then, life has mostly been just a series of disappointments. None of the bedtime stories ever mentioned boring duties, hard work, stress, MS Word, Excel, unpaid bills or bureaucracy…Realizing features of a harsh reality one by one has been painful at times: ”WHAT? Can I not have my own palace in a desert nor fly around on a magic carpet? Can I get a refund, please?!”
That said, it might not come as a surprise that riding a camel through the desert for the first time on the last weekend of November was like an old wish being fulfilled, I finally got to see a glimpse of what my plans as a kid would look like in real life. We had two sleepless nights on night buses to get there and back, 12 hours and 14 hours respectively driving through the crappy roads. We went on camel safari for about an hour and watched the sunset from a big sand dune. In the evening we watched traditional show of dancing and a fire swallower. We watched the stars in the pitch black dark before going to sleep in the desert camp. Here are some of the photos from the trip to Jaisalmer and camel safari through the Thar Desert.