The golden city of Jaisalmer is a labyrinth of stone and sunlight. Its greatest feature, the Jaisalmer Fort rises out of a hill, rolling through the cloudless sky with a wave of curved outer walls. Built from yellow sandstone, it glows in the heart of Thar desert.
Wind whips my hair into a crazy tentacle frenzy as we ride into the desert. The windows are all down in the Bolero that zips past dry clouds of golden dust and Indian music filled with sitar and drums crackles out of the speakers. Cows create traffic jams on the otherwise empty road that leads us to our campsite. Suddenly we arrive to our oasis where we will join in a camel safari and all worries as to whether it would be the right decision dissolve. Beautiful grounds spread before us where peacocks strut in the brush and pink desert flowers bloom outside of our tent.
There is a shift that happens when one leaves and returns, especially when that space is over the span of a year around the world. Some of the friends you missed so much still seem far away during first conversations. You become a short-lived novelty, a talking point that lasts for an intro and then it’s back to the latest local gossip or next best thing on Netflix.
You’d think this photo was taken in India, but in fact, it’s New Zealand. The Indian Char Bagh Garden in Hamilton is like stepping onto a different continent. Paradise is contained between ivory walls and a carpet of colorful flowers spreads out to the four corners.