Maxx has reached the desert portion of her Indian sojurn. I’ll let her words and pictures speak for themselves.
March 9, 2011: We are now in the desert – Jaisalmer – which is in the northwestern part of India, very close to the Pakistani border. We are told by our driver that the desert road is of the highest quality (translation: it is a smooth road) so that the military can get to the border quickly if necessary. For the political buffs, the tension between India and Pakistan remains at a 60+ year standstill over Kashmir. India feels it is rightfully theirs as the ruler of Kashmir in 1947 when given a choice to become part of India or Pakistan, the ruler chose India, even though Kashmir consists mostly of Muslims (Pakistan is Muslim; India is mostly Hindu). Pakistan claims that the ruler was unduly influenced and Kashmir should belong to Pakistan. Fast forward, in 1998, tensions between India and Pakistan increased after a series of nuclear tests. It got worse in 1999 as hostilities flared between the two countries when India launched military strikes against Kashmiri insurgents. Today, I am told by the locals living close to the border that all Muslims (Pakistanis and Kashmiris) and Hindus (Indian) are living in peace though each country remains committed to Kashmir.
All I can tell you is this: the Indian desert is beautiful — golden hues shimmering off sand dunes or buildings; camels lazily snoozing by the road, and people who have that look of contentment in the simplicity of their lives.
More later, -jv et al