When I think of Christmas, white snow and twinkly fairy lights come to mind; Christmas crackers with ridiculous jokes; stuffing myself full with my nan and grandad’s yummy roast dinner; opening presents from under the Christmas tree; and getting into arguments over games with the family. But I had none of that this year.
This year Alex and I spent our Christmas in India. Instead of white snow we had hot sunshine, and the roast turkey was substituted with curry.
Instead of getting up early in the morning and excitedly waking everyone else up (yes, I am a big kid) so we can all open our gifts from Santa in our pjs (yes, Santa still visits no matter how old you are), this year we woke up in the Rajasthani desert to the sound of Indian music and it seemed the reindeer had been replaced with camels.
But to my huge disappointment Father Christmas didn’t visit me this year 😦 He must have had trouble finding me in the middle of the Indian desert because I’m definitely not on the naughty list!
We spent the day walking around the lovely city of Jaisalmer with its sandstone havelis, colourful alleyways full of market stalls where Alex got a shave in an Indian barbers so he looked nice and smart for Christmas day.
We visited the huge Fort on top of the hill and explored all its twists and turns, getting lost and walking down the same narrow alleys more than once, bumping into the same shop owners who repeated the same cries trying to tempt us into their little shops. We climbed up to a viewpoint to see the beautiful sunset over the city and watched the local children flying their kites.
It was a beautiful day in a wonderful part of India but it did not feel like Christmas in the slightest. Most people don’t celebrate it out here so it was just the same as any other day in India. There were a few fairy lights around town and our hotel had a little Christmas tree in its lobby for those guests who do celebrate. I mostly forgot it was Christmas day until the locals called out “Merry Christmas!” to us as we walked past!
Although we are loving our travels around India I don’t think either of us want to be away for the festive season again. Christmas is my favourite time of year and this is the first time either of us has been away from our families for the holidays. I missed my nan and grandad arguing over the cooking of lunch; my mum getting tipsy on Baileys before we even sit down to eat; singing songs with my sister and taking lots of silly photos together; my cousin beating everyone at Boggle; and my small cousins pleading to open presents as soon as they arrive. That is what my Christmas should be made of and I’m looking forward to having a late Christmas with everyone when we’re home (please cook me another roast dinner nan!!).
But, right now, we’ve got the rest of India to explore. We’ve come to the end of our time in the bustling North, full of big cities, forts, orange sand and lots of cows, and today we head off to find out what the South of incredible India has in store for us.