Hello! I'm Renee Garland. I've been traveling to Asia for the last 13 years in order to escape snowy Maine winters, hoping to live sunny adventures. My company began 11 years ago with $250 worth of chopsticks. I started selling them at craft fairs and festivals all over coastal Maine. Unfortunately, many people didn't know much about chopsticks! (or Asia for that matter.) Nonetheless, I trudged through the festival scene for several years expanding my inventory to clothing, accessories, gifts, and art. The mission has always been the same; to work with individuals, women's coops, and small home-based businesses to help support and encourage small enterprises. I opened my first store in Portland, in 2006 called "Waterlily." It's filled with Waterlily brand handmade gifts produced both from my travels abroad, and by local artists. I still go on buying adventures, 'cause that's what it's all about. . .
Friday, March 9, 2007
Camel farts and so on. . .
Ahh, the Thar desert, that forbidden wasteland that separates Pakistan and India, an unchanging world so far from the modern madness we call civilization. The camel safari through this enchanting land was a singular experience, something so unique and memorable. We rode in the back of a Jeep 30 Km west from Jaisalmer to the Maharajah's burial grounds, a centuries old cemetery for the Rajastani royalty, arriving at this solemn sight early in the morning. These ornately carved sandstone monuments are surrounded by massive, 200ft high white windmills that spin quietly, providing electricity for the nearby army base, while creating a beautiful contrast to the ancient memorials. After a brief visit there, we traveled deeper into the desert, stopping at a village where the natives were not exactly friendly. The undisciplined children, upon realizing that I refused to part with my hard earned rupees, began to hurl large rocks at me, and based upon their ferocity and accuracy, I would say they have had plenty of practice in this sport! Thankfully the adults stopped them from being homocidially thorough, and I am still here to relay this story to you, dear reader. So we escaped into the Jeep and pushed further into the desert. We were escorted far into the desert where a team of camel drivers waited with our fantastically retro camels equipped with food, saddles, smelly blankets, flies, and attitude. My camel had a sixth sense about me, as every time I wasn't paying attention to him, he would ram his head into me. And it's true what they say about those horrific camel farts. Anyways, after a pleasant two hour ride we dismounted in the shade of a huge tree for a lunch of dhal and chapati. We relaxed in the shade and chatted with our three fellow camel jockeys while our guides made everything from scratch. As we ate lunch dozens of goats slowly made their way through our encampment and nibbled on scrub brush and our donated banana peels. After a wonderful and leisurely lunch we trotted onward into the setting sun, approaching that dreaded country of mystery-Pakistan! Jake's father John adopted the camel command "Heh!" and applied it masterfully to his rebel camel, and they were last seen somewhere on the outskirts of Karachi. My camel continued the head butting. Slowly the desert changed from a boring scrubby scene reminiscent of Arizona to a sea of sand dunes. The ripples on the dunes were perfect and untouched, and they were so absolutely Zen. We parked our high performance vehicles for the night and walked through the dunes, and at one peak we all congregated to watch a spectacular sunset. That night the guides made us another fantastic meal, always watching for an empty plate to fill up again, and the conversation was joyful and pleasant. When bedtime came around our guides Tucked Us Into Bed! Talk about going above and beyond, these guys were great! I slept between Jake and his dad, covered by blankets reeking of camel pee, and it was so beautiful being there under the stars, After a surprisingly good night's sleep, we rode back to meet our driver and marvel at what solid outdoors men we are, having spent a whole night in the desert and all.
Posted by Renee Garland