Indian Simmer: Anthony Borday Was Here
Travel Rant #1: If you’re part of a destination that’s beloved by travelers for being authentic, under-the-radar and non-touristy, don’t blow it by covering every other 400-year-old facade with signs that say “Recommended by Lonely Planet.” Yes, we all have the same guidebook, but it kinda ruins the whole exploring-the-ends-of-the-earth thing when every five feet we’re bombarded by English-language signage reminding us that millions of others have been here before.
That annoyance aside, Jaisalmer — a dusty desert city on the edge of Rajasthan, just 30 miles short of the Pakistan border — is a pretty magical place, full of honey-colored forts, amazing traditional music, and camel rides out onto the desert dunes.
Speaking of magic, culinary-wise Jaisalmer is best known for one hole-in-the-wall establishment: the bhang shop, a refreshment stand offering “magic lassis” — yogurt-based drinks spiked with with a certain magic herb that I’ll leave to your imagination. Apparently, ES BFF Anthony Bourdain visited the Bhang Shop during the Rajasthan episode of No Reservations, and they were so happy about it that they hung up a sign praising “Anthony Bourday.” Love it. You get some quaintness points back for that one, Jaisalmer.
PS – Travel Rant #2: I appreciate being made to feel at home, but please, please — just serve me what you eat for breakfast here, not a bizarre interpretation of what you think I might eat at home. I was just served a bowl of comically stale cornflakes seeping in — I kid you not — steaming hot milk. Amazing.