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┬ábest 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.

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  • maru April 8, 2010  

    How dare they not stay pristinely exotic for your touristy immersion!

  • Suri April 8, 2010  

    believe it or not but cornflakes(when eaten) is consumed with hot milk in India!

  • Brian April 9, 2010  

    Schhhhhhhwag (sp?).

  • WhitePeopleAreHilarious April 12, 2010  

    How is something that is recommended by Lonely Planet under-the-radar and non-touristy?

  • westcoast April 15, 2010  

    I *love* magic. Wait…what was I talking about? I’m hungry.

  • bvrly April 17, 2010  

    I have been to the Bang Shop and it’s overrated. One night around the table at the Udaipur hostel a group seriously considered using our collective 100 pounds of Lonely Planets for a very large bonfire. It was great for a laugh but how would I have found a clean cheap place in Jodpur or Jaiselmar?? At least those using Lonely Planet books wish to experience their destination. Don’t even THINK about going to the Cinque Terre if you were lucky enough to visit before Rick Steves. That is just sad.

  • jman April 18, 2010  

    If it’s ‘beloved by travelers’ it is ALREADY on the worn path, so stop living your backpack fantasy through the eyes of a crappy book like Lonely Planet. It just goes to prove, you’re not at special as you wish you were –

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  • Madhu Nair September 10, 2011  

    I did see the shop when we were there but didn’t try out the lassis.
    I am surprised that they are allowed to sell it in the first place.

    Recently I had heard that the shop was caught selling stuff other than Bhaang (Marijuana).

    In any case we had a great time in Jaisalmer. Fabulous city.

    Curious to see what you have in the McDonald’s post.


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