Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

August 19, 2017
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Rajasthan, India

A cardiologist and his fiancée sleep under the stars on a dune in Rajasthan

Where was your night to remember? On a sand dune in the Jaisalmer desert, Rajasthan, India.

When was this? October, 2005.

Who were you with? My brand new fiancée, now wife.

What made this night memorable? Travelling through Rajasthan, India was intoxicating. It’s the India that dreams are made of. Mustachioed men with garish orange turbans dot the streets. Ubiquitous Ambassador taxis and motor rickshaws share intersections with the elephants and camels still employed by locals.

One of the most striking cities in Rajasthan is Jaisalmer. Built around a 12th-century sandstone fort which is still inhabited, it rises from the Rajasthani desert like a mirage. From Rajasthan, we took a one-night camel tour of the surrounding desert.

Riding a camel is fun for about 10 minutes, but once the novelty wears off, reality sets in and you realize you may be walking funny for a few days once the ride is over. My wife, then brand new fiancée, wisely heeded a fellow traveller’s advice and donned not one, but two sports bras. However, the bouncy ride was worth it.

Our destination was a set of shifting dunes towards the Pakistani border. It was a surreal night. Before dusk, Indian fighter jets screamed low over our heads guarding the border. An unforgettable sunset slowly melted into a sky so full of stars we opted to sleep without a tent. We gazed in disbelief at those stars for hours. To this day I’ve never seen a sky so full of stars nor have I ever slept under a sky without a roof or tent over my head. That’s a night to remember!

Where did you dine and what did you eat? The food was provided by a guide and a cook. It was very basic; roti and dahl. “Handwashing” was a bit suspect though, as they suggested rubbing our hands in the sand to clean them.

How much did it cost? Booked locally in Jaisalmer, the night under the stars was less than $10 per person.

Would you do it again? The night on the dunes was unforgettable; a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Dr Jason Yung is a cardiologist from Dartmouth, NS.

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