Relaxing By The Kampot River

Author: Ruzow

Our tuk-tuk turned off the road and onto a gravel driveway. A few moments later we came to a halt. We had just arrived at Ramo Resort, a beautiful little riverside retreat. We were taken to two tiny bungalows on stilts, right next to each other. This was to be our home for the next three days.

There was a lovely little restaurant and relaxation area, where we spent most of our time. We enjoyed many meals and shared many great moments. If we weren’t lying in a hammock we could be found jumping off the platform into the warm waters of the Kampot River.


Us children spent many hours in the water, either swimming or floating on tubes.

We went for a run to Kampot Town, two kilometres down the river. There wasn’t much to see and we preferred our riverside haven.

All too soon it was time to board the bus to Phnom Penh.

– Ruzow –


Quy Nhon, A Beach City With No Foreign Tourists

Author: Ruzow

Quy Nhon is a quiet beach city on the coast of Vietnam. We spent four days there and quickly grew to love it.


The city has a more local atmosphere than any of the other cities we have visited in Vietnam. There are street-side restaurants with little tables and stools everywhere, that serve everything from snails to sea serpents. A curious thing I noticed is that it seems to be a Quy Nhon custom that, when at a restaurant, all unwanted food and rubbish are simply discarded under the table. A concept completely foreign to me. The local men also seem to have a love for drinking warm beer with ice and having a go at street karaoke. This is extremely painful to listen to!

My favourite drink in Vietnam and also a Quy Nhon speciality, is a mango smoothie. The best was the one we had at Aloo Café. We sat at a little street table while enjoying our rich and creamy beverages. Quy Nhon also has delicious, fresh and really strange seafood. When you arrive at a restaurant the first things that meet your eyes, are containers full of live sea creatures waiting to appear on your plate. After having a few different meals, I decided that Bap (a type of fish) served with spring rolls was definitely my favourite. I will, however, not go back for the huge clams.


A nice way to start the day in the city is a stroll or a jog along the beach promenade followed by a swim in the ocean. The city itself is very beautiful, clean and well maintained and there are gardens and parks everywhere.

Walking along the beach during the late afternoon/early evening, was amazing. The beach was bustling with people playing football and volleyball, along with people sitting at the little drink shacks.

There weren’t more than a handful of tourists while we were there. This is exactly what we hoped for. An authentic Vietnamese city experience.

– Ruzow –

Reflections On A Faraway Land

Esto and Rodger

Author: Esto

We were riding in a jeep. I sat right at the back. We were on our way to ride on camels. I was a bit scared, but I thought it would be fun. When we arrived, the camels already had their saddles on their backs. They were all standing on their knees, but they were still very tall. I thought that I would have to share a camel, but then the guide said to me: “This camel is yours!”. I was very happy. The guide helped me to get into the saddle, and then he told the camel to get up.


Right after that Eulain shouted: “No, no! I do not want to go on a camel by myself any more!”. Then Mom said: “Get on the camel, it will be fine”. She got on the camel,  but when the camel got up, she was a little afraid. It was not for long.

The boy that lead Ruzow’s, Eulain’s and my camels hooked the ropes to one another. I thought I would be right at the back, but it tuned out that I was right in front! After we started moving, I asked the boy what the camel’s name was. “The camel’s name is Rodger,” he said. I liked Rodger because he was very gentle.

When we arrived at the place where we would stay for the night, there was already a fire burning and men were making chai tea. We had the delicious hot chai after we put our bags at our camp beds. We were going to sleep in the open under the stars. While the others were waiting for the sunset, Eulain and I played with a ball between the sand dunes. After a while the guide joined us. This was so much fun.


Later, the guide announced that everyone needed to sit down because they were going to serve the dinner that the men made on the fire. I enjoyed it because it was not too spicy. There were no lights, so we had to eat in the dark. I could only see the outline of the plate.

After dinner, we laid down on our back and looked at the stars. This was very, very beautiful. We went to bed, all six of us sleeping next to each other. Some of us saw shooting stars.

The next morning, the chai was ready when we woke up and the men were making breakfast. While we had breakfast, they saddled the camels. I looked for Rodger. He had a green rope around his neck. When it was time to go back, I got onto Rodger and we all rode back to where we would meet the jeep. I had to say goodbye to Rodger. I was sad and I asked my dad if I could have a camel. The guide then said I can take Rodger home. He just joked, but I actually wished that I could take him home with me.


Climb the Camel!


Author: Kali

The open jeep came to a sudden halt in a small clearing where camels were laying on the sand with colourful saddle blankets on their pale brown, humpy backs. It was so exciting to see the animals for the first time from up close. Eulain and I resembled the camels, being covered in dust and sand from riding in the back of the Jeep.

Camels are strange animals. They have long necks that stretch out from their massive, lumpy bodies. Their legs are long and thin, with large knots for knees and funny flat feet that are round with two sharp toes. They have short tails that look like fish back bones with hair and they love to swing them from side to side. Ears that are peculiarly small for such a large animal, sit perched on their heads. Huge teeth and a large mouth that is always chewing, completes the picture. A rod is put through their nostrils. This, as I had once read in The Swiss Family Robinson, is used to control them. Reigns are attached to these rods.

Ruzow climbed his camel like a hay stack. I couldn’t blame him though, it is really hard to get yourself into the saddle without feeling like you are pushing the camel over.  A sharp ‘J’ sound from the 10 year old boy who would lead some of our camels, was the command for them to get up. Slowly, one of the brutes lifted his backside into the air with a loud groaning noise. It was now standing on it’s knees, looking absolutely absurd! With another groan, the animal stood up straight, towering above the rest of the beasts that were now all with their backsides in the air.


Riding was the strangest sensation. It was what I imagined riding a dinosaur would feel like and it was really scary looking down, being much higher than I expected. The camel’s motion is unlike a horse’s. Rocking forward then backward, the strange motion slides the inexperienced rider from the front to the back of his saddle. Even though I had to pay for it with chafe marks on my legs, I was thrilled about riding a camel.



At one stage, Mum’s camel was close enough to mine so that I could pat its hard, dented head. To my surprise, it made a sound somewhere between a growl and a loud burp. Our camels’ guide, Arsheesh, told us that Mum’s camel’s name was Lalu, and mine was Kalu. It was such a coincidence that mine had that name, because Mum and Dad would have called me Kalu if I was a boy. I would’ve had a camel twin! For some reason I’m glad I’m a girl 😜. However, I wouldn’t mind a pair of those long eyelashes.

Until next time,


Snippets Of Precious Memories


Author: Mariza

Camels – what incredible creatures! And so perfectly designed for the desert. Strange too! Especially the way they get up or go down with a person on board. The “walk like an Egyptian” sway, backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, making you giggle. To watch the wonder on the faces of our four beautiful gifts and to know the sight or reference to these animals will forever take them back to this very moment we all shared – priceless!

Nothing beats the atmosphere created by food being cooked over an open fire. And to then sit down on top of a sand dune to be served with a small group of lovely people – an unforgettable experience. Still better it gets when, after filling up on Indian cuisine, you simply topple over to look at the stars, while continuing the conversation. Special, special memories never to be forgotten.


Six desert beds in a row, all covered with the same colourful fabric. My heart overflows as we lie side by side as a family, looking up at the stars, talking. Our four precious children, thanking us again and again for this most wonderful experience.


Paradise is sleeping under the stars in the desert with nothing but sand dunes in sight. And billions of stars. And then you wake up to see the yellow moon rising from behind the dune you face while lying on your back. And still the sky is adorned with bright, beautiful stars. All through the night you force your eyes open in the perfect stillness just to peer at that magical sky for one more minute. And off again to dreamland, or is this it? And then, on one occasion, you catch the first sign of daylight. The light creeps up from behind that same dune and touches all in its reach with colour. Further and further it stretches and paints ever brighter, ever changing the colour on a growing canvas. And then after a long time and many colour changes, the sun rises in all its splendour, the artwork completed. My heart is saturated with the colour of every treasured moment.


Caution Captine

Author: Eulain

The jeep stopped. I was so excited. We were going to get onto our camels here. A man pointed to a very large camel called Captine. When he sat,  he was bigger than me. I had to climb on it’s back.  When I was on, the man pulled on the rope that linked Esto’s and my camel. Captine stood on his knees. I thought it was not that high because, it was about the size of a horse. Then he stood up on all fours with a jerk. I was so far from the ground. At this height, I am sure you too would be quite afraid. It felt like I was a mile up in the air.



The next morning after breakfast, we set off for Jaisalmer. The twelve year old boy who was walking in front of our camels started running. The camels all followed his example. I never imagined that camels could run. It was heaps of fun, but the bumping around was quite extreme. I clasped my hand over my open drink bottle. It was a bad choice to drink while riding on the camel. I was terrified when I saw that the rope that I was supposed to hold to guide dad’s camel with, had fallen. I made a grab for it, but nearly fell off. In the bump and grab process, I accidentally showered myself and poor Captine in sticky Sprite.


The Thar Desert

Author: Ruzow

On our camels in the sun,

Oh it’s amazing so much fun.

Over the dunes we will tramp,

Until we arrive in our desert camp.

Watching sunset from a dune,

The moment is gone all too soon.

A thali is cooked over an open fire,

What more could my heart desire.

The camels lying in the sand,

There’s so much beauty in this faraway land.

In my bed back at the camp,

With only the stars for a lamp.

Underneath this starry sky,

I watch the comets shooting by.

I’m in the desert oh so dry.

I am gazing at this in awe,

What a sight I long for more.

As I sleep the moon keeps a watchful eye,

From her perch way up high.

Up again at first light,

Watching the sunrise what a sight.

But now it’s time for a wonderful meal,

Excited I’m now beginning to feel.

Back on our camels we’re now on our way,

How I wish we had a longer stay.

So even though we’ve left it behind,

The Thar Desert will be forever in my mind.




Royal Gaitor

Author: Ruzow

Out in the Indian heat, we stood in the city centre of Jaipur, bargaining for a tuk-tuk to take us to the Royal Gaitor. Ten minutes later we had persuaded one of the drivers to take us for our price. He bounced us along, but according to the GPS on Mum’s phone, we were going in the wrong direction. We were beginning to become very suspicious. Fifteen minutes later the driver stopped in front of the wrong place, according to us. It seemed like he had even called ahead to arrange for one of his friends to tell us it was the right place. After about ten minutes of arguing, he finally conceded and said he would take us to where we wanted to go in the first place. However, to our great annoyance, when we arrived he told us we had to pay extra even though he was the one who tried to con us! Anyway, we were finally at our planned destination.

The Royal Gaitor is an old cemetery and as the name suggests, all the mausoleums of Jaipur’s royal and noble citizens were built here. Its architecture and craftsmanship is magnificent, full of detail and intricate designs. We explored all the balconies and terraces. I couldn’t even begin to imagine all the time, money and effort it must have taken to build such awe-inspiring structures.

– Ruzow –

The Scootering Six

Author: Ruzow

It was eight o’clock in the morning and there were two grey scooters parked on our doorstep. Eagerly we all went out.

Before we could get going on today’s adventure, Mum and Dad, who have never before driven scooters, had to learn how. Dad did a lot better than Mum. Us children were laughing at and mocking her about not going on her scooter. Forty minutes later we were all set to go.

So with three per scooter, we started down the coastal road to Colva, the first village we were going to visit. The road was uneven and full of potholes, if we were not able to swerve around them, we were forced to bounce through. Despite that, we arrived safe and sound in Colva. It is one of the busiest villages along the coast of southern Goa. In Colva we parked our scooters and strolled onto the beach. The bright patterns and designs in a nearby clothes stall caught our attention, so we went inside for a closer look. We were all feeling a little bit hungry and decided it was time for a late morning snack. A few vegetable patties and samousas later, we were on the road again and found ourselves going around the crazy Colva roundabout. (I honestly thought we would not make it alive to the other side!!) There were cars trucks and motorcycles along with all the animals.

We arrived in Benaulim (the village we stayed in two days before) to visit Auntie Peggy on her sixty-sixth birthday. Auntie Peggy invited us inside and we had a drink and a quick chat. We were planning to come back when the kids came home after school, but now it was time to set off again.We bounced through the coastal lanes and streets, driving through Varca, Carmona and Cavelossim. About four kilometres south of Cavelossim, at the end of the road, we sat down on a bench near the mouth of the river Sal. We watched all the fishermen on the opposite bank and all the boats lying at anchor. It was great to rest my backside from the bumping.

It was about 2:30pm when we drove a kilometre north to the Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant. There we had a lovely lunch overlooking the river.


Just south of Cavelossim we bought two one litre water bottles of fuel from an old lady at a stand by the roadside.  We continued on our northward and homeward journey.

Later we were back in Benaulim to celebrate with Auntie Peggy, while all the children were there too. This time we had cake, soft drinks and chips. All of the neighbouring children came to play football with us and we were sad to say goodbye to our friends. Jemene (the mother) sent us home with bags full of delicious homemade curries.


A few bumpy kilometres later, we were back at our villa just outside Betalbatim. We had all survived a fabulous day.

– Ruzow –


Agra and The Taj Mahal

Author: Ruzow

After a few hours on the train from Delhi, we finally arrived in Agra where we were to spend our first night in India. We went out of the station with the rest of the sea of people. Then we made a huge mistake…

Outside the station, we were met by a friendly man offering to take us to our hotel in his taxi. We walked with him to his car and he drove us to our hotel through the crazy streets with every square inch covered with tuk–tuks, cars, motor cycles, bikes, pedestrians, dogs, donkeys and cows. This was an experience in itself. When we arrived at the hotel, our driver (his tourist name is Lucky) offered to take us on a tour of the Taj Mahal and all the other sights of the city. He also explained that it was very dangerous to walk around in the area where our hotel was and that his price was the best we would be able to find. Of course we didn’t know that he was lying to us and that we could get to all the sights by tuk-tuk for next to nothing.

The next morning, we were up early and in the car with Lucky. He drove us around for twenty minutes before we finally arrived at the Taj Mahal. It could however have been only a five minute walk from our hotel as we were later to discover.


The Taj Mahal was amazing!!!!! It is absolutely stunning! The architecture of this beautiful white marble masterpiece is magnificent. It blew my mind to think that it was built in the 1600s. It is completely symmetrical and its beautiful decorations intrigued me. All the semi-precious stones ranging from Jasper to Lapis Lazuli are inlaid in the marble in beautiful patterns and designs. The picturesque lawns and gardens around it are very impressive and the great thing about it, is that it isn’t packed with people. Yes there are tourists, but at least all your photos aren’t full of other people taking photos. I loved it.

After that we went to the Agra Fort, a fortress full of red palaces, gardens, courtyards and beautiful views of the Taj Mahal just a little down the brown river Yamuna. We walked around with Lucky for a few hours exploring the fort and taking photos with just about every Indian that saw us.

Then we went to an amazing lunch at a great Indian restaurant. I couldn’t help wishing that Grandpa Gordon was there too.

After the fort, went on to the Baby Taj Mahal, a building similar to the Taj Mahal  little way up the river. As the name suggests, it is a lot smaller than the magnificent Taj Mahal. But all the same, it is incredibly fascinating. There were almost no tourists here and we strolled in and around the Baby Taj Mahal. It is older and has a different charm to the famous and touristy Taj Mahal.

We were also taken to a few stores where the girls tried on sarees. Of course we were taken to all the tourist traps where the prices were extremely high.

Later, we were back in our hotel getting ready for a good night’s sleep. Jet lag had hit us.

The next morning, we explored the streets where the locals live and we had breakfast from a local food stall on the side of the road. We were stared at by everyone and it was interesting to see the local way of life.



We stopped for lunch at a less touristy restaurant close to our hotel. After a delicious lunch we went back to the hotel to pick up our bags and left for the train station. But this is another story to be told by Esto.

– Ruzow –

Beautiful Budapest

Author: Ruzow

Budapest is a lovely city bustling with activity on the banks of the Danube River. I loved all the old buildings that the city is mostly comprised of. Every building has its own unique architectural style, ranging from Gothic to Art Nuevo. Another great thing about the city, is that there are no highrises or skyscrapers. This is because there are laws in place that forbid any structure to be taller than the parliament building or the St. Stephen’s Basilica, which are both the same height. This preserves the original look and feel of the city.


The city is full of cafes, restaurants and ruin pubs (a ruin pub is a colourful and lively Hungarian pub that is located in the bottom floor or basement of an old abandoned apartment building). We also visited the beautiful parliament building, walked over the Chain Bridge, went to the City Park and saw all the other sights of the city. But my favourite, was definitely seeing all the different buildings and going for a run every morning on the lovely running track on Margarit Island.


Getting around Budapest is quite a painless exercise thanks to the amazing public transportation system featuring metros, trams and busses on every street corner.

We stayed in a few different parts of the city, which meant we got a great perspective of life there. It was interesting to sit at the apartment window and watch all the people outside going about their business. It gave me insight into the Budapest way of life.

Our second last night in Budapest, was definitely my highlight. The day before, we realised that we were coincidentally there for the National Day of Hungary. This day has been celebrated for over a millennium. It was a day full of music, huge crowds, celebrations and brilliant fireworks on the river in front of the parliament building and the Chain Bridge. I felt privileged to be part of an event so important to the Hungarians.

I enjoyed every moment in Budapest and wouldn’t mind coming again soon.

– Ruzow –



Source of the Soča

Author: Ruzow

After our Soča River Trail hiking expedition, we drove the two kilometres to the bottom of the waterfall that leads to the source of the river. We started our ascent on the mountain next to the waterfall. Slowly but surely, we climbed up, clinging on the the thin metal cord for dear life, while carefully placing our feet forward on the edge of the cliff. A little while later, we reached the top.F5506AE7-A725-4916-928A-1FD632B99258 (2)

I climbed over the rocks to get to the ancient mountain spring. Then in front of me in a damp cave, I gazed into it and saw the most amazing water I have ever seen. The colour was so beautiful it took my breath away. Amazing!!! I was awestruck at the thought that these drops of water had been slowly creeping through the cracks in the mountains for hundreds of years! Then I knelt down beside one of the rocks and drank the purest water I have ever tasted, right from an alpine mountain spring!!!!! I had achieved something I have always dreamed of. Best of all, I didn’t have to pay a fortune for it, it was absolutely free!

– Ruzow –


Captain Croatia!

Author: Ruzow

Dad woke me up at 4:30am. I quickly got dressed and had breakfast. Everybody else was still asleep as we went outside. Dad and I were going fishing with Daniel, the owner of the place we were staying at.

Less than ten minutes later, we were on the boat and getting ready to leave. When we were about 50 metre away from the mooring, I looked back and my gaze was met by a beautiful sunrise. It was magnificent. I watched the clear blue water for a few more minutes, when Daniel suddenly announced that I was to steer the vessel. He showed me how all the levers work and before I knew it, I had become Captain Croatia.

Captain Croatia

Over the next two hours, we pulled in 4 nets, each of them 200 metes long. In total, we caught 16 fish, but Daniel only kept twelve of them because the other 4 were poisonous. The biggest was to be sold to cover the fuel costs and the rest for Daniel and his family to eat.

All too soon it was time to head back. I sped us through the water to the mooring, carefully veering around a man on a kayak. Daniel then took over and tied the boat to the mooring.

The voyage was now over.

Written and Signed By

⚓️ Captain Croatia – Ruzow ⚓️




Baseball time!

Author: Ruzow

It was late afternoon, when our parents dropped me, Kali, Eulain, Esto, Shinae, Michelle, Conrad and Emma off in front of Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston. I could hear the roaring crowd from where we stood in line outside the stadium. Our seats were high above the pitch and I had a perfect view of the home base.

The game had already begun a few minutes ago. Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox. Most people, including us, were cheering for the Astros. This meant every time the small minority of Red Sox fans began cheering us Astros supporters quickly drowned them out.

It was a very close game, but in the end, the Red Sox managed to get away with a 2-1 win. Even though our team had not won, I was still happy to have been able to see the game and be part of the stadium atmosphere.

Thank you very much Wessels Kids!!!

– Ruzow –


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