Tag Archives: Kids

Stargazing Camel Safari!! ⎮ Thar Desert, Jaisalmer

We stepped out of the car to some welcoming peach/beige colored sand.

“Hello, Thar Desert!”


Beautiful Thar Desert – no filter, I promise!

After a short tour around the camp, we chose our camels. I happen to choose the one with a purple saddle (it’s name is Disco). We began our safari and after a little while, we got to the top of the sand dunes to watch the sunset. Sebastian, of course, was the first to start rolling around in the sand. I did not want to but I got pulled in anyways and it was pretty fun too! We would go to the top of a dune, roll down, climb back up, and do it all over again; now these dunes aren’t like any that I’ve seen – the roll down takes minutes not seconds and it’s a big hike to get back up. After the pretty sunset over the dunes, we all made our way back to camp by camel. In a few minutes we sat in a big semicircle with the other guests in front of a roaring fire for our dinner and entertainment show.





Playing in the dunes!


The dinner was great – Indian Rajasthani food varying from curries and lentils – and the show was fabulous! One of the performers did some amazing tricks with a bicycle wheel. She would spin it round and round on her hand and toss it up. Then she would catch it on her foot. The same performer also balanced about eight pots on her head while dancing. Near the end of the show, the dancers pulled all of us up from our seats to join in the dance; my mom and I had a blast dancing around the fire pit. After the show, we made the decision to sleep under the stars instead of in a hut; oh, and did I say out in the Thar desert on the dunes under the stars? Yep!






At first, I really did not want to sleep under the stars. I didn’t have a reason why; I just did not want to. It might have also been because we were the only ones going there. Why did all the other guests stay back in the huts I wondered? But I had no choice anyways because the rest of the family wanted to sleep under the stars and if you ask me, I would rather sleep with everyone else rather than alone. We took a wagon out to the dunes to find a good spot with our guide; not to close to the huts but just far enough so that the lights do not distract us in our star gazing. Our spot in the dunes was actually a lot nicer than we had all expected. We all got our own beds, yes, frames and all. The beds were actually pretty snug and comfortable and as a result, I had a good night of sleep.


Our sleep spot on the dunes. Pretty nice, eh?


I like to call the stargazing a book. Whenever I cannot sleep, my dad always says to take out a book and read. Most of the time, it works. When we were under the stars, I would  fall asleep and wake up. The stars would be my book and cradle me back to sleep like a baby. All the stars are a great reason to make this one of the best nights of my life. At home in Florida, we have different constellations. Most of the time it is really just Venus,  the big & little dipper (if your lucky enough to even see stars above the city). But on this desert night, there were no lighting distractions and all the stars you could ever imagine. We got a constellations app (you have to pay, but totally worth it) and we got to see Jupiter, cancer, aquarius, orion and a LOT more!

When we woke up at sunrise, we packed up our stuff, hopped on the camel cart and our guide took us in for some breakfast before we headed back to the city. It turns out we were really close to India’s border and the country of Pakistan – pretty cool except that these two countries are not really close and have jet fighters flying to protect their countries. The more I learn, the more I question why borders are any good since they seem to cause a lot of anger and stress for people. But that’s a story for another day! We loved our time with Disco and her fellow camels, the dancing, and the sleeping under the stars on the dunes of Rajasthan.

Next stop: Jaisalmer — The Golden City!


The nice camel that carried four beds, all the bedding, two adults, and two children, there and back!



A nice rest before the walk back.


Angkor Wat, once a magical place

Have you ever gone to a magical place that became a disappointment the second time you visited? Well, that place for me is Angkor Wat. When I first visited Angkor Wat in 2008 with my good friend, Rebekah, we had the enormous temple for ourselves and we were able to embrace the marvelous details and grandiosity. Siem Reap was a cute little town with a handful of restaurants and shops. Yes, there were some beggars and kids trying to sell you anything at the temples. But overall it was a calm place where you could just enjoy your time at the temples.

Sebastian will be sharing the background on this wonder of the world in a separate blog and I could not have left Angkor Wat out of our world tour for obvious reasons. On a personal level, I wanted my family to feel the WOW factor that I had years ago when you enter Angkor Wat.

We certainly did say “WOW”  when we arrived at the bridge to enter Angkor Wat. Only this time around it was about the hordes of tourists and buses of Korean and Chinese groups pushing everyone around to take selfies. For example, in order to climb to the 3rd floor of Angkor Wat, we had to wait in line for 20 minutes and push your way through to see the temple from the top. By the time we returned to the bottom, that line was twice as long! Flashback to my visit with Rebekah and we had the entire area to ourselves.

Siem Reap roads are just as busy as a big city. For instance, Pub Street, where a handful of restaurants were located years ago, reminds me of Carnaval for tourists today with big crowds that you need to push your way through.

Another humbling experience was a quick 20-minute family foot massage. The masseuses were 2 16 year-old boys the size of our kids who charged $1 for the massage. Great learning experience to our kids that don’t hesitate to download a $1 app from the AppStore while kids almost their age are working to earn $1 on a school night. We had a family discussion and reflection about this experience for our kids to absorb the realities of the situation for other children around the world in less fortunate circumstances.

On a positive note, we stayed in a very comfortable hotel – Shining Angkor. We also had a great farewell dinner at Mie Cafe. Our local guide, Lee, was knowledgeable and shared insight on the current political situation of Cambodia as well as its history with neighboring nations Vietnam and Thailand who seem to take advantage of the Cambodians on a regular basis. And, surprise surprise, we even found a Brazilian restaurant – Gigi Brazil. I couldn’t recall the last time I had some yummy pão de queijo, pastel and churrasco and we really loved this break from the Asian food circuit.

In the end, I know this mass tourism is good for the people of Cambodia as the increased tourism brings great improvements to their quality of life (at least in theory). At the same time, I am torn because it meant that the place I once considered to be very special, is now gone to the massive tours. So I sit here in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar this week thinking that in 5 years time the same fate could happen to the beautiful Bagan and places that we have enjoyed here. Only time will tell.


Rebekah and I – 2008


Ohh the tourists – Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat


Ta Prohm




ESCAPÉ! *voice of Dory from Nemo*

Once in a Galaxy far, far away….

There is a place called Escape…

*pushes fast forward button*

So Escape is similar to a place PlanetAir. It is mainly an outdoor ropes course kind of place. We went there with my Dad’s friend Onn, it was really fun! Here is a list of all the thing/rides we did. Then I will tell you about what it was like.

  1. Flying Lemur (Very fun! Mom almost wet her pants)
  2. Trapeze (Mom kept yelling Noooo!)
  3. Awesome Rock climbing
  4. Sledding with tubes
  5. Monkey business

Flying Lemur description: The Flying Lemur is a ride when you are partnered up with another person and someone paddles you up very high on a bike. Once you get really high you pull a rope next to you and you free fall and swing really fast with lots of adrenaline.


Trapeze description: You climb up a ladder and go on a platform. They hand you a bar that is connected to some ropes. They tell you to jump off and you swing. A man down on the ground tells you to swing your legs up and hook them to the bars so you are dangling by your feet. Then they tell you to flip off the bar and you fall easily on the net.


Awesome Rock climbing description: There is a wooden tower with things like tires, fake windows, fake air conditioning systems, holes you latch onto, and more! You climb to the top as fast as you can and hit the button at the top which is the time you completed it. The guy that worked there could do it in 6 seconds! I did it in 20 seconds.

rock climbing

rock climbing

Sledding description: You pull your tube up a steep hill and slide down the hill really fast! It is really not worth it if you are tired from the other things you did (I guarantee you will be if you did it in our order)

Monkey Business description: It is a ropes course with ziplining, rope ladders, and much more! It contains 3 levels; the higher the level the harder it gets!

Onn taking on level 3 of Monkey Business!

Onn taking on level 3 of Monkey Business!





Mom on the trapeze


Coconut Tree Climbing


So True!