Travelling with a Baby in Thailand- a whole new perspective
But no. Not in Thailand, anyway.
It's surprising, how it has all turned out.
It turns out, we are travelling with someone who is treated like a famous person!
Wherever we go, there are be people flocking around him. Pinching his cheeks, smiling at him, taking him from our arms, picking him up and just walking away- parading him to their friends and co-workers on the streets. Feeding him things that I am furiously snatching back out of his hands while trying to keep a cool smile to the person and just firmly say "no thank you" and know there is no point in me lecturing to a whole nation how I do not want to baby to eat sugar, salt and processed foods. And certainly NOT Coca Cola!!!
Even if he happens to be sleeping, people cannot stop themselves. They lift his hat, they giggle and coo, and wake him up, to my big disappointment. They treat him a bit like a cute puppy or kitten.
But there are so many advantages to this, and I am already used to the luxury of going into a restaurant or sitting down by a roadside food stall to eat, and know I'll have babysitters who treat him with care, love and entertain him perfectly. In fact, I have come to expect it, so when it doesn't happen, I almost get insulted. What- no one wants to play with my famously cute baby??
Today I went to the hairdresser. The lady told me to wait five minutes. I thought I was waiting for the hairdresser to arrive- but no, we were waiting for the babysitter to arrive. The babysitter was free of charge and wouldn't hear of a tip or pay.
I don't really "get it"- what is it about blonde, blue eyed babies that literally makes a whole nation go "oooohhhh" and want to pick him up, take a picture with him, take pictures of him, hit their friends in the side to make them look at the guy in the stroller- and more amazingly, not just once, but TWICE was I offered cheaper accommodation than the person who came just a moment after me to the guesthouse... I'm convinced it's because they just want this tiny person in their place!
In Bangkok, after a misfortunate snakebite to the right foot of the famously cute baby's father, we had to go to the public hospital in a rush. In the large room housing several different types of illnesses and a whole army of staff of different kinds, the snakebitten patient was largely ignored in favour of said blonde baby. Nurses, cleaners and even doctors were snapping shots of themselves together with the blonde famously cute baby and posting them on Facebook- despite all the big red signs saying "NO PICTURE"
In Mae Hong Son we stopped in a remote temple with one smiling monk in it. He picked up famously cute baby and swung him around and they were both happy and smiling together until we (his parents) got bored.
We now prefer to do all shopping with baby present, as we are received with a much warmer feeling, and certainly a better price. In fact, Thai people can be very rude and short towards Farhrang (white tourists) so it's certainly much nicer to have star-baby always with us, to be received with a smile and a polite Sawat-dee-kaa instead of being ignored.
Only one month into a three-month-trip, it is bound to get worse as we hit Cambodia and Laos- so I read, anyway. I wonder if I'll eventually lose my patience or if I'll be spoiled forever, expecting European café owners to hold and entertain my child as I drink my latte?