I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be Justin Beber or Nelson Mandela – where you can’t go anywhere without big crowds of adoring fans forming. I feel like this trip has given me a small insight how these celebrities experience fame. Sometimes I think that Brendon and I are just Oren’s entourage. Everywhere we go, people flock to our blue eyed, white skinned, bald little baby. And lucky for them, he appears to be a people person so he offers them big smiles and happily accepts being held by just about every stranger out there.
There are incredible benefits to this. Thais and Laotians love babies and the family structure is very important. This means that we are often elevated to a different level of traveler and perhaps given opportunities that the 20-somethings don’t get. For example: we have yet to have a meal out together where the wait staff don’t take our baby away to explore the kitchen or a random fountain so that we can eat uninterrupted. It also means the locals want to talk with us. They cross busy roads just to ask us about our baby. To facilitate interactions between us and the locals, I’ve learnt some Lao and Thai – enough to convey the most crucial information – “he’s a boy”, “6months old”, “his name is Oren”, “he’s [insert] tired, hungry, thirsty, hot”, “do you have children?” “he smiles a lot” and most importantly “peek-a-boo”.
Yes, that is a monk taking a picture of Oren.
We’re now in Laos and have been traveling for a little more than a month. I feel like we have really hit our groove. We’ve figured out how to get Oren to sleep just about everywhere which now make long days pretty feasible. Not only are we more relaxed than we’ve been in years, we have time to feel inspired and to reflect on what’s next for our family. It really is pretty luxurious.
Napping on a picnic table by the Mekong and being put to sleep by a waterfall.
It really is somewhat ironic that we chose Laos - a country where malaria and dengue fever is endemic. It also happens to be the most heavily bombed place in the world. We forfeited the excellent health care system and first world amenities of Thailand (that convinced us to travel overseas with a baby in the first place) for the slow paced, luscious, ceremonial country of Laos.
A few days ago our celebrity baby celebrated his 6 months on the planet. We rented a scooter and took the back roads to an elephant orphanage. There, Oren got to meet a beautiful mamma elephant who used to work in the lumber industry. Stopped in a small village on the way back for some noodle soup and were swarmed by just about everyone that lived there (refer to above picture). Life is pretty good.