Travelling with royalty

One big thing we have learned since having a baby and traveling around Asia, is that Asian’s LOVE babies. So far we have not found an Asian culture who doesn’t go completely bonkers when they see a Westerner baby. I think we have a pretty good idea of what handlers of royalty must feel like, it is crazy, disconcerting, and eventually sweet.

Our first encounter was with tourists in Hawaii. We took our little monkey to the pool at the hotel and no joke we had a Japanese paparazzi horde (we speak basic Japanese so recognised the language). I am serious, I was filming hubby and little monkey when my hubby told me to turn around and there was about 20 Japanese tourists cooing, laughing and snapping away. Wait what? yup snapping like crazy at some random child they don’t even know. But wait, then we had a lady come up and ask if she could have her photo taken with our little monkey! I’ll be honest on one level it was funny, and on another totally freaked us out. We left soon after. But this set the tone for our trip where Asian tourists would stop us in the streets and chat to us about our little monkey.

We did not think much more of it until our recent trip to South East Asia. We traveled through a few countries and one thing remained the same, every where we went our little man was treated like royalty. Old cranky people would bust out huge smiles and silly voices, giggly teenagers would oooh and ahh, workers would stop and high-five our little monkey, and if we stood still for long a small group would form around us.

It was amazing really, and by the end of it we had lost the hang ups our society has on this sort of thing. Certainly in Western culture it is frowned on to touch some strangers baby let alone play with them. Doubly so if your male. I can’t recall in Australia a random male coming up to my baby and saying “high-five little guy”. Previously if one did I would probably pick my little monkey up and move at speed (borderline breaking the sound barrier) in the opposite direction, to be fair I would probably have done the same to a random woman as well. But this is how Western society has become, we are suspicious of anyone we don’t know showing an interest in our child.

I was speaking to a local expat who said most Westerners struggle with the way Asians act towards their babies and children. Once we accepted they didn’t mean any harm we were a lot more relaxed about it. It certainly lead to some of most memorable moments, like a receptions who touched my little man’s arm and whispered with reverence “he is so fair”, the cranky old man who had glared at us as we walked into his shop but then giggled like a school girl trying to entertain our son, the waiter in a restaurant who stood in view of our son pulling faces and entertaining him, having Asian families pointing and staring at us with wonder (and commenting to us about our son) in the pool (and I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with my glow in the dark white skin), and the cleaner who giggled as the little monkey followed her around the room.

One thing I have learned from this experience is to dial down the panic meter when some stranger approaches our son and wants to interact with him.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. stacybuckeye
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 01:27:46

    I had no idea! I love it when people come close and talk to Gage, but rarely do they touch. It is a hang-up that I think it too bad. I do enjoy the joy he brings when we go out. People love babies 🙂

    Reply

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