Friday, March 1, 2013

Traveling with Oren

It’s 40 degrees outside and I am in an air-conditioned hotel room waiting out Oren’s third nap of the day. It seems like a strangely normal routine now. We plan our activities around his two hours wakeful sessions. Like Cinderella though, if we miss the window and try to postpone his nap a little longer, what was once a happy friendly baby becomes a screaming, inconsolable mess. We think of him as a ticking bomb that if we do not diffuse in the allocated time - will blow up in our faces.

Anyway, all is calm right now. Daddy is out taking pictures in the beautiful evening light. We're in a town called Nong Khai and our guesthouse is perched on a hill overlooking the Mekong river. In about a week we will make the trip across the border into Laos but for now we are immersing ourselves in the slow paced lifestyle of this quaint river town. It’s amazing how much traveling has changed since either of us did our global tours ten years ago. The most obvious change of course is the fact that we have a baby and this has made our choice of accommodations and travel itineraries a little more civilized although perhaps pedestrian. We always choose rooms with ‘air con’ and hot water. We do not take bus trips any longer that 4 hours and we consider things like ‘health care’ when we choose our final destinations.

But the world has changed too. I used to carry around my Lonely Planet like a bible – the thought of seeking out accommodation without it was disconcerting! Now every single $17 hotel or guesthouse we've stayed in, I’ve found and booked online. I read through the countless reviews from tourists all over the world and we make the call based on their recommendations. It almost seems strange to remember my life before Back in the day (the early 2000s to be precise) I would have had to call to confirm or risk a room being available upon arrival. My impulse to call is still there but public payphones no longer exist. Like North America, phone booths are a symbol of the past and Thais all seem equipped with there very own cell phones. To top it off, the once prevalent internet cafes have gone the way of the dodo bird, as every guesthouse and hostel is connected and Wi-Fi is free and plentiful. Considering that it's only been 10 years since either of us has traveled overseas, it's hard to imagine how different it will be for Oren once he begins his own trek around this incredible world.

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