Friday, February 18, 2011

Hello Boy!

Making one's way around tourist Cambodia - and to a lesser degree, Vietnam - with Teddy is like traveling with Justin Bieber. Not exactly, though, because although teenage girls lead the charge of adoring Teddy, everyone of every age and stripe there loves a little, blond, blue-eyed boy. Maybe it's more like traveling through Germany with David Hasselhoff. That sounds strange, I know, and before experiencing it, we were totally unprepared for it.

In restaurants, at the temples and in markets, people woul
d call out "Hello, boy!" Groups would ogle and smile and giggle. Rather often, people would reach out and stroke his cheek with the backs of their hands or touch his buzz cut and say "so cute!" This included a uniformed guard outside the Prime Minister's residence in Phnom Penh. For the most part, Teddy took to this just fine; he's as comfortable with adoration as I assume the young Mr. Bieber is.

Traveling with four blond boys, we saw this reaction frequently, although Teddy being the youngest in our group and still carrying a tiny bit of baby fat got the most attention. His cousins - 9 and 7 - deal with this kind of public attention "at home" in Vietnam often and have tired of it.

In general, people commented on our family having four boys (and no girls) saying "so lucky!" That's true in a culture in which sons care for their aging parents. I observe that mostly daughters care for their elders in our culture and expect that Paige and I will be more or less alone in our dotage. Perhaps we should pray that the boys marry women of the dutiful sort.

If I do
meet Justin Bieber, I'll say "Hello, boy!" and stroke his cheek. Until then, I'll just enjoy the fact that I get to spend so much time with the blond, beautiful heartthrobs of Cambodia.

1 comment:

Anne H. said...

The heart throbs of Cambodia and Vietnam and you get to live with them. You're blessed!