Almost Fearless

A Soft Landing

After leaving Beirut we went… of course… to Thailand.  It’s so easy to show up in Thailand, lugging all your stuff and reeling from making a rapid leap from the Middle East and fall comfortably into a routine of rest, food and gentle motorbike rides around town that there really was no other choice.  We went to Bangkok, then Phuket, where we did all the shopping and errands we couldn’t do in Beirut.  We went to the mall and splurged on brand new wardrobes (including maternity-ish clothes for me) for a total of $125.  I bought one outfit in Beirut for that much.  We got Drew’s iPhone fixed (cracked screen) and he bought a truck load of off-brand xanax (for travel days) because you don’t need a script here.  Then we ate.  And ate.  And stuffed ourselves some more.


I love Thai food so much but what surprised me this time around was how much Cole loved it too.  He never really got into the Lebanese dishes with sour yogurt and garlicky dips and pickled vegetables.  Thai food is often sweeter (when it’s not spicy) — he loves the satay and noodles (there’s a lot of sugar in Pad Thai!) and he adores watermelon shakes.

But what does he really love?  Roti.  He’s had versions of it in Thailand (Thai Pancake they call it for the tourists) and Malaysia (Roti Canai) and versions of it in India (although without sweetened milk).  It’s a very thin pancake, really like a flat bread and we order it with egg (the scrambled egg is added during cooking so it blends in but thickens it up a bit).  They slather sweetened condensed milk on top, and it’s so sweet it makes your teeth hurt.

How to make a toddler happy:

Already the condensed milk is dripping off his chin:

By this point people at the other tables are also watching our son, the wiggling, dancing in his seat, roti-eating machine:

He tried to share one piece (just one) with Dad.  But then he remembered, “WHAT AM I DOING?” and ate it.

I love that there is now condensed milk in his hair (it’s standing straight up now) and on his face and running down his arm:


What do you mean there’s no more?

This was about two minutes.  Then he jumped up and ran outside, tried to hitch a ride on a motorbike with side carriage (literally climbed into it!) we paid and left and he ran all the way down the street, down the beach, up through the hotel, and into the room.  Sugar!

It’s been fantastic to be here, but I’m still following Middle East events and this week Syria sent mortars into Turkey and Turkey fired back.  I’m glad we left when we did.  When I read about it, I yelled, “WHAT THE HELL SYRIA!”  How do you reconcile this kind of chaos happening in one place, while you have a belly full of roti in another?  I still feel connected to the Middle East.  I know too many people there.  It’s a complicated feeling but I hope I’m doing the right thing in just enjoying the life I have now, this moment, if for no other reason than I can.

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”



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