The last time we came to Asia was in those far ago days before children. I love it here, it’s so very different from absolutely anywhere else, so vibrant, baffling, exciting. But I’ve never thought of it as a place that’s particularly child friendly. It’s hot, crowded, confusing, challenging, the food’s spicy and contains strange animal parts, and if you read the medical section of the guide book, you’ll never step off the plane.
We may only be in Singapore, which is on the Western end of the Asian spectrum, but so far, I’ve been wrong. The children have embraced everything from dim sum for breakfast to wandering, fascinated, round Hindu temples. They’ve eaten street food of every description, negotiated the thronging sea of people that is the MRT, had their cheeks pinched by Chinese grannies and used their first squat loos.
And having the children is changing our experience of Singapore. We are walking round with conversation magnets. People on the tube stop to tell us how cute they are. The lady selling fruit wants to know how many children we have and what their ages and sexes are. Three seems to be a bit of a novelty round these parts. We’ve met a love bird called Milly who eats cake, discussed draughts with a gaggle of elderly men and had a magic show just for us. I may eat my words when we’re all harbouring some hideous tropical disease, but I think I’m going to like introducing my children to Asia.