Eleven Nights in Bangkok

By Rita Feger

With the wish to make a positive contribution to a fairer world, one is usually not alone, so getting an internship is often difficult. Thankfully, my time had come: I had received an invitation to interview with Child’s Dream. Confident that the pandemic would soon be over and my head filled with picturesque Far East images without ever having been there, I was full of anticipation. No idea how to use Zoom, but still proud that I didn’t forget to put on my pants, I sat nervously in front of my laptop and waited… but the screen stayed black until further notice that the interview had to be adjourned. At least I was spared of accidentally pressing a wrong button or filter and appearing on the screen as a potato or a cat.  (If I had, I would have preferred the cat over a potato of course, for at least a cat has a chance of succeeding in a job interview).

Fortunately, everything went smoothly during the second interview. A few weeks later I went to the Thai embassy with my thick stack of official papers and soon travelled to Bangkok. Like an intruder from outer space, I was met at the airport by an army of blue and white plastic people.

Like an intruder from outer space, I was met at the airport by an army of blue and white plastic people.

In several successive stations, I had to show all the meticulously collected confirmation papers while my temperature was taken on every occasion. Assured that what I was experiencing was not a fever dream, I was not convinced myself…

I was driven to the hotel where eleven nights and twelve days of quarantine awaited me. Upon arrival and later, again and again, I was presented with countless consent forms to sign. I still ask myself today whether I did not unwittingly sell my soul in the process.

As a potential danger to the population, segregated and cut off from the environment, I felt at times as if I were in temporary solitary confinement deprived of my freedom of movement. This is how stereotypes become relative in times of crisis, and optimally equipped hotel rooms become cages – regardless of how golden they shine.

It was all about being patient and making best use of time. The highlight of the day was food, therefore even the dinner bell alone produced an abnormal feeling of happiness. Having been tested negative for the first time, I was allowed a short daily walk in the courtyard… uh, around the hotel pool. However, several days in a fully air-conditioned room clouded even this simple pleasure and I began to grasp what it means when it’s summer in Siam. Eleven nights quarantined in Bangkok makes a hard woman humble. Fortunately, everything comes to an end and I could feel Chiang Mai, an angel, sliding up to me.