I landed in Bangkok around 6:00pm on Monday night. One day later than I had anticipated arriving but, my detour to China was surprisingly fun. Customs and baggage claim in Bangkok were really easy and quick. I got my bags, freshened up, and got ready to head to the Seder.
The cab took me straight to where chabad was holding their Seder and I arrived right in time for “marror.” Noam was already there, sporting a gnarly beard, and so I grabbed a seat next to him. Our table was filled with characters from all over the world. One man was from New York and has been living in Bangkok for eight years. He came to visit and loved it so much that he stayed. Another man, sitting on my right, was cracking wildly inappropriate dad jokes the entire time. I understood almost none of what he said but enjoyed every minute of it. The woman to Noam’s left lives in New York but has been working for UNICEF in the Phillipines for the past few months. It was so interesting to talk to and meet these Jews from around the world. The chabad rabbi and his wife are originally from the states (wife is from Los Angeles) but they have been living in Bangkok, with their six children, for 23 years. It is admirable what these chabad families do to help grow and support Jewish communities abroad.
Noam and I left the Seder and headed back to our hostel to meet Avi. We are staying in an alley just off of Khao San Road. The Songkran festival is still going on so it was hard to walk to our hostel without being plastered with chalk and sprayed by water guns. The streets are soaked with water and people are just running around spraying each other. It is one giant water fight. It is quite the site to see. I think we may partake in the festivities tomorrow pending our plans for heading north.
Noam and I waited for Avi to arrive at the hostel but as the hours went by I started to get nervous. His flight landed around 9:30pm and as midnight approached there was still no Avi. We were hoping he would have arrived by 11:00pm or 11:30pm at the latest. Just as Noam and I were gearing up for a search and rescue mission, Avi appeared covered in chalk, soaked with water, and lugging the largest backpack I have ever seen. He had been wandering for about an hour and a half trying to find our hostel.
We all gathered in our room and began swapping travel stories and discussing the trip ahead. Noam tried on his south Indian skirt for us and showed us pictures from his month at the ashram. Avi was upgraded to first class on his flights (perfectly fulfilling his stereotype). Both complained about the extraneous items their mothers required them to bring and everything just felt really normal. We still have no plan for the coming days but I think we sort of prefer it that way.
Chag Sameach from Bangkok.