Bangkok: a sizzling, all-embracing, exotic city where the past and the present intertwine. It’s a place where anything can happen… and anything really does happen. The paths of seven people cross in this metropolis. Seven seekers, for whom this city might be a final destination. Or perhaps it is only the start of a new journey? A successful businessman; a celebrated supermodel; a man who is forever the outsider; a young mother who suddenly loses everything; a talented surgeon, who could not give the woman he loved all that she desired; a brothel’s madam; and a charming young woman adopted at birth. Why these seven? Why did they come to Bangkok now, at the same time? Do chance encounters truly exist?
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Eva Fejos is a Hungarian women’s fiction author of thirteen bestselling novels, including her debut Bangkok Transit, which reached the top of the bestseller list within one month of its publication in 2008. Eva was a journalist for one of the largest Hungarian women's magazines, Nok Lapja (Women's Journal), from 2001 until 2012. She is the recipient of both the Award for Quality Journalism and the Award for Excellence. In 2013, Eva created her own publishing house in Hungary, Erawan Publishing. In addition to publishing Bangkok Transit in English translation and two new novels of her own, she launched some of her favorite authors’ books to her readers in Hungarian translation. Eva is very fond of traveling, and her many experiences give a personal touch to her exciting, exotic novels. She lives in Budapest where she is working on her next novel. For more information, please visit fejoseva.com, www.facebook.com/fejoseva1 (Hungarian) or www.facebook.com/evafejos1 (English), and twitter.com/fejoseva.
Anne circled the building several times before she mustered the courage to enter, even though she had planned everything out so well the night before. But now… she almost fled. What was she afraid of? The things that awaited her? The flood of memories, perhaps? She couldn’t decide what it was, just as she didn’t know whether to stay or leave. She hung around hesitantly in front of the little glass cubicle. Soon, a young, smiling Thai woman with a ponytail, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, appeared, shook Anne’s hand, and led her into an office without asking her what she was doing here.
“You’re here. But where is your husband?” the woman asked her in English.
Anne’s eyes opened wide in astonishment.
“He… he didn’t come along,” she said finally.
“I see,” said the woman. “It happens often. Men find it more difficult to feel comfortable in this situation. But it’s okay. We’ll take some pictures, or even make some videos if you’d like. They’ll have to get used to the idea eventually.”
“Perhaps you’ve misunderstood,” said Anne, but the woman kept smiling. “I’ve come to see the orphanage.”
“Of course, I know,” the woman said. “You’re in the right place. Look, I understand your uneasiness. We deal with this every day.”
The thoughts inside Anne’s head started to get tangled. What was this woman talking about?
“I’ve come to the orphanage because I’d like to help,” she said with resolve.
“Oh…” said that Thai woman, and looked at her quietly for a moment. “I thought… you were interested in adopting.”
Anne looked at her, baffled. Till now, this thought hadn’t even occurred to her.
“I would like to help,” she croaked again.
“I see. And… do you have an idea of the donation amount you’d like to make?”
“Money isn’t what I had in mind,” Anne confessed. “I thought I might work. As a volunteer, for free,” she said softly, reacting to the woman’s surprised expression. Then, she added,
“I’d be willing to do any kind of work. Even in the kitchen. I’m a good cook…”
She felt her throat closing up, nearly begging this woman who was possibly a few years younger than she and now staring at her in utter disbelief.
“How long would you be staying?” the Thai woman asked finally.
“I don’t know. A few weeks. A few months… I have time.”
“I see. Look, this is a very unusual request, and…”
“I know it is,” Anne interrupted.
“…we have to think it over. I have to run this by my supervisors, because no one’s ever requested this before.”
“Alright,” nodded Anne acquiescently. “Well, so what now?”
“If you’d like, I can introduce you to some of the children,” the woman said brightly. “What age group would you rather see? Smaller or bigger kids?”
“Maybe… maybe the littler ones. Or the big ones.”
The woman chuckled, then picked up the phone, spoke a few words in Thai into the receiver, then signaled to Anne.
“Let’s go,” she said, and gestured towards the elevator. Inside the elevator, the woman clearly wanted to say or perhaps ask something, but remained silent. “We’ll go visit the bigger ones. The little ones are taking a nap,” she said finally. Anne didn’t know what to expect. She was petrified, anxious that she would break down, afraid of the sight she would confront. She was frightened of her own emotions and those of the children. If she would have had the chance, perhaps she would have fled. If she were brave enough, she would go back to the elevator and leave the building. Or would running away make her the real coward? She didn’t know and didn’t have time to ponder this because as soon as they got out of the elevator and stepped into a playroom, time stopped.
She no longer had any thoughts and didn’t feel pain. But she saw, heard, and felt them with heightened senses. She squatted among them, perhaps even sitting down in the middle of the floor and talking to them. They might have even played with a stuffed elephant, but she really couldn’t say.
experienced had already etched itself onto her soul: big eyes and bright expressions; tiny mouths frowning, about to cry; bashful, honest smiles; careful, soft touches; small hands, tight hugs, carefree laughs. Anne felt the juice of life flowing back into her after so many empty, wasted, lost months.