I hitchhiked for the first time today. It was as easy as I suspected, though I was slightly apprehensive about the whole thing. Interesting way to talk to interesting people, for sure though. I got a ride from Lynd St. in the Bombay Hills to the "motorway" (read: highway) exit in Bombay proper, then another fellow picked me up there and gave me a ride into Pukekhoe. The first fellow was a clean cut businessman of Scottish descent, whose second or third comment was "you’re a long way from home." What I thought was a fairly nonregional accent is distinctly American here. Bah. We talked about the world markets continuing to crash and then talk drifted over to Obama, as conversations with strangers generally do…Then I got a ride in short order in Bombay from a crusty old Maori fellow who was a bit…Off…But in a harmless hobo sort of way, not an "I’ll chop you up and stuff you in my trunk" sort. We talked religion a bit; he talked about a trip to Papua New Guinea where he followed a bunch of people from around the world who were preaching forgiveness for what the Europeans had done to New Zealand and says he found God there. Then we talked about Obama some more. I didn’t expect to have a hard time hitchiking, honestly. I figured people would be intrigued to talk to such an obvious foreigner, and at least this time, I was proven correct.
Picked up a bank account and library card in town today…Not sure what I want to do tomorrow…Busing to Auckland will cost $$ and I’m not feeling confident I can hitchhike there AND back, so I think I’ll just stay at the monastery. If it’s a nice day I’ll head back to Pukekhoe again and maybe spend the day at the park and library and just chill out. Oh, and Youtube the Inauguration, of course!
Facebook is being annoying so I’ll have to post a few of the pictures I’ve taken here. Hope you like!
Ajahn Chandako looking far more serious than he normally is. This pose presaged a conversation with the construction crew about sex change operations, Buddhist Nuns with moustaches, and Club Med: Bombay. You had to be there.
This shot was taken by Venerable Jodi Palo…Myself and my fellow caretaker Turner.
Blue again, just cuz he’s so popular. Also taken by Venerable Jodi Palo.
Double-rainbow over Vimutti after yesterday’s rainstorm.
This is a shot taken from the forest trail Turner and I spent yesterday working on. I felt horrible; I was using a Maddox to tear up this lush carpet of ferns and taking a chainsaw to Tree Ferns…Such endemic diversity…The soil was full of creepy crawlies; it felt like untouched wilderness, and I, the unforgiving, muddy booted logger took a chainsaw and filled the air with billowing white plumes of carbon monoxide, before lighting up with a cigarette soaked in gasoline and bar and chain oil, taking a drag, pissing on an ant hill, then casually tossing the half-smoked cigarette into a leaf-litter nest of baby rabbits…Ok, maybe I’m waxing a tad sentimental, but the spot is just too…Pristine…For a worked trail…Sigh.
Everyone else prays to Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha…I pray to the vaguely elephantine fern nestled deep in the forest.
I happened to see this on my way to lunch yesterday. A hunting wasp, dragging a freshly paralyzed spider to a nearby burrow. There she’ll lay an egg, which will hatch, and her larva will devour the still living spider, saving the vital organs for last.
This is the kuti I was staying in, before leaks, possums, and a spider bite forced me into the "luxury" of my trailer.
Sunrise this morning at Vimutti.
And a final shot from near the Monk’s dining hut.