Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tudong (Dhutanga) in America

Urban Camping - Wat Thai LA in the backgroundSometimes the ability to ignore the advice of others is a virtue, sometimes a vice... not sure this time, with everyone telling me that tenting in six feet of New York snow wearing sandals is probably a bad idea.  Even the donors of my new porta-home, a Coleman 3-monk half-dome, expressed this wish as they offered it to me: "I hope you don't have to use it."  I don't really understand the big deal - when we were kids we camped out in the snow for fun; of course I wore a lot more, thicker clothes back then. 

I pitched the 7'x7' frame on the front lawn in an San Fernando Valley windstorm and it seemed warm enough inside.  I was prevented from testing it out fully, though, as it was felt that sleeping in a tent on the front lawn of the North Hollywood monastery would attract the wrong sort of attention.  They're probably right, as attested by the two homeless people sleeping on the front lawn across the street.  Two's company, three's a crowd, I guess.

I did contact the Laotian monastery in Rochester, though, and they're happy to have me stay with them for a week.  The great thing about Lao monasteries is that they speak Lao.  That's good because Lao is almost identical to Thai, and I can speak Thai (supposedly).

 Anyhow, more when I touch down on the East coast.