Monday, March 15, 2010

up to date

after staying in Hua Hin in a tibeten meditation center, after visiting Venerable Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, who was brilliant, and after finally going back to Bangkok to stay one more night in my friend Sirikarn's house, I went to the airport and got my flight to Los Angeles. It was ok, except maybe that it was 3 hours longer than expected, that they concealed the fact that we have 2 stop instead of only 1 and that I could not eat the delicious vegetarian food that they had for me because it never was the right time. So I had a lot of juices, some butter and stomach problems anyway.
When I arrived customs was full of friendly and smiling officers, except the one where I had the luck to come to. (You can't choose) I was wearing shoes to not to be too offensive and tried to look as normal as possible with my ball head, without eyebrows and wrapped in weird brown blankets.
I was asked to show my return ticket.
I had none. I tried to explain that I don't want to return to Thailand, that I wish to see my mum in Germany instead and hope to find a cheap flight on internet once I'm settled in the monastery.
No way, without return ticket I was not allowed to enter America and was brought to customs, where I was informed that I either can purchase a ticket out of the country after my official 90 days stay or I will be sent back right away.
A young woman from Malaysia air, the airline which brought me here, came to do get the ticket for me. The airline one arrives with is responsible that one leaves again. So I had to trust her. phone didn't work, no money in the pockets, a credit card that doesn't work as we found out later, no chance to inform my friends who organized that I will be picked up.
I told that woman what I need is the cheapes flight to germany and said I have a credit card, she said: "I'll be back with the ticket in 30 minutes". And off she went. 4 hours later she appeared to tell me that she could get a flight for 3500 bugs.
4 hours seeing people questioned, deported, desperate arguing.
After 3 hours waiting i saw my friends from far, a saffron robe on the other end of the hall surrounded by happy Thai people. No way for me to call, yell, wave, or catch their attention. I tried to ask people around if I could make a call. No signal, and not allowed anyway.
The seats were more comfortable than those in the airplane so I could sit easy and meditate or for some time just vegitate dul. It's all impermanent. The Armenian man was in despair and almost freaked out he didn't want to go back to Armenia, even if he was a known burglar and not welcome in America, he repeated " no, NO, nooo,nonononono.But no chance fro him. The rich fat guy in expensive sportswear who was accused of murder and swore it was false accusation was called into a backroom. The Latino and his son had to go back to where they came from because his wife who was waiting outside had not enough money for their return ticket, they came like me without it. One passport had not 6 months of validity left. I don't know what happened to the Russian girl she came too often to America with a tourist visa, if she wanted to stay, what she was working and where, she was brought to the backroom. The old Chinese Lady in a wheelchair had brought an expired passport. The Japanese Business man lost his face and yelled at the officer, which probably made his stay at customs even longer. and so on.
America the Land of unlimited possibilities.
Well, after 4 hours I had not jet a flight but could give the attending woman my friends phone number and asked her to inform them, they must have arrived home by now ... wondering where I am. We decided to get any flight out of America of her airline which was refundable, I would show the ticket to the friendly officer, and next day cancel the flight. Good idea, I entrusted her the credit card. "I'll be back in 10 minutes". " Yes, yes" more sleeping then awake, but shivering of cold and not able to sleep I prepared mentally to spend a few more hours here.
After three quarters or so, she was already back, the credit card didn't work. Hmmm, what's next? "Did you call my friends?" "No." "Please, do." Off she was. I prepared mentally to spend my night there. Surprisingly fast, after only 15 minutes she came back, smiling and waving a sheet of paper. A flight confirmation. "We show this to the officer now, then you can get out of here, later your friends come, pick you up and sign the bill at the malaysian air counter."
Without Carbon tablets (damn diarrhea) and without friends all could have been much worse.

Now I'm at Wat Thai since 3 days, today the diarreah seems to get better. We go on alms round, food is plenty and very good, today for the first time i was kind of hungry. People are very nice and welcoming. I did some excursions to see Venerable Karuna Dharma, Bhante Piyananda, a Kuan Im Temple, washed all my cloth in warm water in a washing machine and rest and meditate. My trip to the desert and to north California is canceled in favor of resting and arriving and the weather is getting warmer. It's like a Mallorquian spring. Wonderful.

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