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Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

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Amish Country (USA Day Two)
(See lots of mis-labelled out of sequence pictures here!.)

Sunday, my second full day in the US, my Australian friends here Luke and Laura took me out to Amish country in Pennsylvania.

I still can't quite handle the driving on the wrong side of the road thing. Especially on the small roads, when I see a car approaching us I immediately think "Crikey we're on the wrong side and it's going to run into us head on!"

For some reason the Amish towns all have ridiculous names. We went, I kid you not, to a town called Intercourse! Even more oddly, the town seems to have changed it's name from the relatively sensible "Cross Keys" to Intercourse - which apparently back in 1813 had a far less suggestive meaning...

I took some shots of the Amish going about their cart-driving ways, which felt a bit odd, as if someone had come to Northcote and started taking photos of the local lesbian community whilst out walking their dogs. A couple of young Amish boys bounced their cart around the street for my amusement.

I have to say I grew a bit of respect for them. I've always just thought of the Amish as somewhat backwards and Ludditish. But unlike a lot of serious religious types, they don't try to recruit - you won't get the Amish coming to your door with some kind of flier. In fact, they don't even recruit their own kids, they send them out at a certain age and say "come back before you're twenty two or so if you want to." So they've been sticking to their thing for centuries. And in fact they will use, for example, telephones if they need to, but will pop them in a separate little building outside, say, their saddle factory, and only answer it at set times of the day!

So some of them do do business for example, doing the things they're good at. You can get some Amish to come out to your farm around here and build you one of their nail-free barns. And it's not that they have a thing against nails, they're just a thing they can't produce themselves, so not using them is more about self sufficiency.

Also, if you're visiting Amish country, most things are shut on a Sunday!

And speaking of town names, we also passed through Bird-in-Hand and Paradise!

Another fun thing they create in that part of the world are Draft Mules, donkey's crossed with fairly large draft horses to create a really big strong mule. I'd never thought of that as a way of building a work animal to specifications!

From there we went to a place which is about as far removed from the Amish as you can imagine. We went to the biggest outdoor camping type store you can imagine! It was roughly the size of my entire local mall. Luke and Laura mostly took me there so I could be amazed at how there were racks of tents, clothes, and rows and rows of guns! Not the sort of thing one sees at your local Kmart back in Oz. Which of course brought out the redneck in me.

I was also amazed that some of the guns appeared to be targeted (ok, that's not the right word!) at women - the bodies of some of the guns were pink!!!

After that we went out for a whole lot of Mexican food - which they do do better here.

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i always loved those weird named towns. I went to amish country is '94 and we bought my mum a tacky magnet that looked like a series of roadsigns pointing to funny town names in an immature fashion (intercourse, virginville etc etc)

p.s love the analogy of taking photos of the lesbians walking their dogs!

Hey, I think I got one of those fridge magnets too! :-)

Blue Ball? WTF?????

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