Day 10 – Philidelphia, and living in an Amish Paradise

• After yet another long day and late night, we took advantage of the opportunity to have another early morning start. This holiday so far contains significantly less sleep ins and sunbathing on deckchairs than I was hoping for.

• Today was off to Philadelphia – city of brotherly love – which was named after Phil’s Deli, and it turns out it was the OG capital of the US before it was moved to Washington to be more central to the 13 colonies. One of those statements is true.

• Philadelphia is an incredibly beautiful city, and has some amazing old buildings. One of their claims to fame is having the longest continuously inhabited street in the US. The street is called Elfreths Alley, and has been inhabited since 1736. One of the houses was for sale recently, with an asking price of $495,000USD so if anyone’s dream home is one with a horse gate, about 6M of width and about a million tourists a year past your front door, get your people to contact my people and we’ll make the arrangements.

• We also did the Rocky stairs, except with less running and tracksuits and punching people. There’s actually little footprints at the top so you can stand in the right place and copy that scene. There were actually people running up and down too, possibly they are also boxers. Hopefully they were wearing boxers, that came in boxes. And they have a dog, which is a boxer. And they drive a cheap Porsche… the Boxster. I’ll stop now.

• The motto “city of brotherly love” is less the rainbows and Kylie Minogue soundtracks and leather wear during Mardi Gras I always thought it was about, and is actually about religious tolerance due to it being founded by William Penn who was a Quaker. Quakers are basically a mob of Christians who believe in pacifism and equality so they don’t bow to toffs and what not. Because they let anyone practice their religious beliefs without persecution, it was seen as the place to be where everyone got on. The brother is metaphorical, or symbolic, or some other word that isn’t literal.

• We went to Benjamin Franklins house, except it had burned down. Not recently, ages ago. Guess we missed the memo. They built a metal sculpture in the shape of the frame of his house in the same spot, and we got to see his poo pit so that’s almost as good I guess. He invented stuff, was an abolitionist, believed in segregation, was the country’s first postmaster general, signed a little bit of paper titled “declaration of independence”, and wrote lots of witty things you see on inspirational posters and what not. Apparently his autobiography is a good read. Check the wiki article for his full list of over achievements.

• Speaking of the first post master, the very first post office in the country is right next door. It kicked off on July 26, 1775. On July 27, 1775 the very first “Sorry we missed you” card was dropped in the mailbox of someone who was home at the time.

• We also checked out the Liberty Bell, which is famous cause it’s broken. Classic British build quality. It was broken on delivery so they recast it, at which point it broke again. Apparently if you line up three of them you win a prize. Major win not valid if the third is actually a cherry.

• In the same area, there’s an original print copy of the declaration of independence, which I didn’t read, and a copy of the deceleration of common aims, which I also didn’t read. The deceleration of common aims was a post-ww1 attempt by various European nations to mimic the success of the Americans version at promoting harmony, but we know how that played out. In some fitting and delicious irony, the Israelis in the tour group went off chops when the guide for this area mentioned Palestinians and one ended up storming out in a huff. Classic behaviour in an area dedicated to a document attempting to create harmony. They were obnoxious the whole time and I do not care for them.

• After all that learning it was off to an Amish community where we got out of a bus with 300hp that could carry 50 passengers in air conditioned comfort, and on to a buggy with 2 horsepower that could carry 14 people in zero comfort. The old bloke driving did lots of rousing at another tour group who got in the way of his horses, and then asked for two young ladies to join him up front where he asked them to add him to Facebook.

• I don’t get Amish farming… they grow all this corn and soybeans, but it’s just to feed their cows. They can’t grow enough so they have to import more. They then sell the milk. With all the land they’re on it feels like they’d be better off growing something more lucrative, but I need the internet to survive and they don’t so who am I to tell them what to do. They also breed dogs (constantly), and buy ex-race horses to breed and sell (constantly). Then they don’t believe in contraception, so they also breed constantly. So yeah I dunno. Seems like a bit of a rubbish lifestyle.

• Last stop was an Amish shopping market thing in a town that is hilariously called “Intercourse” where the tourists go to get fleeced with overpriced Amish-themed homewares that were made in China. I managed to avoid the homewares, but did buy another Snickerdoodle so Erin and I spent a pleasant afternoon in Intercourse sharing my snickerdoodle.

• Then it was back to a hotel in Herndon, Virginia where we’re spending the night before another big day tomorrow!


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