Thursday, March 4, 2010

Frytown, Iowa: A Study of Contrast

42N country's Frytown, Iowa (latitude 41.57N, longitude 91.73W) is a small farming community in eastern Iowa. Located between Iowa City and Kalona the region is home to Amish and Mennonite families. Nearby is a FAA radio beacon used to guide intercontinental air traffic between coasts. On sunny days you can spot scores of jets flying nearly overhead from horizon to horizon going east to west and west to east. Little do the 21st-century air travellers know that 33,000 feet below them is a community that embraces some practices from the 19th-century.

While in Frytown for an auction (photo above from the horse hitch area of the auction house) an Amish farmer showed me how their clothes are pressed by irons made around 1900. The auction featured many local farm tools including the old non-electric irons. In return I showed him and two of his friends how my Blackberry works. They heard of the device but had not seen one demonstrated. The younger guy seemed the most interested and asked several questions including whether it had news of the earthquake in Chile that occurred that morning. His older friend offered a sceptical eye. Know that.

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