I was hiking around in Uskil and I snapped this picture of these two little kids in this mud/clay hut. They’re cute aren’t they? They got all nervous when they saw me and jumped back inside.

Those sun-baked brick huts were all over the place up there. Uskil was this place that only got electricity about ten years ago. Can you imagine that? It’s incredible to think how people can live, or how they do live all over the world. It was peaceful hanging around there I have to admit, but you also got the sense that half of the entertainment of the place was a carefully guarded secret. It’s the “absence of the global villiage” syndrome I guess, and you probably don’t know what I’m talking about.

Put it this way.

I’ve always been a casual fan of things like “Seinfeld,” and I always hated “Friends,” but I know all this crap about them. I know who Chandler and Ross and Jennifer Aniston are…oh and Joey…so if I go into a frickin’ Starbucks or something (Arabica is better) I can be assured that I can make some stupid “Seinfeld” or “Friends” related joke and people will know what I’m talking about. We have a common ground.

But, in Uskil, I knew absolutely NOTHING about what the local people were thinking. They’d start breaking out into laughter about Maria Louisa’s Cow from thirty-two years ago or something…I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about! How could I? All their humor was organic and based on the personal experience of the people in the town. That was interesting, but I’m not sure how good it was for all of them. I mean, what if you didn’t like anyone in the town? How were you supposed to know that there are other people in other places that might accept you or view you differently than the ones you grew up with?

Still though, I have to say that people from small towns are a lot more curious and interested in anything you might be able to tell them. They just come up to you and start listening in a way that makes you watch what you say. Who knows how much weight their giving to your words? Who knows whether or not you’ll be the punchline for an inside joke in thirty years?

Crazy.

And it’s not all strawberries and cream either, no matter what nostalgic historians might say.

I remember I was walking down a street and all of a sudden I heard screaming…like horrible screaming the type of thing that when you hear it you want it to instantly stop.

It took me about two seconds to figure out where it was coming from (it was loud). I looked through this door to this small hut, it was dark inside with a dusty dirt floor.

Sitting on the floor was a picturesque looking woman with one of those mountain hats and a dark blue dress. Her daughter was sitting beside her. Together, the two of them were slitting the throat of a pig that was thrashing around despite their best efforts to hold it down. Blood was spilling out all over the floor, the black puddle was growing ever larger.

The woman looked at me.

I looked at her.

I turned around and left.

Now, if such a thing was happening back home, a bunch of animal rights groups would have probably turned up or some other such scandalous nonsense and that woman would be sitting in jail next to Michael Vick…but hey…PEOPLE HAVE TO EAT! I’m sure there was a time when people slaughtered livestock in their houses all the time. DEAL WITH IT!

I guess it’s just annoying when people get all mad about having their pastoral illusion of antique contry lifestyle destroyed by the hardships people have to endure to exist there. Remember how pissed off everyone was when “Apocalypto” came out? Well, if anything, Mel Gibson’s portrayal was probably even LESS bloodthirsty than the actual event.

Man…college professors were complaining about “Apocalypto” how crazy is that?

Anyway, here’s another photo of Uskil taking from one of the main streets. Go someplace like that sometime in your lifetime. Do it. Go someplace so radically different than anything you’ve ever seen that you’re forced to reevaluate everything that you know about yourself, the universe, your life, and…well, just everything. It’s good for you. Especially if you think you’re something special…and extra especially if you think you aren’t.

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