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semi-overcast 20 °C

The weekend here was packed with new American experiences. On Saturday, the 4 guys that were left over from the water filter courses drove to Marion, the closest town to experience Marion's biggest event of the year - the Mountain Glory Festival. It wasn't really all that glorious, but there were some interesting things. I like way the Americans go in for harvest decorations - the oranges and yellows and scraggly looking scarecrow dolls and harvest wreaths. There were some cool pumpkin things for sale.

There was a lot of food for sale too - a big draw for the bigger people here - of which there are plenty (the american guys that are here from other parts of the States say that they are in culture shock at the number of bigger folks they have seen here and think it is because it is a bit of a depressed area). The root beer float is a favourite as is funnel cake - a deep fried 'fat bomb'. I resisted buying one of the different fudges for sale - even though the blueberry fudge looked colourful.
They are big into "clog dancing" here. It supposedly originates from the Irish dancing that the 'Scotch-Irish' brought over. I watched the ladies in pink t-shirts tapping their feet in unison and then announce that clog dancing is making a comeback! I was thrilled.
I went over to a stand displaying the big confederate flag because I am so intrigued about how the south views their past. The guys there were very pleased to tell me that one of the Confederate generals had come over from 'Earshire' in Scotland. The gravestone photo they showed me clarified to me that it was Argyleshire the soldier had come from. I asked for a little confederate sticker and was given a whole realm of them. The American friends from the filter course (from the north - 'yankees') were saying that some people in the south would still like to go back to the old way of doing things with slavery and all. Others are interested in the history for its own sake.

Later on, we drove deeper into the Appalachian mountains in Pislagh national park to walk to Linville falls. This time of year, the leaves in the woods are changing colour and they are incredible reds and oranges and yellows. Supposedly, the autumnal or 'fall' colours here are the best in the US. Hiking is a bit of a pasttime in these parts and people like to go hiking after church. There were plenty of people walking to Linville falls anyway, it didn't feel like we had gotten away from it all...

I had been looking forward to Sunday all week. I had convinced people to visit the local mega church of 6000 in Asheville. I was not disapointed at all. We drove into a mega car park in the 'Matthew' parking bays (they were named after books of the bible). The church building was mega and inside, you're greeted with a coffee bar. The meeting hall was like a large theatre and the service was slick with beautiful people singing and presenting. The whole event was being videoed by 2 cameramen and the close-ups of the beautiful people displayed on big screens. I loved it! It was an incredible experience. I thought the message by the chiseled Ken lookalike of a pastor would be wishy washy, but it was great - all about letting the Holy Spirit change you.
At the end, everyone seemed to leave pretty smartish for some reason, so there wasn't much hanging about and speaking to folk. I had been hoping to play the foreigner card and wow people with my Scottish heritage which all Americans love and get a meal invite. Luckily enough, though, all guests were given a welcome gift which I made sure I got - a couple of choclates, a cd of pastor chiseled Ken's sermons, a map showing all the facitilities and a little book. I had heard that at some mega churches you got a travel mug, so I was slightly disapointed, but the Biltmore Baptist pen is now my favourite.
There was gridlock for 20 minutes leaving the church car park as the new road to and from the church isn't built yet. This country is mega - bonkers...

Posted by africraigs 05:28

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