"Remember summer vacation with your folks? Does anybody get the concept behind that? We did not get along together in a five-bedroom house. Dad's idea was to put all of us in a car! And drive through the desert at the hottest time of the year. Good call, Dad! Let's confront our tensions."
- Bill Hicks, "Dangerous"
Back in the early 1990s, my brother went to Camp Woodward for skateboarding. My parents figured they'd take this opportunity for the rest of us to do some vacationing in Pennsylvania. That included Amish country, Hershey Park, and looking at potential colleges. So about 20 years later I stumble across the stuff I saved.
It's was hellish enough being stuck in a car with the whole family. But when you're the only sibling in the car, you become the center of attention. Needless to say, there was at least one raised-voice fight every day.
I did however have some good times on that trip. That was the one and only time so far that I've been to Hershey Park. I recommend it. The best chocolate I ever had, hands down, was the free amounts they gave away after you get off the virtual factory tour ride.
Now before I go any further: I'm sure there are Europeans and others out there who whine about American chocolate being inferior. If you're one of them, well...how shall I put this? Go fuck yourself. Doubly so if you're also one of those assholes also bitch about American coffee.
Granted, there are plenty of subjective factors about what makes chocolate (or coffee, for that matter) "good". Some people prefer dark chocolate, some milk. I'm in the latter category myself. What I've found though is that the ingredients and process don't seem to be ask important to the quality, as the freshness. Obviously, something that's right off the factory is going to be fresher than something that has to be shipped over seas and sits in a store until you buy it. The same by the way goes for coffee; the choice of bean plays a role but not as much as the time in between grinding it and making coffee out of it.
Anyway, another attraction we saw in Pennsylvania were the Amish. Like any other native, they do put up with the tourists because that's who buys their stuff. Everybody giggles though upon visiting Amish towns like "Blue Ball" and "Intercourse". Naturally, I had to save one of these papers:
It was a memorable trip. I got to visit Penn State, which I applied to (though didn't end up going to). I went to a music store where they had an autographed Billy Sheehan poster (though I'd end up meeting him several times in the future). I found a Def Leppard single being sold at an Amish yard sale (how they wound up with it in the first place, I have no idea). But I can at least throw away the paper. A photo is just as good for the old joke.