Don't let the name fool you. Intercourse is a village in Lancaster county in Pennsylvania. Before we got here, I wasn't even aware there's a place with such an interesting name. But this, along with other villages like Bird-In-Hand, Paradise and Strasburg, is home to the Amish people in what's collectively known as the Amish Country - the very reason of our visit.
Also called "plain people", the Amish way of living is based on their Anabaptist religion whose origins trace back during the Protestant Reformation in Europe in early 16th century. Like the Huguenots in New Paltz (New York), they came to America to seek freedom from religious persecution. The practices of the Amish is what makes them unique: They don't use electricity, they don't drive cars, and they dress conservatively. With such a very eco-friendly lifestyle, the Amish might as well be the role model of the green revolution.
For an urbanite, this unique 19th century lifestyle may seem out of place in high-tech United States. I doubt if Paris Hilton and Britney Spears can survive living austerely even for a day here. We took a buggy ride - a large horse-drawn carriage which is a common form of transport - and drove into the backroads that lead to Amish farms set amidst rolling hills. The view is quite expansive and very serene.
Farming is the way of life for these people. They plant corn, alfalfa and tobacco and raise livestock. In one farm we passed by, I see young members of the family helping out their parents with the chores, a common practice among them. Amish families are usually large, with 7-9 children. The kids finish their education at 8th grade, learning English and the basics in what is called one-room schools. Men grow beard when they get married and women neatly tuck their long hair into a bun. Their dresses are very plain, again reflecting their simplicity.
We passed by more Amish homes and knew by now the tell-tale signs that make them unique: the clothesline, the propane gas tanks and the absence of satellite dishes, airconditioners and cars in the driveway. This introduction into a unique rural lifestyle is for me another way of appreciating what simple life means, no matter if the name of this Amish village sounds interesting to the netherworld part of our brains.