My Tennessee Trip!

HOLY YAA! It's August 1st! I register for ~senior~ classes this Friday on the 4th. School is just rapidly approaching, and my summer reading is still very much unfinished. Oh well...for now.

Anyways, I just got back from Tennessee! My mom got one of those free trip deals and at first, I was like-Tennessee? What is there to do up there? This is going to suck! But actually, I had a *wonderful* time! The mountains up there are just beautiful and get this-I took a helicopter ride over the mountains! YES! The helicopter rides cost $10 per person for 2 minutes, so we had to pick the cheapest ride, which is a 2-minute introductory flight. Even though it was only 2 minutes, it was AWESOME! See, I've been entertaining the idea that I might actually want to be a pilot someday. Until my helicopter ride, I've never flown in anything, not even an airplane. So, I was really excited at the prospect of being in the air! AND GET THIS- I got to sit up front with the pilot while my mom and sister were in the back! Oh man, it was sooo cool! The 2 minutes were over much too quick, but my mom said that if I get the Palmetto Scholarship this year, then she'll take me back up there and let me take the Grand Tour-which is $230 per person and is a 90 minute ride! So this year in school, I'm going to work extra hard for the helicopter ride (oh yeah, and the scholarship!).

The helicopter ride was the highlight, but we also did some other cool stuff as well. We went to see these real live black bears, and it was actually pretty sad! It was SO HOT outside, and there was this one bear by himself in an enclosure (the rest were all together in another), and both enclosures have mountain scenery painted on the walls. Well, this one bear was SO nice! We fed him bits of bread and apple that we were given to feed him, and he just was really cute and didn't look dangerous or ferocious at all. Anyways, after we had given him all the food, he kept trying to literally walk into his wall mural! He wanted to go roam the mountains, but he couldn't because he was in a cage so people could look at him! That was the saddest thing I ever saw, that poor, hot bear pacing back and forth along the wall trying to go off into the mountain scene. :(

Today, which was our last day there, my sister and I went on this sky lift (just like a ski lift) UP THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN! It was so high up! We got some really good pictures of the town below us while we were up there. Then we drove up this mountain towards Cherokee that just had the most gorgeous scenic spots to pull over at. My mom got a ton of pictures of my sister and me in front of endless backgrounds of mountains! It was beautiful! I bet it's amazing up there in the fall with all the colors!

Then we drove on up to Cherokee so we could see some Cherokee Indian stuff. We went to the Indian Village, and we did this little walk-through tour where we stop at different places along a path and we see Indians weaving baskets, making arrowheads, pottery, etc. Then at the end, we went into this counsel-meeting house type thing, and this Indian guy (who actually spoke Cherokee) talked to us about their culture. Here's what I learned:
-the Cherokees were a female-dominated society because they highly respected women for being able to give birth. They believed that women faced death in childbirth, in order to bring on life.
-there were 7 tribes, and you had to marry OUTSIDE of your tribe
-when a man got married, he joined his wife's clan, & their children inherited things through their mother, not the father (like today)
-the Indians were like the Raven when it came to war-they only fought if it was absolutely necessary, and if they thought they really needed to go to war, they first had to consult a WOMAN to make sure their reason was good enough for fighting in a war
-there were 2 chiefs: a peace chief (who ruled most of the time) and had a right-hand man/co-chief/vice president, and a war chief (who took power during war).
-they believed everyone was the same, meaning they didn't think that people of a different race were any different from they were. They just believed that some people were good, and some people were bad. They just saw what was in your heart.
-their dancing was the way they prayed (rather than verbal) and the only reason they wore masks while they danced was so they could humble themselves before they spoke to the Creator (much like bowing your head and putting your hands together).
-they believed in ONE higher being, they did not believe rocks & stuff had spirits (like in Pocahontas).
-they are the only Native people who could actually read, write, and speak their own language
-they highly respected their elders

From what I learned there, the Indians were quite cool people! They actually respected women & what they go through with childbirth, and gave them the power! You should of seen the guys' faces in that room when that Indian was talking about how women had all the power. Haha! Too bad that's not the way it is in our society.

After our Indian excursion, we began the long road home. We just got back, actually. We've only been gone for 3 days, but it feels like 3 weeks! Why is that? Well, I'm pretty tired and Whose Line Is It Anyway is about to come on, so I'll talk some more later!

9:23 p.m. - August 01, 2006


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