After he walked around the barren land, Li Du realized that the area was quite big,about twenty hectare, almost half that of the farm.
He asked, "How much is the rental?"
"Twenty thousand dollars a year."
Li Du was surprised. "So the rent is less than 2,000 dollars a month. Its less than 100 dollars for a hectare per month? This is just like the Alaska purchase!"
It was an amazing deal when America purchased Alaska. The Russian government sold this 580,000-square-mile piece of land to the U.S for only 7,000,000 dollars.
"The state government has just developed this land," Hans said. "Its not conducive for a plantation, and they cannot build a factory here. If the rental is not low enough, no one will rent this place."
Li Du asked, "Is there a problem with us putting our trash here?"
"Just clear the place when the term of the lease ends," Hans said, "and do not pollute the land. I assume theres no problem with that, right?"
"Of course not," Li Du said.
He decided to rent the land right away. The rental was cheap and the location was near Hoffmans Old Goods market. It would be easy for them to get rid of the trash and second-hand goods here.
But there was an Amish village next to them. Li Du had heard of this place when he was a student; it was well known in Flagstaff.
Technically, the Amish were not a separate ethnicity. They were a denomination formed during the 16th century European Reformation.
They wore traditional clothing and they followed a traditional way of living. They didnt use modern technologies in their daily lives, such as cars, electrical appliances, or pesticides.
Although Europeans had lived in North America for a few centuries, these people still strictly followed their religion and traditional values; they remained unchanged in the fast-changing American society.
Like any other American or foreign tourists, Li Du was curious about these people. But the Amish were not like zoo animals: they didnt like to be observed or disturbed. Li Du had heard they were not easily approachable.
They rode on the motorcycle and continued their journey. As they left the small forest, a middle-aged man got out of his car and waved at them.
Hans rode toward him and asked, "Hi sir, how can we help you?"
He was a Caucasian man in his forties. He wore a white short-sleeved shirt, black trousers, straw sandals, and a black hat. He looked odd.
Li Du knew this was how the Amish dressed. But this was the first time he had seen one, so he surveyed him curiously.
When he first heard about them, someone told him that he can easily recognize an Amish as they dress very differently. It didnt matter if it were a mans hat or a womans dresseverything was black.
The Amish men often wore dark suits with white shirts, while the Amish women wore dark dresses. They would only wear a pure white shawl during festivals or weddings, to bring a little change to the color tone.
Li Du stared at this man in front of him; it looked like he was from medieval times. Not only because of the way he dressed, but also because of his simple, down-to-earth vibe.
After they pulled over, the middle-aged man took off his hat and bowed. "Hello, my name is Tomasson, please allow me to ask this question: Are you planning to rent that forest land? "
"Forest land?" Hans asked. "You meant that barren land back there?"
Tomasson smiled. "Yes."
Hans said, "Yes, thats our plan. Is there a problem?"
Tomasson waved and said, "No, Im just curious. Were going to be neighborsI live right there."
He pointed toward the wooden house in front of him, which was hidden behind the trees and land. There was a row of wooden cottages.
Hans said, "Nice to meet you, Tomasson. Im HansHans Fox. This is my good brother Li Duyou can call him Li."
"Hi, Hans. Hi, Li," The middle-aged man smiled and bowed. He placed his hat near his chest and nodded; Li Du had only seen this practice on the television, during shows involving the medieval period.
Hans said, "I already know what youre going to say, Tomasson. We want to rent this location as the place to keep the second-hand goods that we buy. We will not turn this place into a vacation villa, we will not have parties, and we will not bring tourists here. We will definitely not affect your daily life."
Tomasson smiled and said with a hint of embarrassment, "I feel relievedit seems like you knew my intentions. But, I would like to ask: you will not bring electricity here, right?"
Hans shook his head and said, "Of course notthe government will not allow us to do that."
After he heard this answer, Tomasson left happily.
"They dont want to make their life better and more comfortable, do they?" Li Du said in disbelief.
Hans said, "No, they obviously dont want to do that."
They continued their journey. When Hans drove into an alley, they saw more Amish people and more of their community.
Instead of driving, the Amish used a buggy when they wanted to go out. The farmers did not use a tractor or any modern equipment, using horse-drawn plows to till.
It was an eye-opening experience for Li Du. He used to have the impression of prosperous and colorful American rural areas. But the Amish village was simple, with black and white colors.
"How many Amish are there?" he asked excitedly.
Hans said, "The population is smallmaybe around 1,000 families? Six to seven thousand people perhaps. The biggest Amish population I think is in PennsylvaniaI heard theres around thirty-six thousand Amish there."
"What else do you know about them? Im curious."
Hans laughed, "I know a lot about them, but what do you want to know? They are content with a simple lifestyle, pursuing inner peace, and they dont want to live a modern life. Some speak High Germanic and they insist on educating their children themselves..."
After listening to Hanss introduction, Li Du was shocked. "You know so much about themare you a walking encyclopedia?"
Hans smiled. "I wanted to become Amish beforethats why I understand them. There was a time when I wanted to find the meaning of life."
"Then why didnt you join them?"
"Because there would be no booze, no pubs, no girls, and no video games. Cigarettes, alcohol, and women are the meaning of my life. "
Li Du gave him the middle finger. But as he knew, Hans used to be a hippie when he was young. But something happened and changed him into who he was today.
They rode on the motorcycle and passed the Amish village, moving toward the town.