Saturday, January 31, 2009

Y'all Come Back Now

Thursday, January 29, 2009
We arrived in Charleston, SC in the late afternoon. I planned to visit my friend Isaiah, a guy that lived with my family for one summer while doing an internship at Benson's. He easily became one of my best friends and I have shared a lot of laughs and good stories with him, and I knew that this visit wouldn't pass without a good time. We drove straight to his house, which according to him "looks like it is in the ghetto." and it did, I promptly locked the doors and turned the hip-hop down. His house, however was really quite nice, although we weren't staying the night there.

We didn't have a lot of time to get to walk around Charleston, but we did do a ten cent tour of the place. As you will soon learn, I am slightly obsessed with bridges, and I am especially obsessed with cable stayed bridges, I find them somewhat fascinating in design and equally in engineering. They usually consist of two large pylons with cables running from their sides to support the deck of the bridge. The cable stayed bridge in Charleston, which recently replaced a very sketchy older bridge in 2005, also happens to be the longest in the US. It connects Charleston to Mount Pleasant over the Charleston Harbor.

Still trying to kill some time before we headed over to Kyle's house, another former Bensonwood intern who was housing Jen and I for the evening, we drove around King St. This area is pretty touristy with swanky shops flanking the streetscape. I was very surprised how narrow the street was, being a major thoroughfare in the city.

The sidestreets off of King St. have some of the most impressively large and elegant southern estates, most commonly with intricate wrought iron gates, ginormous columns and balconies, and lush landscaping. If you live in this area, you are required to own a poodle, keep it well groomed, and take it for jogs along the waterway in your matching nike fitness attire. I am not impressed with the quality of this photo, and I really wish you could see the poodles, but I needed to get my point across.

Next we watched the sun set on the Charleston Harbor. We saw a pelican, but it was too stealthy to be captured on film.

We bought some local beer and headed over to Kyle's where we planned to stay the night, of course after we had some quick and dirty mexican food and checked out the bar scene. We went to a bar that was up on the 4th floor with a rooftop deck and introduced the bartender to Danger Water (if you don't know about this drink, I will probably eventually dedicate a whole blog to it so stay tuned). The boys introduced us to Sweet Tea infused Vodka. As delicious as it was, I am still trying to decide if I think that was a good judgement call. Next we hit up Raval, a smaller bar where we met up with some friends of Isaiah and Kyle. I drank a few sips of wine and then moved to water. Later, cartwheels in the street ensued, as well as Jen face planting on the sidewalk and getting a good hurrah horn toot from a fire truck passing by and a huge bruise on her elbow.

Isaiah and Kyle have classes in a centuries old prison that is rumored to be haunted. Kyle and I took off to go check this place out, I may or may not have slightly chickened out here, but only because the flashlight died. It was pretty creepy, and for some "strange" reason (I really do believe that it is ghosts) the pictures I took of the prison came out completely black.

I didn't get nearly enough sleep that night, and we had to get on the road reasonably early the next day to make it to New Orleans. I am not going to lie and tell you that a night out partying and trying to keep up with two hearty boys out on the town is an easy thing to wake up to, so Friday proved to be a difficult day for all of us. I ate my leftover "platter of old mexican food" (thanks Kyle), bought some cheesy postcards at the flea market that was once where slaves were bought and sold, and headed on our journey to New Orleans.

"Y'all come back" said Kyle with his southern drawl as he bid us farewell. We all laughed at the cliche of it. Those southern boys....

Rest in Peace

The last couple of days have been pretty hectic. I will be posting more on Charleston, SC when I have a little bit of time to collect my thoughts. The past few days have been covered with a blanket of sadness and shock for Jen and myself as we found out on the drive from North Carolina to South Carolina that a friend of ours from High School took his own life on Wednesday night. We have been pretty shocked by this news, and have been thinking a lot about Noah, and the time we had with him in this life. I hope that he has found peace and that he knows that he will be sorely missed by so many.

South of the Border, Dillon, South Carolina
This place is just something you have to stop in at and awe in the disgust of once in your life. It is a roadside attraction off of I-95 just on the South Carolina and North Carolina borders. I remember as kid driving to Florida being so thrilled by the hundreds of billboards strategically place starting about 200 miles in anticipation of this place. They were sparkly, they were colorful, they knew how to rope the kids in... One billboard says "Keep Yelling, Kids! They'll Stop!" Yeah, they'll stop, about 50 miles before you get there and take off leaving you in a cloud of dust on the side of the highway. I am only sort of speaking from experience.

I have to admit that the last time I drove i-95 South, in about 2001, the signage was much more obnoxious and neon. They must have tamed down their billboards in the past few years and it wasn't quite as impressive. I don't suggest eating anything there unless you aren't afraid of tapeworms.

So of course, we stopped.