Title Photo: The Battery – Charleston, South Carolina
My friend, Delia, came all the way from Bucharest, Romania to attend the Gender, Sexuality, Feminism and the Romance Novel symposium, which I hosted at Duke University on February 10. (More on that event in a later blog.)
After that it was: ROAD TRIP!
I haven’t owned a car in 12 years and so, when confronted with rental car choices, I couldn’t resist upgrading to a Cadillac so we could swank along the southeast coast.
First stop: Charleston, steeped in history beginning when King Charles II gave the Carolina territory to eight loyal friends in 1663.
It was great to arrive on a Second Sunday when the historic district is closed to cars.
Restaurants put their tables in the streets, live music plays on every corner, and dogs abound.
If you do enough traveling, you start making comparisons. The historic district of Charleston reminded both Delia and me strongly of the Transylvanian town of Brașov whose pedestrian center is lined with restaurants:
Because Charleston is on the coast and has that quality of air coming off a large body of water, it also called to my mind Melaka, Malaysia, which is situated on the Straits of Melaka:
See my blog on Melaka: http://julietetelandresen.com/blog/kuala-lumpur-and-melaka-malaysia/
Now back to Charleston:
Shrimp and grits was the obvious choice at lunch.
A carriage ride is another must.
Our guide’s best line describing how run-down Charleston had become before the tourist boom: “In the 1950s for 10 bucks you could get a bowl of chili, a tattoo and a social disease.”
St. Phillip’s is an iconic landmark, which the carriage passed coming and going.
Christopher Gadsden, a Charleston native, designed this famous Revolutionary flag:
During the Revolutionary War the first decisive victory for the Americans occurred at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island (upside).
We finished the day with a drive up and down the Battery, pictured above, with all the fancy houses.
The baskets Charleston is known for may not seem like much more than tourist souvenirs but in fact they are part of an amazing story.
This story is told in a wonderful documentary, The Language You Cry In, which recounts how African Americans on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia were able to reconnect with their African roots through one 5-line lullaby and the efforts of ethnomusicologists, sociologists and historians.
The documentary is 52 minutes long. It is totally worth your time.