Snow, Travel and Dark Comedy

The city is shut down today! Schools and businesses are calling in “snow”, and no one dares drive. How much did we get? Maybe half an inch. Such is life in the south. It is good to see this strange, fluffy white stuff however. I have missed it.

Safety and law enforcement are going to kill us all, I swear. We left Charlotte around 5pm on Sunday, fortified with coffee and snacks, and set out for Charleston, 3 1/2 hours away. We arrived about 10pm. Wait, what? Oh yes, since we have such excellent communication around here, we forgot to make a big deal out of the fact that the freeway is closed. A four lane freeway. On both sides. And oh, we have no traffic control to make sure that people take the correct detours, nor do we really communicate what happened, or how long it might take us to fix this issue.

So we go one mile in this backed-up traffic. It takes us one hour. And of course, we’ve got the idiots who just have to get one car ahead of where they were. Fortunately, gas station attendants knew what was going on, so we were able to find out that an Amber Alert sign had managed to fall on BOTH sides of the freeway. Wow. Also in our favor, we’d made a last minute decision to take my truck, instead of my mom’s car, which has been having issues with overheating and the battery. Thank you God. Of course, after we got around the main blockage, there was still a clogged freeway, so the trip turned into a 5 hour ordeal.

It did give me the opportunity to take lots of cool, abstract photos of lights however.

The hotel was the real reason for us going, as their off-season rates were about a quarter of the usual, and it was a spa. Sadly, spa treatments weren’t a quarter off, so we passed and just spent time relaxing, and watching movies.

I’ve been wanting to see Burn After Reading for quite a while, so we ordered that. All of the previews led us to believe that it would be hilariously over the top comedy, which it wasn’t. I did forget that the directors, the Coen Brothers, probably wouldn’t be writing hilarity. What they do write well is dark comedy, and Burn After Reading certainly had that, earning the statement from another review as “the smart comedy about stupid people”. Maybe it’s my type of twisted mind that finds it funny, but this was amusing.

It was quiet humor, and while I would not watch it again, I would recommend it a first time.

Charleston was beautiful this time of year. Growing up with San Francisco and its culture and history, and the history in my own little town, Charlotte feels bare and young, too desperate to be a “serious city” to have the quiet aura of age. Charleston still has cobblestones, old houses, maturity and dignity. People are polite, smiling, holding doors open, and the open air market is wonderful, a place to meet some of the local artists and find artwork that is unique.

And the gelato. Ohhhh, the gelato. Any Italian gelato is better than ice cream. When it is home-churned, fresh, lemony-buttery gelato from an old-fashioned candy shop? Mmm. Mixed with Pannacotta gelato it balanced out the caramel sweetness of the Pannacotta, while the Strachiatelli was a soft, delicate sort of cookies and cream. Overall, very much worth a visit, and right next to the open air market too.

The last place we stopped was the Meeting house, the only small coffee shop we saw in our meanderings. It’s actually a coffeeshop in front and a bar in back, intimate and European in setting, with tasty coffee and a romantic, quiet atmosphere. It’s in the “French Quarter”, and it certainly had the taste of France, sitting looking out the windows onto the cobblestone streets.

Lastly, we went to the roof of a parking garage, and photographed the skyline.

Vacation this was! Charleston is beautiful and worthy of the drive if you live within 5 hours. I’ll compare Savannah to it later this year.


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