Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Day 6, cont'd: An evening in Charleston

... After the men/boys indulged in their testosterone fest over who was on vacation and who wasn't, I drove on into Charleston without incident and found the Haynes Street parking garage without any difficulty. That Haynes Stree parking garage is a phantom. It appears from some directions, but not from others, and you can never tell when you're going to find it. This time I found it. I wouldn't count on finding it any other day of the week.

Anyway, once we parked, we walked down to the Old Slave Market. Now, just to be clear -- the Old Slave Market was never a location for selling slaves. It was a market. Rather like a farmer's market. It's called the Old Slave Market, the Slave Market, and other more politically correct terms now because slaves did their shopping for their masters there. The Slave Market bears scars from hurricanes, but it still stands. And I adore it. I know perfectly well that my mother shopped here in her youth (I have the watercolor prints that she bought), and I would like to shop here now.

However, it's impossible to shop at the Old Slave Market now unless you are a tourist loaded with money. And I'm not loaded. The vast majority of the market is populated by sellers who deal in Taiwanese and Chinese fare. Only at the far Western end of the market can you find original work by local artists. So tread carefully in the Old Slave Market. You can get ripped off -- in a major way.

Our first stop was the ladies' room near the west end. And it was a great relief, let me tell you, although sweat was already running down my back in salty rivers. When Emily and I left the ladies' room, we found Wesley and Woodrow in one of the few air-conditioned shops, buying shot glasses. (They both collect shot glasses. Small. Cheap. Easy to find, easy to pack. Smart boys!)

After the guys purchased their souvenirs, we all traipsed the *length* of the Slave Market in search of two things: A carriage tour and a sweet-grass basket. I thought I would buy one this trip. Oh, how mistaken I was.

I stopped at a ... well, you can't call it a stall. Sweet-grass weavers were set up in stalls, but they were also set up at the ends of the market sections, selling their wares. Sweet-grass baskets may be an endangered art, but their sellers are quite well aware of their uniqueness, and the prices are commensurate with the dying art. Think quilts. Think art glass. Then think sweet-grass woven baskets. I picked up a basket and asked a lady how much, and she said, "Four fifty."

I clarified, "You *do* mean four HUNDRED and fifty DOLLARS, right?"

She agreed.

I did not buy that basket. It may be a dying art. The artists should be supported. Sadly, I am not the tourist who can afford to support that particular artist.

I have *really* good taste, apparently.

Anyway, we were hot. And that's the understatement of the week. We crossed a street at the end of the markets to the location of a candy store, which had a sign out front boasting, "Air conditioning! Public restrooms!" That was all we needed to read. We *ran* for that candy shop.

Outside on the corner was a kiosk for a carriage tour company. Wesley stopped there to purchase our carriage tour, and the children and I ran -- nay, *galloped* -- for the air conditioning in the store.

It smelled really, really sweet in there. Whodathunk? A sweet shoppe that smelled like candy. How 'bout that?

Woodrow and I wandered around aimlessly for a while, just drooling over the sweets. After Wesley came inside, we purchased water and a Coke to hydrate our sweaty selves.

Y'all, it was hot. I mean -- it was *really* hot. And it was almost 5:00 in the afternoon. We found a bench on which to repose briefly, but decided to move on fairly quickly to a place on the other side of the market. It was sort of like a mall... but sort of not. And it was not air conditioned. I finished my Coke there and looked at tin soldiers in a store window.

When we went outside, we made our way to that block where the carriages pick people up for tours. We always take a carriage tour in Charleston, and I highly recommend it -- although you're really at the whim of the tour guide who may or may not be totally fabulous. Our first tour guide was *fabulous*. The one we had in 2004 was less good. (He seemed to think that by merely being a native Charlestonian, we would just soak up the history through him.) This year's tour guide ... well, I'm getting ahead of myself.

While we waited, I sent the kids to the nearest Italian Ice cart to get an ice. These kids of mine are brain-damaged. They get Italian Ices once a year -- once every other year most of the time -- and they always get the same flavor they already got. Woodrow got something blue. Emily got something orange and red.

(OK, Woodrow's is blue raspberry, and it stains his mouth blue, but it's tasty. Emily's is mango-strawberry. The mango section is tasteless, but the strawberry is yummy. It's much prettier when the flavors are separate, but I recommend mixing them up for a tasty treat.)


At 2/3/07 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! Floor mats for 2004 toyota camry Funny poetry yellow roses Cheap contemporary area rugs moving companies moving services movers by Lesbians in a hot tub

At 6/3/07 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful and informative web site. I used information from that site its great. » » »


Post a Comment

<< Home