Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 38 - Savannah Sights

July 14 - I spent time in Savannah when I lived in Orangeburg, and on a short trip with Kay back in 1994, and knew we would enjoy another visit to this charming city. With a lot to see in one day we chose the "on and off" trolley approach. An air conditioned trolley would have been better, but we did get the full Savannah summer experience.

We boarded the trolley at about noon. As usual, our first sensation was hunger, so we got off at Six Pence, a English pub-style restaurant. Their food was great, at least my tilapia, rice and vegetables were. This was one of the best restaurant meals I've eaten on the whole trip, and I've eaten a lot of them. We got back on a different trolley, this one whose driver had a charming British accent, if somewhat corny narration style. The restored section of the city is remarkable, covering a couple of square miles, and encompassing working parts of city life, not just residences or tourist locations. The effort to preserve the city began in the 1950s, and has made Savannah a very popular tourist destination. The city has also been featured in many Hollywood films including "Forrest Gump" (our first narrator/driver had us recite the line in unison about the box of chocolates - I passed) and most prominently "Midnight in the Garden and Evil", an adaptation of a true crime novel set in Savannah.

Our second cool down spot was the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. To their great credit, the church was open free of charge. Many other landmarks on the tour had an admission charge of $5 to $10. After The Hermitage and Independence Hall, Kallie expressed no interest in any more inside tours of historical buildings. I would have thought that the prospect of A/C would have enticed her.

After another few sights, we were ready for rehydration. We disembarked in the City Market for an iced tea, beer or dessert. I could feel the iced tea being absorbed into my cells. From City Market we rode to the end, again seeing River Street (which is especially bumpy in a trolley). Back at the Welcome Center we left the trolley for good and decided to check out the Savannah College of Art and Design as a possible college destination for Kallie. One building was locked, but the second was open. To my delight, the open building also housed a small display of 20th century photographs and of older printed materials (maps from the 18th and 19th centuries) and even older folios and pages - a few going back to the earliest days of printing in the 15th century). Kay and the girls had to be patient with me - these beautiful items inside a cool dark building were hard to leave.

Leave we did, though, heading back to the hotel to rest before dinner. I downloaded the many pictures from the day to my computer and to Photoblog, while the girls watched TV. By about 7 we were ready for dinner. We planned to eat at the Pirates' House, the most noteworthy restaurant in town, and one I remembered from previous visits as serving good food apart from its historic location.

The food met expectations for the most part - mussels cooked in garlic butter were especially yummy. We ordered in pairs - Kallie and Erin had the same food; Kay and I both ordered steaks. Kallie found chocolate mousse (both dark and white) for dessert, while I worked on a giant piece of peach ice cream pie.

Bless her heart, Kay found a restaurant/bar with Karaoke on a Monday night. We tried to take the girls, but the place turned out to be more bar than restaurant and the girls weren't welcome. We took them back to LaQuinta (Spanish for "the fifth" it turns out, though as I remember from the billboards, they say it means "free high speed Internet" or "recently remodeled") and made the eight-mile return trip to McDonough's.

It took awhile for the party to get started. A large group of young people celebrating a 21st birthday was more interested in smoking (outdoors, thank goodness) than singing, but the host and I kept things going for awhile. I opened with Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac", which I know well and is exactly in my vocal range - a definite keeper. Next came Jim Croce's "Working at the Car Wash Blues", which I've done before. Both of these are fun songs to sing. I didn't get much response - the crowd was somewhat self-absorbed, and too young to remember these numbers.

I stretched my range and sang The Beatles' "Dear Prudence" next. The first accompaniment was almost non-existent. With a second try, the host found the music I was familiar with. People knew this song, but it was a little outside my range on the high side, so I'd rate my performance as just OK. I went back to my comfortable range with Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns and Money". The host really seemed to like this one, though the ending drags on a bit to accommodate a long guitar solo--there's not much for the vocalist to do beyond a few cries of "huh!"

The crowd had really filled out by this time. One girl did an amazing version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart". Her boyfriend made me laugh with "Ice Ice Baby", the original white rapper anthem. The birthday girl and a friend tried "Fat Bottomed Girls", but they were almost too drunk to pull it off. After this performance, the partiers hustled out the cake and sang Happy Birthday before the honoree passed out.

My last number was Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" (about Marilyn Monroe). This one is familiar and in my vocal range. I sang it reasonably well and got my best response of the night. I wanted to sing one more (from Rocky Horror Picture Show), but I would have been six or seven down on the list. We decided to head back to the girls. I expect to find another singing opportunity during my Orlando stay.

We head for Orlando (via St. Augustine) in less than three hours. I'll be there until August 2. The girls head back to Alabama and Baton Rouge on Friday. I don't know yet if I'll blog day-by-day after today's trip. I'll have to see if enough happens. I plan to spend a good bit of time lopping around my parents' house. A home-cooked meal and the Major League All-Star Game are on the agenda tonite.

Many more photos from the day are available at http://www.photoblog.com/dadlak/2008/07/14/savannah-sights---day-38.html I hope you enjoy them.

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