The Gringa has left the building
Trip Start Jul 19, 2005
45Trip End Ongoing
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Now one would think, "Such a strange jump from Nicaragua to the confederate flag-lonvin' state of South Carolina," but you see, it makes perfect sense. Nicaragua has a beautiful coast offering tasty fresh-fried fish and cool Pacific ocean breezes to lessen the effects of the boiling sun: Charleston has a shrimp and grits and the same bright shining sun that warms against the chilly Atlantic ocean breezes. Central America has mountainous ranges with tropical cloud forests and black howler monkeys: Charleston is a short, winding road drive from beautiful, smokey gray mountains with black growling bears. You can't drink the water in Central America due to amoebas in the water: We couldn't drink the water in Charleston due to a water break and boil water notice while we were there
So, my last stop before "officially" returning to Indiana was a trip to South Cack-o-lacky (after spending 3 days unpacking in Indy). Eric, Natalie and I packed the car full of quality junk food and began our journey Thursday night. We stopped at a Holiday Inn in Knoxville (instead of attempting to drive straight through the night like the previous year which only found us sleeping in the car at a random road-side rest area during the wee small hours of the morning). Hating to state obvious differences, but sleeping at a Holiday Inn in Tennessee was Lux-Ur-EEE compared to the hostels I was used to. Hot water showers and a TV in the room was enough to make me want to permanently relocate to room #415 for eternity.
We woke up at a leisurely pace on Friday morning and continued the drive into the old town of Charleston. We were in town to master yet another year of running over the Cooper River bridge at the annual Bridge Run. This year, we would be running over the brand new bridge that had opened since the previous Bridge Run event, which was run over the old, outdated cooper river bridge (I still can't figure out why they couldn't come up with a new name - even though the Cooper River is still the Cooper River). We would now be dashing over a six-lane "gourmet" bridge resembling a beautiful sail boat, rather than a two-lane concrete death trap
At the end of the race, I endured the most difficult task of the entire event - standing in the long line of participants anxiously awaiting a free brat wurst. No need to worry. I did the preparatory stretches and warm-ups to endure painfully slow shuffling in line, the arm stretch to reach across tables to receive a sausage (minus the bun which they had run out of) and the muscle-strengthening hand exercises to squirt the appropriate amount of mustard and ketchup on my first brat wurst in 8 months. All this work completed, we all celebrated with beers and nachos. Hey, what do you do in America after running a race but be glutinous, downing beers, nachos, or anything else horrible for your body.
The day after the race we drove to a town called Summerville and walked around the "Flowertown" arts festival that was going on that weekend. Once again, we stuffed ourselves with lemon shake-ups and a huge bag of kettle corn, while walking around looking at crafty creations such as knitted Kleenex box covers and more entertaining art such as travel photography and marshmallow blow guns. Eric and I decided, upon returning home, our future goals include owning a kettle corn vat and travelling the fair circuit selling bags of popcorn (consisting of kernels, oil, sugar and salt) for the hefty price of $5 per bag
Really, walking around the art fair in Summerville reminded me of Central America. There were crowds of people looking at booths and tables full of crap and crafts. The only thing that was missing was the stands of hanging raw meat with the little old lady in an apron swatting away flies. I was almost tempted to speak a little espanol to the vendors, but thought better of it. This was South Carolina, and I hadn't seen a Spanish speaking person in the three days I'd been there. They might have run me out of the state.
So, all in all it was a good re-introduction to life in America. Good food, good company and interesting things to look at. Kept my mind off of how weird it was to be back in the U.S.A.