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Posts Tagged ‘Savannah’

Following on from the business of the bid-ness, my second (and last) trip on Savannah’s CAT shuttle was similarly eventful and, for want of a better word, character-driven.

It all began on a rainy day in December, when I wrapped my left foot in its super-cool plastic bag toe-protection rain-gear and caught the shuttle to Kroger. Assumedly because of the rain, the shuttle had only two other inhabitants, and these two men were thoroughly engaged in a discussion about the Bible. Or, rather, the man in front was narrating a story from the Bible to the man behind, who seemed to be having difficulty getting a word in edgeways.

After five minutes or so, the talking man turned to me. He was greatly interested in my having studied Sociology, which means I’ve met at least one person on my travels who thinks my degree is legitimate. It quickly became apparent that this man’s tendency to talk at rather than with people was not limited to chats about the Bible. As a result, I learnt that (according to this fellow) a priest once built a brick church in Africa that none of the Africans would attend because they only wanted to pray in huts, and that he himself no longer buys name-brand products because he recently had a change in fortunes and now knows that marketing and television are trying to control the world.

Then came the moment when he worked out I was travelling alone. Suddenly leaning forward in his chair, he stared at me unblinkingly and told me to “use my third eye”. I suppose my blank look tipped him off, for he asked if I knew what my third eye was. I answered in the negative.

Third eye? I'd rather use my Macy's store make-over eye. P.S. I look odd with eyebrows.

Apparently, one’s third eye functions as a kind of spiritual awareness or insight into potential danger. I would posit, however, that it could also be called “common-sense”. Look, I have no problem with someone telling me to be safe. I appreciate it, even though I’m very much not a put-yourself-in-questionable-circumstances type of girl. (I may be a night owl, but I’m a homebody night owl.)

The part of all this that started to freak me out a little was that the man wouldn’t stop talking about how Savannah was full of evilness, and that there were young black men (his words, not mine) everywhere who would love to use their evil on me. I shouldn’t walk alone, I shouldn’t be alone, and I should always use my third eye to keep me out of evilness and away from evil people. Because there are evil people out there. And they would look for me. And so on.

I have read a few James Lee Burke novels in my time, as well as the aforementioned Janet Evanovich pieces of fun. As a result, I couldn’t help my mind going to the place where this guy was talking about himself, and I was about to be followed home and evil-ed up. In my head, I was also glad that people often notice me because of my purple flower beanie, for I decided this would enable the police to track my movements more easily.

Check out the focusing skills...

Okay, so I’m still here, which means that nothing untoward happened and this fellow really was just someone wanting me to be careful about my safety.

I probably should have figured that out when he told me I had a cute accent.  However, I stand by the fact that it was a rather bizarre encounter, all told.

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  • People getting off a non-smoking train with cigarettes already in their mouths. Must not waste precious smoking seconds. PRECIOUS SMOKING SECONDS.
  • Being approached in Savannah’s Holiday Inn Express dining room by an older lady (really, what else did you expect by this point?) wanting to know what I was reading during breakfast, as I was “so engrossed and seemed to be enjoying myself immensely”. Having a follow-up conversation about books with said lady.
  • As a corollary to this, having free plentiful buffet breakfasts at the hotel whilst reading Cold Comfort Farm, and being unable to repress giggles at the line “There’ll be no butter in hell!”

Plus scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits, gravy, oatmeal, grits, yogurt, muffins, bagels, english muffins, toast, coffee, and condiments.

  • Watching a young-ish breakfast worker at the hotel stir nine packets of sugar into her coffee.
  • Hearing orchestra members at the theatre talk about putting something on Facebook then seeing them duck out quickly to, presumably, do so.
  • Having one of those giggling fits, where neither person can stop laughing, with a complete stranger. I went to the hotel’s front desk one day and saw just the top of the receptionist’s head poking over the top. I waited for several minutes, presuming she was reading something, but then realised she was just… resting her head. At about this point she realised I was there, and while for about three seconds we tried to conduct our business as per usual, we both ending up giggling for quite some time. You know what? I think it was one of those ‘had to be there’ moments.

Holiday Inn Express lobby

  • Being offered a free bottle of water by another receptionist when I was checking out, even before he knew I had a 12-hour Amtrak ahead of me.
  • Having one more Savannah post to go, despite having almost finished my ensuing week in Washington, DC…

Rose made of plant material given to me by a homeless man in Forsyth Park.

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You know that saying about walking a mile in a person’s shoes before you can understand them (or judge them, depending on the version of the quote)? Well, I’m here to argue that to understand a town or city, you must first ride several miles on its public transportation system. And not the tourist-oriented public transport, either. Get off that quaint old historic trolley, and get your backseat padding onto the aromatically-challenged road vehicles frequented by the locals.

In Savannah, Georgia, this means hopping on the CAT Shuttle and accepting with good grace all the conversations that come your way – and also those that float around you while you steadfastly focus on your bag of groceries from Brighter Day Natural Foods. Or, if we’re being honest, your bag of salted almond chocolate, pumpkin pie yoghurt, and vegan buffalo wings.

What? Connections between text and photos are for people with no imagination. And those who didn't leave their camera cord in their hostel room.

On my first CAT shuttle, I experienced the laid-back nature of Southern life when our driver spotted a parked car on the side of the road and instantly pulled over the shuttle, ambled out the passenger door, and spent the next fifteen minutes having a smoke and chat with the car’s driver.

During this time, two women asked my opinion about the use of apple cider vinegar to cure gout and insomnia, all because I “had been to the health store and probably knew”. Looking down into my bag, I felt rather like a fraud, but skirted the issue by joining in the chorus of woe about insomnia. Then, much to the hilarity of the shuttle’s inhabitants, an older man told the pre-teen sitting next to him not to look so worried; he wouldn’t bite, for he “had no teeth!”

He wasn’t joking.

See above. Although slightly appropriate, language-wise, for the below. Which makes us, what, slap-bang in the middle?

Lastly, a woman who had a general look of discombobulation approached the shuttle and asked to speak with the driver. One of the apple cider vinegar women told her the driver was currently talking to a friend, at which point the lost woman wandered into the middle of the road and stood staring at the driver.

Here’s where it gets interesting: the six or so people sitting at the front of the shuttle started angrily ranting about the incomprehensible rudeness of the lost woman, who seemed to intend to interrupt the driver who was “over dere talkin’ bout her bid-ness! She so rude, I bet the driver gonna yell at her. Yeah, she betta yell at her, she and her friend busy wid dere bid-ness! Watch, she yellin’ at her now, serves her right for interruptin’ dere bid-ness!”

The odd thing was, no one was yelling at anyone. Regardless, the shuttle inhabitants were utterly convinced that not only would it be undeniably rude to interrupt the driver during her quite-lengthy conversation with her friend, but that the driver was somehow chastising the woman behind her whilst still chatting with the person directly in front of her. Now, I’m not saying it’s never not rude to interrupt (double, triple negative? Bring it on), but technically, this driver was on duty, so I don’t think it was entirely out of place for the woman to ask her for help.

I was quite relieved when the lost woman eventually wandered off without getting on the shuttle, for I feared she may have been showered with criticism and (why not?) apple cider vinegar if she had got on.

I also decided that, if I ever have to ask a shuttle driver anything in the future, I shall wear my super-extreme-polite-apologetic-obsequious face whilst doing so.

So, readers, what think you? Whose side would you be on? And would you bite someone on a bus if you had all your teeth?

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Glimpses of Savannah, Part Two

First and foremost, Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having, has had, or will have a wonderful day with family, friends, and delicious food. Just another set of photos for now, as I’m off to see Sherlock Holmes with a friend. I believe this is more festive than seeing Sweeney Todd by myself, as was the case two Christmases ago in New York? 

P.S. This is what we call in the biz “catch-up blogging”. I’ve been in D.C. since Tuesday, but I still have at least one more post to do with Savannah to go after this… 

Pretty trees on Oglethorpe or Liberty Street (memory lapse). And look Ma! No snow!

Caramel Candy Apples

For L-Izzle. Fiddlesticks upon Customs and its anti-fresh fruit stance.

Savannah Ferry

I thought this was the free ferry, but no. This is a fancy boat. The ferry was the tiny bobbling thing behind it.

At a shop on River Street

PB Loco Peanut Butter

Is it wrong that I squealed a little when I found these? And there are even more flavours. America, I love you.

No spontaneous scotch on Sundays in Savannah!

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Glimpses of Savannah, Part One

Holiday Inn Express, Savannah

Happiness is a hotel room with a tv, microwave, fridge, cupboard, and ensuite.

Savannah Live Oaks and Spanish Moss in Forsyth Park

Loved the elegant Christmas decorations, and the weeping willow-esque appearance of the live oaks covered in Spanish moss.

Forsyth Park

Demon dog, save yourselves! (I missed out on Savannah's famous ghost tours, so had to make my own fun.)

Savannah River

The Savannah River, and the bridge to South Carolina.

Squirrel
Squirrel!

River Street, Savannah

And so they were. Well, the people in the store next door were, and I assume these folks were too...

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And if our good fortune never comes,
Here’s to whatever comes,
Drink l’chaim, to life!

Donald Westwood, executive producer of AIM Management’s Fiddler on the Roof introduced the show by thanking us, the audience, for “taking a chance” on the new company. Fiddler on the Roof is AIM Management’s inaugural production, and Westwood informed us we were pioneers with immense power over the future of the theatrical arts in Savannah (and, perhaps, the success of the company itself).

Well, if I do have any such power, I here use it to proclaim that AIM Management’s production of Fiddler on the Roof is entirely brilliant and a delight to watch. The story of Fiddler on the Roof is itself filled with poignancy and humour, yet it takes a passionate and talented cast to bring the tale’s evocation of family, community, human interaction, prejudice, oppression and, above all, love to life. Luckily for AIM Management (and the audiences), its performers, musicians, and stage crew have passion and talent to spare.

Lucas Theatre, Savannah

The Lucas Theatre

From my centre seat in the front row, I was able to watch both the musicians and the faces of the ensemble cast as well as the main characters, and it was a joy to see how dedicated the performers were and how much fun the musicians were having. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the musicians (when they weren’t busy playing beautifully, of course) watch the show and laugh along with the audience, despite the fact that they must have seen the show countless times in performances and rehearsals. There seemed to be a real camaraderie amongst the company (or else they’re even better actors than I thought). This not only made me miss my days of playing in a musical ensemble, but ensured I had to fight the urge to sneak on stage during the lyrical and heart-wrenching rendition of “Sunrise, Sunset”, because all I wanted at that moment was to be a part of the music and story.

Bruce Goldman as Tevye perfectly embodied the patriarch whose commitment to “Tradition!” and what “The Good Book says!” can always be adapted to accommodate his love for his family, while Thesa Loving’s talent came across beautifully during (though not only during) “Do You Love Me?” – one of my favourite songs. Joe Byrne’s depiction of the nervous yet optimistic Motel was highly entertaining, and Erin O’Neil, Shayna Albertson, and Nicole Brooke Brancucci’s voices shone as Tevye and Golde’s three eldest daughters. A special shout-out to Albertson, whose rendition of “Far From the Home I Love” (another favourite, along with “Sunrise, Sunset” and “To Life”) was striking.

Honestly, I can’t fault a single performer; even the minor characters were consistently focused, fun to watch, and had fantastic voices. I was able to get a photo with the hilarious Susan E. V. Boland (Yente); surely only good can come from being close to a matchmaker, right? I also chanced upon a photo with the charming Michael Kennan Miller (Fyedka), and must admit: if any man as gorgeous as that ever wants to whisk me off my feet, I too will go against my father’s wishes in order to be so whisked. (Michael, if you ever do get to visit Australia, let me know and I’ll be delighted to show you around… or at the very least give you some pointers so that you don’t make such horrible mistakes as saying “aluminum” instead of “aluminium”.)

Kangaroo. In Australia. (Well, it's not like I could take photos during the performance.)

As someone who’s spent a large portion of her life playing musical intstruments, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the musicians who, though only 11 in number, created such a symphony of sound that one might have guessed them to be twice the size. (As an aside, I got some giggles out of being able to read the conductor’s sheet music. I thereby knew not only when each significant song was being played, but when the music was for “Tevye’s Monologue”, “Final Scene – Underscoring”, or “Bows”. I had a chat with the lovely (and rather cute) conductor, Samuel Clein, who has a spot in my heart for having conducted several Sondheim musicals in the past, including Into the Woods. Samuel, if you ever put on Assassins, can I come and be your page turner? Please? I’ll also bake delicious brownies.

The dancing and choreography were great fun to watch, particularly during “To Life” and the Bottle Dance at Tzeitel and Motel’s wedding. From the kookiness of “The Dream” and the power behind “Tradition” to the joyful “Miracle of Miracles” and the moving strains of “Anatevka”, the performers and musicians gifted the audience with nearly three hours of wonderful song, harmony, laughter and, of course, entertainment.

I had no idea Fiddler on the Roof would be playing in Savannah during my time here, and as the company only put on four shows at The Lucas Theatre, I feel incredibly lucky that it was. Thank you to the ensemble for a wonderful afternoon, and I hope to see you all touring in Australia soon. Remember – delicious brownies.

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First things first, I feel I ought to make clear that my last post was a trickery of sorts. At this current point in my life (read: recent graduate caught halfway across the unemployed tightwire with a PhD beckoning from one end and the workforce from the other), I absolutely would not intentionally spend $660 on a ring. Even, and here’s the answer, a one of a kind sparkly behemoth made by a student from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

Unfortunately for me, the lady at the cash register rang the sale up as $599.20 rather than $59.92, and while she “voided” the sale (and then charged me the $59.92) upon my pointing this out, both sales are still “pending” in my bank account. I’m rather hoping it will all just fix itself, but I’m also psyching myself up for a traipse back to the store at some point before I leave Savannah on Monday night.

Forsyth Fountain

Fountain at Forsyth Park

Still, I believe it’s a pretty ring. Sparkly sparkly.

For a change of pace, I thought I’d finally start posting reviews of the chocolates I’ve been delighting in. I’ve been making my way through two bars a day (there’s so much to try – a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do), and as a result have a rather large backlog of tasting notes. To ease y’all in, though, I’ll start with just the one review…

Valrhona Jivara Pécan

Valrhona Jivara Pecan

To find out about this Valrhona Jivara Pecan bar, all you need to do is head over to my new domain, where this very post is now housed. Please do – it’s just one more little click! Hurrah!

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