LAT: N 32° 46.6'
LON: W 79° 57.1'
50s - 60s, sunny
|Tuesday, December 2, 2003
Arggg me maties, the sidewalks here are cleaner than meself.
Waking up out on our mooring, we were excited for our first day in Charleston. So much to explore! First though, we got the waste tank pumped out and caught up on e-mail and laundry. After chore time we set out with camera and wide eyes. The marina is perched over on the west side of the city on the Ashley River. We headed down the river under clear skies towards the downtown. As we understand it, Hurricane Hugo ripped through Charleston in 1989 and did significant damage. From the rubble a "new" city grew. The rebuilding process transformed it into the city we see today. Certainly, much survived as there are many incredible old trees and most buildings are historic gems. As we walked through the city, we noticed in particular, a wonderful integration of landscapes and buildings. Vines and small ground cover grow with precision up walls and under steps. Palm trees tastefully line the streets, and the yards are untamed and lush. The buildings themselves are varied, including many colonial woodies and painted stuccos. And perhaps the greatest constant in the city is the porches. Wide and comfortable, with rocking chairs and hammocks, ferns and flowers, porches deck the city with leisure. These inside-outside spaces are inviting interfaces to the streets and even in these colder months, they give each home a sunny disposition. They also gave us a real craving for a porch of our own.
Roaming east through the city, we stopped for some lunch, and later found ourselves in an excellent park exquisitely designed by Sasaki Associates! It featured a pineapple fountain with lovely landscaping around it. It also provided views out to the water with a quiet strip of salt marsh between. Unfortunately, part of the marsh looked a little sick right next to the sea wall, and there was some trash in it. We hope the city will make an effort to clean this up and try to help the marsh grasses grow back right up to the park edge. No doubt though, this park provides perfect glue to a historic residential area to the south, a growing commercial area to the west, a working industrial area to the north, and the water to the east. No easy task.
Heading south along the water front, there was an excellent elevated walk made of massive stone slabs. This walk lead us down to the battery which lies on the southern tip of Charleston, just like the battery in Manhattan! Here we enjoyed some great big cannons and even bigger trees.
Heading back north into the heart of the downtown, we stopped into a nice hotel with a cool holiday train set inside and a big tree of lights out front. We were shamelessly enamored by the store windows, decorations, and lights. We soon met up with Perry and Bethany from Tevake and found the thai restaurant, Basil. Not too expensive, but very classy, Basil is the kind of place we could imagine coming to over and over. After dinner we enjoyed $2 pints of good beers down the street. Charleston, much to our delight, continued to prove herself as a great place to eat and drink.
A later night out on the town then we are used to, we sleepily walked back to the marinas. Bethany and Perry left for the Ashley Marina, which is a couple blocks farther up river then the City Marina. We got in Surely and started rowing back to Slowly. After a short while we realized that we weren't getting nearer, but instead farther from Slowly. We knew that the current could get strong but we didn't realize we didn't have a chance fighting it. The other times we had rowed across had been no problem. We tried different methods of reaching our destination: Hannah rowing furiously, both of us taking one oar, Tim paddling like in a canoe and Hannah yelling into the dark. None worked. At one point we tried to grab on to a free mooring so we could have a break from fighting the water. Alas, in trying to take hold of it we almost tipped over. Finally we relented and rowed back to the docks, ending up at the yacht club next door to the marina. No one was around. We called Tevake and luckily they had an inflatable that they hadn't used the whole season. After blowing it up and getting their outboard going Perry, our saviour, came and towed our exhausted and frustrated selves back to our boat. It was a lesson learned. And we vowed to pay much more attention to the current besides the tides, and to get an outboard as soon as we can.
Probably one of the best meals of the trip, we went to Basil and had thai food. We shared some chicken coconut milk soup, fresh basil spring rolls, pad thai and cashew chicken. It was delicious. We were happy to eat something that wasn't fried.
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