On a recent trip out of Charleston, I noticed a celebrity on my flight to Atlanta. None other than TV’s Jack Hanna was standing with his wife, waiting for his boarding zone to be called. I didn’t bother him. I like the man and I appreciate his work, but he’s not exactly the Crocodile Hunter. The odd thing about the encounter was that “Premium” was already boarding and I was next in “Sky” (because I foolishly paid more for the extra leg room and the free banana) and Jack and his wife weren’t in my boarding group. They were in coach with all the other people who weren’t international TV personalities or frequent Late Show with David Letterman guests. Continue reading “Jack Hanna Flies Coach”
Charleston, South Carolina used to have a tourist season. Tourism would begin to ramp up during the weekend of “SEWE,” which stand for the “South Eastern Wildlife Expo,” and continued until Thanksgiving. But after major travel publications like Conde Nast and Travel+Leisure named Charleston the “Number 1 tourist destination in the world” (good lawd, y’all) there is no longer a tourist “season” in Charleston; tourist flock here year round.
I am not one of these “poo-poo the tourists” locals. In fact, I’m not even counted as a “local” by the poo-poo people. Your family has to have lived in Charleston for 2-3 hundred years before you’ll be welcomed at any Battery-addressed soiree without at least one disapproving glare as you walk through the door. I’ve lived in Charleston for 15 years, but in the eyes of the Blue-Bloods, I’m closer to a tourist than a resident. Which is why I believe I am most qualified to offer this list to tourists because, basically, I am one who simply hasn’t left since 2005.
There are hundreds of “Charleston Tourist Guides” on the internet. A few years ago, I wrote a piece called the “Ten Things I Hate about Charleston.” Not my finest work as it was an attempt to be different in the realm of Charleston lists, but worth a look if you’re interested. What I didn’t find on the internet was something that prepared you for being a tourist in Charleston. So instead of telling you what to do and where to go (I’ll do some of that), hopefully this piece will prepare you for being a tourist in Charleston and give you an idea what to expect while you’re here. Continue reading “Charleston Tourist Season”
I’ve been listening to an incredible podcast produced by Dan Carlin called “Hardcore History,” where Dan (who doesn’t claim to be an historian, but otherwise an “admirer of history”) takes subjects and fleshes them out for hours. I’m currently listening to “Kings of Kings part 2” about a few of the leaders of the Persian Empire. He basically produces entire books on tape in each series, as they are 5-6 hours long. If you like history, definitely check this podcast out.
I bring this up because lately I’ve been ruminating about a subject that was mentioned on the podcast. Carlin was explaining how the ancients would use a navy to support anarmy moving along a coast by protecting supplies on ships and feeding the army when required. Now, I don’t know the nature of the ships, whether they were sailboats or rowboats, but in the interest of this blog post, let’s pretend they were sailboats. See, I’ve been fighting a war with sailboats in my head for a few months now. Sailboats were once essential to humanity but are now only enjoyed by a few nincompoops who don’t mind making us sit in traffic at the foot of a drawbridge while they “sail” under it. Continue reading “Come Sail Away”
When I was a kid, I loved anything that you could fly. I remember getting these planes made out of Styrofoam that were about five feet long and could fly when you threw them. On the package, there were pictures of people doing amazing tricks with these toys. Not appearing on the package was the fact that you threw them once, they flew beautifully and then crashed into the ground or a tree and the wing would break and that was it. I bet I owned ten of them and broke every one. Continue reading “Droning On”
I’ve lived in Charleston, South Carolina for almost 12 years. Being one of the oldest cities in the US, it has experienced many changes and boom times. But I doubt it’s ever experienced the influx of tourists and attention that it has in the last decade. When I could still stomach watching “Chopped” on the Food Network, one year a whole season of that show seemed to feature a different chef from Charleston on every episode. By the end of that season I think the only people left off Chopped was the street meat purveyors and a Subway sandwich tech from the King Street location.
I think you get the point. Charleston exposure is nearing overkill. If there were a magazine for dogs they’d be ranking the “Top Ten Places in Charleston to take a Crap.” I’m glad that my city is popular and that people are willing to come here and spend their money. I really am. The traffic is decidedly more horrible, but progress comes with a price.
Being a “local” in a popular tourist destination puts you in a precarious position. On the one hand, you want to share your home and what you love about it with people who are interested. On the other, you want to be able to go to your favorite joints without waiting in line behind giant men in tank tops who saw the place on Rachel Ray.
I pretended to be a tourist for a day to see what it was like. I guess you could call this a “Local acting like a tourist’s guide to Charleston.” Continue reading “Charleston Proper”
Recently, I was on an airplane. I had to write this post in order to distract myself from the horrors.
This flight is like a doctor’s office waiting room in the heart of Mumbai during a plague outbreak. It’s May; cold and flu season is far behind us and yet the last twenty-five people to get sick are in rows 10-18. I’m in 11 so I have no chance at avoiding the projectile germs being hurled in my direction over the four hours of flight time. I wonder if there is any Clorox bleach on board that I can gargle with? Or maybe the blue toilet water would work? Continue reading “Flight 1735”