Sweet Carolin-a?

Charleston is a short hop from Savannah, one coastal tourist town to another.  We drove around and around and around over bumpy, one-way stone streets while I quietly worried about the state of our suspension. After finding parking we strolled the streets and came across a old, covered marketplace spanning several blocks, where vendors sold what vendors sell in these places. Stickers and keychains, t-shirts and hats, woodwork and candles, TSA approved jelly jars and local art.  Down past the marketplace was the water and pier from which we saw Fort Sumter, it’s old walls fading into the grey of the stormy sky behind it.  We sat on a bench and felt the warm, wet air blow around us, cooling our bodies and giving us a brief moment of peace from the hustle of tourism.  It’s strange to be in so many places so swarmed with tourists and to look at everyone around and feel separate, to tell ourselves “we’re not tourists.” But we are. That’s exactly what we are in the most literal sense.  We are touring this big country.  We are taking in the sights and drinking in life.  How different are we?

One thing we hope for on this trip is to not be content with being a parasite, with only taking. We want to give, however we can, whenever we can.  We want relationships with the people we meet, the places we see. We want to grow with the road, and leave our footprints in the sand, while the road leaves its fingerprints on us and our family.
The clouds gathered closer and the light, early storm droplets of water started to fall so we stood up and continued on along the water.  We didn’t see much else in the Carolinas. It was a long drive of strip malls and not-so-scenic country road. Mini golf, actually. Yes, there was plenty of mini-golf. Pirates and spaceships, tractors and dragons and ghosts and dinosaurs. Every possible aspect of pop culture was harvested and hung up on the roof of some building or half-submerged in astro-turf for the sake of the putt-putt.  They spanned the length of the Carolina coast.
By the time we got to Myrtle Beach we were tired and ready for sleep.  We weren’t sure what to expect from the town itself so the sudden tide of drunken college kids yelling out of cars and crowding the sidewalks, the flashing neon lights, the 70’s arcade-style buildings and bumper to bumper traffic threw us into a catatonic survival state.

“Just make it to the water and we can get out of the car.”

That’s all we wanted at that point, contact with the Atlantic.


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