Saturday, 7 June 2008

Charleston Part 1

So it's scorchio in New York today. I just popped out to drop off a parcel at the UPS office down the street and could not wait to scurry back to the air conditioned heaven of my apartment. It's a hot, sticky, sweat inducing 94F, what's that in new money...34C!!! Too hot for me!! Not my favourite weather, but it's better than rain, which is what we are forecast to get tomorrow, which will not be much fun for all the people participating in and watching the Puerto Rico Day Parade. I was thinking about popping over to Governor’s Island to check out the 1920s Jazz Picnic happening this weekend, 'a free Great-Gatsby-inspired afternoon of picnicking, dancing, and sizzling hot jazz, performed by in vintage style by one of the East Coast's most beloved 1920s bands', people really go to town and dress up for the occasion. Not me, although I think that would be fun, but I don't have a little 1920s number hanging in my wardrobe, but I thought it would be great for people watching and hanging out, however I shall likely be staying home if it buckets down :-(

It's hard to believe that this time last week I was enjoying a lovely, relaxing weekend at the Palmer's Pinckney Inn in lovely Charleston with the charming and lovely Catweazle. Ah it was bliss. I flew down to Raleigh/Durham airport on Thursday night after work and Catweazle picked me up around midnight when my delayed flight (Grrrr - domestic flights never seem to be on time in the US) finally arrived, we stayed at his place on Thursday night and then left around 11am on Friday morning to drive the 300 or so miles down to Charleston, arriving at the B&B around 4pm.

Catweazle picked the B&B and did a great job. It didn't look like much when we initially pulled up as it was next door to a working carriage house and there were horses trotting in and out, so it was slightly whiffy during the heat of the day, but it's not like we were hanging out in front and you couldn't smell a thing once you were in the room. The horses weren't stabled there overnight as far as I could tell, so it didn't pong once the day's carriage rides were done with, and I liked the place a lot, that's our room on the top floor facing the street. It was very nicely decorated without being too floral - like some of the places we'd looked at online - and was a stone's throw from the open air market. Our room was called the Bombay Room and was painted in a dark grey/blue with white accents with a king sized canopy bed, which I wasn't sure I would enjoy sleeping in at first as it was high off the floor and I imagined myself tumbling out in the middle of the night, but it was DIVINE, the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in!! I really should have asked them where they bought the mattress, so I could get my own. It reminded me of something my friend Kimberly often says, "there are two things in life you don't skimp on, your shoes and your mattress." Good advice I think - plus it also gives me a good excuse to buy expensive shoes!! Oh and did I mention the jacuzzi tub and our own porch with rocking chairs ;-)

Now, those who know me may be shocked to hear that I didn't do a whole lot of research for the trip beyond printing out an article, '36 Hours in Charleston, SC', from the NY Times, reading a few bits on, buying tickets to see 'Monkey Journey to the West' on Friday night as part of the Spoleto Festival - music composed by Damon Albarn, visual gubbins and costumes by his Gorillaz collaborator Jamie Hewlett. Love the Gorillaz - and making reservations at a restaurant I saw recommended in the two articles I read about the city, but Catweazle had been there a few times before and sort of knew his way around. Sort of ;-)

We got settled in to our room and then got ready to go out for dinner before going to see the show. Our housekeeper at the B&B, Cindy, had recommended Cru, a restaurant across the street, but when we popped over at 5:45pm to see if they had a table the place was packed and they couldn't fit us in until 6.30pm which was a bit surprising to me for a Friday night. Maybe all the other people were seeing Spoleto events too, unless people like to eat really early in the south. Anyway we were worried that 6.30pm would be cutting it fine for getting to the theatre for the show as we weren't 100% sure how far away we were, so we stopped in at a place around the corner on Market St called Aromas which served Asian and American food. We shared an appetizer called Crab Rangoon made from crab and cream cheese and then deep fried into those parcel thingies...what are those called....wontons!! They were quite bizarre as you might imagine, but not simply because of the cream cheese/crab combo, but because of how sweet they tasted. It was more like a deep fried combination of crab with cream cheese frosting. I wasn't so keen. Our entrees of deep fried grouper sandwiches were better. As you can tell I was really into eating healthily in Charleston, but hey when in Rome/The South. At least I got my grouper sandwich with salad, which obviously cancels out the calories from the deep fryer ;-) I'm now on a diet after all the fried food I scoffed, I used the old 'I'm on my hols' excuse to stuff my face, but now I'm less than impressed with my expanded waistline. We were done eating by 6.30pm, too early for the show, so we stopped in at the lovely O'Hara & Flynn Wine Bar for a cheeky one on the way, a very cute little spot about twice the size of my living room, which had great live music when we were there, I highly recommend it if you're ever in Charleston.

We got to the theater around 7.30pm, picked up our tickets from the Will Call window, popped down to the conveniences for a safety visit - no interval in the show - and settled in our seats and read the program while we waited for it to get started.

So there I am, reading all about Monkey and how he was hatched from a stone egg, became king of the monkeys on Fruit and Flower mountain, his quest for immortality, how he became trapped under the Buddha's palm for 500 years, is released by Guan Yin on the condition that he agrees to accompany Tripitaka as his protector on his mission to India to bring back the Buddhist sutras and along the way are joined by Pigsy, a lustful Taoist sage, and Sandy, a heavenly General demoted to eating river travellers. Monkey, Pigsy, Sandy....hang on a cotton pickin' minute....I excitedly nudged Catweazle in the ribs...

Me: I don't believe it, it's Monkey, that show that used to be on when I was a kid
CW: I don't think we had that show
Me: No? Monkey used to fly around on a cloud, then there was Pigsy, who looked like a pig and Sandy who wore a necklace made out of skulls
CW: Skulls? On a kids show?
Me: Yep, it was a show for older kids obviously. I think I was in my early teens when I watched it.
CW: Darlin' this is America, we'd never have a kids TV show with a character who wore a necklace made of skulls
Me: Well it was great, you missed a treat. I'll see if I can find it on YouTube later

And find it I did. Catweazle was impressed I could tell. So here it is folks, Americans you have my sympathy for missing out on this show as kids, it was FANTASTIC and now Damon Albarn's collaborated on a stage version. Very cool, I was humming the 'monkey magic' theme music for the rest of the weekend.

The stage version is a lot of fun, although somewhat different to the TV show. Eeeek is that the time. I am meeting Betsy to see the movie, Roman de Gare, in an hour and I'm still wearing a t-shirt and tracky bottoms. Time to neaten myself up. This post was getting long anyway, so I'll finish posting on Charleston later. Toodleloo :-)


Anonymous said...

OMG! Monkey! How could I have forgotten that show? I could never figure out if Sandy was a girl or a boy because she/he was a priest and obviously we didn't have female priests in those days.

I'm also going to be singing the theme tune for ages now.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Pawpads, wasn't it the best show!! Catweazle was gutted not to have seen it. From the blurb in the program I think Sandy was a guy!!

Blur Ting said...

Woo Hoo,I love the bedroom!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Blur Ting, I loved the room too, it was really pretty :-)

Kitty said...

Alls I can say is Whew!! :-)

How cute? How romantic?
Really, there's nothing like being away in a nice B+B together. So nice.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fantastic getaway - full of culture and surprises. I've never been to the Spoleto Festival, but the performance lineup always sounds interesting.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Kitty, Whew is right. I cannot wait for cooler weather to blow in. Charleston was lovely thanks. Romantic mini breaks are the best :-)

Hi Spandrel, it was great fun, Charleston is such a nice city and I can definitely recommend Spoleto :-)

Anonymous said...

Any escape from this sweltering city has got to be a good thing right now! Glad you had a good time...the first of many trips down to the Carolinas??

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Dylan, yes escaping is good. It could be the first of many trips to the Carolinas, we'll have to see ;-)