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12 March 2007

Spring Break '07, Or My Tour of The Moneyed South

Chico just took me on the greatest vacay ever. He is absolutely wonderful (but, you all already knew this!). I have never eaten so much amazing food and rank so much booze in a five-day span before. It was phenomenal. I really think I may have gained ten pounds in Savannah alone. And when I try to rationalize my outrageous culinary consumption with the amount of walking I have done in the past week, my oh-so-slightly-tighter pants seem to disagree. Oh well. I'll just hit the gym a little harder ... when I actually start going again.

Our tour began a Biltmore House. I thought that it would be awe-inspiring ...

but all it inspired was a great disgust for the economic traditions and stratification's in our culture.

While the house is absolutely amazing and architecturally-impressive, I felt guilty when Chico bought us a pair of admission tickets to tour the estate and winery. If the money had gone to the city of Asheville, I would have felt better about it. But we simply further lined the pockets of the Vanderbilts and supported the hegemony in the exact fashion that they expect. We "ooh" and "aw" over their expansive and ridiculous amounts of wealth, while the rest of the world struggles to find steady income and sure financial-footing. I mean, come on! 42 indoor bathrooms and a pool when most American houses had NO indoor plumbing? Isn't that a bit excessive? Yes, I understand that the Vanderbilts put this money into "trust" for charitable organizations, but I would rather someone else be controlling those funds. Because, as we all know, the wealthy never take advantage of the less-privileged. On a side note, the winery was pretty kick ass. But, if you buy their wine at good ole HT rather than on the estate, you will save about $10-$15. Just a heads up.
From America's Largest Home, we headed to the home of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and the seat of Southern Hospitality. Upon arriving in Savannah, I immediately fell in love. Not with the beautiful Spanish moss hanging from the old trees or the amazing brick Federal-style homes in the historic district or even the sweet little squares littered about the easily navigable city. I fell in love with The Traveller. I find it absolutely wonderful that you can eat or drink in a bar, and, if you don't have time to finish your drink, you can take it with you in a plastic cup. Two things: Why is this so new to me and when can I move there? It was amazing. When we were leaving the hotel at 9:30, Chico made us a little Traveller for the road. There is nothing like a Screwdriver to start the day off right. Of course, we also drank in bars and restaurants, but we always had our back-up supply if necessary. It was so refreshing to stroll through the city, admiring the artistry and architecture while sipping on the Traveller. It could quite possibly be Paradise.

While in Savannah, we visited Mercer house (murder spot for MGGE) and St. Bonaventure Cemetery. This was pretty great. I got some amazing pics that I plan to print and frame. (Look forward to seeing that in a living room near you!). However, the experience also left me a bit angry. At one point, this statue was in the Bonaventure Cemetery:


However, because of the fame that the movie brought, the statue had to be moved to a private art museum. I have two problems with this. First, do people suck that much that they cannot be trusted to simply enjoy a relic and must destroy/tamper with/steal/defame it? Sadly, it must be true. People do suck that much. The statue stood there without being noticed for quite some time until the movie came along. It then had to be removed from a young girl's gravesite because it couldn't be trusted without supervision. My second problem with this is that the statue is now on display in a private museum. Unlike the museums in DC, one must pay to enter this museum. That means, simply for the privilege of seeing "Bird Girl," one must pay $15. Granted, there are many other beautiful pieces of artwork within the museum, but taking advantage of the popularity of the statue is bullshit. It is unethical and money-grubbing. I find it in poor taste. There are plenty of locations where the statue could be on display, free of charge, while being monitored carefully. Hell, in the lobby of the museum, where one goes to pay, would be appropriate. That way it could be enjoyed and protected without exploiting it for monetary purposes. It just really pisses me off when people will stop at nothing to make a buck. Ugh!

On a happier note, I have decided that men look dead sexy in kilts. Especially tall, Scottish men who work in Scottish bars. I think it would greatly improve my quality of life if all hot men owned and frequently wore kilts. It makes the entire drinking-in-a-pub experience far more authentic and enjoyable. Yeah for kilts!

After bidding farewell to my new favorite city, the boy and I headed north to Charleston. As we were driving up the highway through acres and acres of swamp land, we came across a road sign that read "SMOKE." That's it. Nothing more. As Chico and I looked at each other rather perplexed, another sign of the same variety appeared. Since my Southernese needs a bit of work, would anyone care to enlighten me on the meaning of these two signs. Are they commanding that I smoke? Are they reporting the presence of smoke that is nowhere to be found? Answers anyone?

After eating our weight in seafood, the boy and I headed home. But not before stopping at the Asheboro zoo. I absolutely fell in love with the Polar Bear and took some rather pornographic shots of the baboons. Maybe if you are lucky, I'll share!

Now I am home in the 'boro, trying to return to a normal life.

Normal is far less cooler than vacation.

That's all I have to say about that.
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