Shiny Metal Tiger

Experiences in Baltimore, MD

Archive for December 2010

Road Trip Day 18: New Mexico

leave a comment »

Once we’d left San Antonio we were officially in the Southwestern desert country. From then on we had countless miles of sand with a smattering of National Parks to look forward to before reaching California. The fact that many of these parks close around sunset (and really require daylight to experience anyhow) kind of restricted the freedom we’d otherwise enjoyed on the trip, by forcing us to halt our driving and wait for the sunrise whenever we arrived at a park after dark. The first such instance came on the border between Texas and New Mexico, where we realized that there was no way we’d have time to see the Carlsbad caverns that day.

Instead, we went to El Paso, and had intended to hop over the bridge to Mexico just to be able to  say we’d been there (and get a stamp in the old passport). However, since my US visa had technically expired a week earlier, I wanted to make absolutely sure that they’d let me back into the United States if I was to cross over. I dutifully followed signs for the US Immigration Information, and suddenly found myself entering the building from the same place as all the Mexicans seeking entry. Uh oh… It took some time to convince the immigration officer that I had in fact come from the US side to ask questions, not from Mexico to bring drugs into the country, and once that hurdle had been passed we still had to see whether they’d let me back in. For this he had to call his superior, officer Gonzales, who was damn sure they wouldn’t let me back in if I went to Juarez. In fact, what was I thinking trying to go to Mexico? Didn’t I know how dangerous it was? I had a college degree and I was trying to go to Juarez? Geez, think a little man. After a period of such aggressive discouragement he let us back into the US, and we settled for seeing Mexico from the distance.

Out on the border

The following morning was Carlsbad caverns, which greeted us like some Lovecraftian Mouth of Madness. Boldly (or ignorantly) we descended the winding path into this primordial abyss.

The Mouth of Madness?

The interior was cool and very, very dark. Only a few light sources were scattered here and there, and I had to put the down and use 60 second exposure time to get a decent shot of this never-never land.

False light

It was a strange place indeed. The almost organic-looking eroded surfaces brimming with ‘popcorn’ (small nuclei of minerals deposited during evaporation), the cool breeze and echoing sounds, in vast-but-enclosed chambers. Like an alien world right out of a SciFi movie. Take this picture, for instance:


Can you tell what’s what? Or even what’s up and down? Appropriately dressed, I think the caverns would have been an excellent place to sit down and write something, or any other such introverted cerebral activity. But of course that’s not what most people are looking for, and as in any other tourist destination there was a nicely mapped out footpath taking you past all the most interesting looking rock formations that had been illuminated for your viewing pleasure. Which sounds rather more critical and would-be nonconformist than I have a right to. Most people naturally have limited time to see something like Carlsbad, such that random exploration doesn’t really work, and of course we fell into this group as well. So let’s look at the bright side and say that many of the rock formations were indeed… interesting.

100% natural?

After spending a few hours in Carlsbad we moved on to the nearby White Sands National Monument. This place is basically a patch of sand with a different chemical composition than that of the surrounding area, and subsequently a different (white) color. It’s big enough that you can drive to the middle of it, scale a dune and see nothing but white sand in every direction. With the sparse vegetation it had a strong resemblance to the beach at my summer house, except for the lack of water of course.

We were the only people there, so it was once again something of an otherworldly experience. Not a sound to be heard, aside from our footsteps and we ran around and did handstands and whatnot. It’s no wonder that Blizzard stole half of their World of Warcraft from real-life parks in America; the nature here is truly impressive, and diverse.


Written by Martin

2010/12/24 at 02:50

Posted in Uncategorized

Road Trip days 16-17: Texas

leave a comment »

Texas. The second largest of the United States (Alaska), second most populous state (California) with the second highest GDP (California). I’ll resist the urge to make a joke about it being a second-rate state and instead offer the standard proverb: Everything is bigger in Texas. Everything, except for my itinerary: we had 600 miles to cover on the I-10, and the only things on my todo-list were to see an oil pump and to try some Texas barbecue. I don’t think I’m giving much away by telling you right away that we did accomplish both, although it wasn’t until we hit West Texas that we saw these:

Oil pump, check.

Since we didn’t have a ton to do in Texas, and knowing that the National Parks would be packed tight once we got further West, we tried to make good time through the Lone Star State. The first day took us as far as Luling, at which point we could go no further that day. You see, my research had revealed that some of the best barbecue in Texas could apparently be had in this town of roughly 5000. And because we arrived there on a fasting day, we had to hang around until we could sample the delights. Which sounds like a ridiculous self-imposed limitation, except that we didn’t get there until 9ish and the place was closed anyway. So off we went to the nearest campground, and then back to Luling at nine the next morning for a yummy brisket-and-ribs breakfast:

And the winner is...

I would offer a nice description of the Luling City Market barbecue restaurant, except that someone else has already done a swell job on just that here. So instead I’ll just say that walking through the cafeteria style dining room, into the smoke room with its darkened walls and spartan menu (ribs, brisket and sausage, each with a price per pound) was just the right kind of atmosphere for a BBQ joint. And when they piled those smoky red ribs on sheets of butcher paper, and asked how many pickles and slices of Wonderbread I wanted, some primordial pitmaster gene told me that we’d come to just the right place. Sure enough, with just the right amount of their delicious sauce this was perhaps the tastiest, juicest barbecue I’ve ever had (I’ll give my dad another chance to claim that title, haven’t had his ribs in a long time now). I still have a thing for the beef ribs at Jim Neely’s, but if we’re comparing apples to apples then Luling takes the prize.

Luling City Market

That might have been the end of Texas (aside from another 350 miles on the interstate), but of course we weren’t doing everything according to plan, and therefore decided to make a stop in San Antonio. Why? I couldn’t tell you, honestly. At some point we realized that the Alamo was there, but I don’t think that was until we were already going.  Certainly it turned out to be a far better idea than when we decided to check out Baton Rouge and failed to find anything interesting. Although it seemed a nice enough place overall, there were two main highlights in San Antonio. The first of these was the Riverwalk, basically a canal running through town, lowered from ground level and stuffed with vegetation, cafes and restaurants. Quite an efficient transformation, basically taking you to another world by a single flight of stairs. I’m sure it’s touristy and overpriced, but I still condone it.

San Antonio Riverwalk

The other highlight was of course the Alamo. I’m not sure that many people outside of the United States, or even outside of Texas, know more about it than the Texian battle-cry, ‘Remember the Alamo!’. I know I didn’t. In short, it’s a Catholic mission turned makeshift fortress in a 13-day siege during the Texan War of Independence from Mexico. A couple of hundred Texians (that’s what Texans were called back then) stood up to a couple of thousand Mexican troops, and were promptly all killed. There was any number of exhibits and videos emphasizing the bravery of the defenders and the significance of the battle, but I must admit that they failed to instill in me any particular reverence for the fallen soldiers. It probably was a pivotal battle for uniting the revolutionaries, but other than that it doesn’t seem so different from any number of other sieges. Still, I was greatly educated about the whole Texan Revolution, which goes a long way to explain the special relationship between Texas and the United States as a whole.

Forget the Alamo

Written by Martin

2010/12/21 at 15:09

Posted in Places

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

leave a comment »

Now that the end of my stay is drawing nigh, I figure it would be in its place for me to summarize my stay here. I’ve been continuously reporting facts and anecdotes here on the blog, so perhaps it would be better to just express my opinions, now that (nearly) all is said and done.  After all, the blog posts aren’t really representative of daily life, so what are the things that have consistently pleased/displeased me during my stay? Without further ado, I present to you:

The best things about America (during my stay here)

  1. Options. More things to buy: My friend wanted to build his own jungle gym out of PVC piping, as he’d read about online, but the pipes turned out to be unavailable or prohibitively expensive in Sweden. Not so in America. More things to eat: New York pizza, Texas ribs, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Mexican tamales, Blue cheese & bacon burgers, Lucky Charms. More things to see, more things to do. Jobs at the hottest companies, or venture capitalists to start your own. Best universities in the world. Anything you want.
  2. Openness. Sit down in a bar and the bartender will come and talk to you. Stay a while and the guy next to you will too. Strike up a conversation with your neighbor, or someone you meet in the street. Not something you do in Denmark… And it’s not just formalities either, Americans are happy to pour out their life story. I’ve had 3 people tell me within 10 minutes of conversation that they sell drugs, or used to.
  3. Natural wonders. I guess my road trip pictures will be the best way to document this, so suffice to say that the great outdoors in Denmark doesn’t hold a candle to what you get over here. Giant redwoods, scorching deserts, grand canyons, palmy beaches… even the sunsets seem deeper here.

But of course it’s not all milk and honey, so here are:

The worst things about America (similar disclaimer):

  1. Quantity over quality. There a lot of options, but most of them are shit. You can go to a huge mall and find two dozen stores all selling the same uninspired polos and Ed Hardy sneakers. Go to the supermarket and buy a bag of cookies for a dollar, but they’re bland and the chocolate tastes like cocoa lard. Go to Walmart and get anything you want, but it’ll be ugly, unhealthy and probably break in a month or two. Like I always say, America is a place where you can get a lot for a little, but it’s not very good. This wouldn’t be so bad if the Americans hadn’t embraced it wholeheartedly, to the extent that it’s pretty near impossible to find anything worthwhile. Pretty on the outside, shitty on the inside.
  2. Excess. Goes hand in hand with #1, and is probably the most common stereotype about Americans. Sadly, there’s more than a grain of truth in it. America is the land of driving around in big cars, of driving to the other side of the mall parking lot to go to a different store. Of shopping to make pizzas and then throwing away all the leftover pepperoni and tomato sauce. Of buying two to get two more for free. Sad but true, and sadder still: it’s contagious.
  3. Work mentality. This one is more specific to my time here, but it’s probably going to affect anyone coming here to work, and certainly everyone who lives here. More hours spent at work is unequivocally better. Work longer hours, work weekends, work when you’re not working. Quantity over quality. The result is that you spend a lot of time at work not working, a lot of time at home kind of working. A lot of time being inefficient. It’s given me a newfound respect for cutting the cord when you’re going to relax. Work hard, play hard.

Written by Martin

2010/12/18 at 17:28

Posted in Uncategorized

Road Trip: A day at the zoo

leave a comment »

As I mentioned in the New Orleans post, we spent a nice afternoon at the Audubon Zoo. To avoid getting started on animal trivia, I’ll just share some of the pictures I took:

Elephas maximus

Ara macao

Myrmecophagae tridactyla

Symphalangus syndactylus

Alligator mississippiensis (Leucistic)

Giraffae camelopardalis

Ateles fusciceps

Dromaius novaehollandiae

Written by Martin

2010/12/16 at 13:51

Posted in Uncategorized

Road Trip days 12-15: N’awlins

with one comment

New Orleans marked the halfway point of our trip, and was definitely one of the highlights. Top pick for my companion, though the Grand Canyon takes that honor in my book.

As usual, our first objective was to find a place to stay. I had already scouted out a few hostels online (courtesy of Starbucks wifi), so it was a simple matter to drive around to each of them in turn. We ended up staying at the Olivier House the first two (weekday) nights, and then having to relocate to the St. Vincent guesthouse for the weekend. The former was fantastic: smack in the middle of the French quarter, and oozing personality, with nooks and crannies and hidden passages. We even met perhaps the most influential person for our stay in N’awlins there, but I’ll get to that in a minute. St. Vincent’s, on the hand… everything was spotted, had holes in it, or both. The kitchen was closed down. One of the guys in our dorm had been missing for a week. It was perhaps the dingiest hostel I’ve ever stayed at, including the ones in China last year. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers, and we’d knowingly neglected to make reservations for a weekend that featured Halloween, a major music festival, a vampire convention and lord knows what else.

The Olivier House

Now, I would be treating St. Vincent’s unfairly if I didn’t mention the one great thing about our stay there, namely breakfast at the nearby Blue Plate Cafe. Luverly place, lots of eggs and waitresses dressed for the occasion (Halloween, not breakfast). I had a pair of tremendous crawfish cakes with hasbrowns, topped with fried eggs and crawfish sauce. Very yummy, and quite enough to fill me up. So why did I order dessert afterwards? To put it simply, a phantom message flowed through the cosmos like the tears of the gods, informing me that my anointment would come in the shape of pecan pie a la mode. Either that, or I had fallen under a hoodoo spell of compulsion urging me towards the same end, for unknown and nefarious reasons. Either way, the pie turned out to have been made by Brahma himself, using ambrosia and locally grown pecans. Words cannot describe the sublime flavor of this pie…

Pecan pie with ambrosia and vanilla ice cream.

As I mentioned, we met a wonderful Spanish woman at the Olivier House who had been living in New Orleans for a year and a half. She gave us some great tips for good times in N’awlins, of which my personal favorite was our night in Tremé.

You might have heard of this neighborhood through the new HBO series by that name; if not, it’s an old old part of New Orleans, with a powerful black history. Part of this heritage is the brass band tradition, and that’s exactly the reason we headed to the Candlelight Lounge that Wednesday night. Not in a million years would we have found this place on our own, and even if we had stumbled upon it I’m not sure we would have gone in. We had walked through dark and lifeless streets for a good while before we could make out a deep beat that eventually brought us to an unremarkable single story building with a hefty doorman outside. On the inside it had the same almost quaint atmosphere, with tables and chairs right out of a school cafeteria and improvised decorations here and there. It was obvious that everyone but us were regulars, and you got a distinct impression of this being real people doing their own thing. Once the horns started blaring everyone was tapping their feet and nodding their nods, and most of us got up to dance. We’d been told that these places usually give you free red beans & rice, and the Candlelight Lounge delivered as promised. They had a big old pot cooking in the back, and it was a veritable treat (and a brilliant partner to the booze we were consuming) I think this was my friend’s favorite part of the whole thing. Aside from this, they were selling gumbo and cakes outside; not a great deal compared to the free red beans, but you needed to go outside anyway, to cool off. In one of these breaks we fell to chatting with an odd couple: a slightly crazy somalian woman and her friend/ex, who was supposedly a pirate/musician and the owner of three functional cannons. Additional good times ensued, as you’d expect. Totally cool experience, and I’m unreasonably satisfied that I got to see something other than the French Quarter.

Not that the Vieux Carré was a bad place to be, not by a long shot. Architecturally it was great: old colonial houses with elaborate iron galleries and shuttered windows. Interestingly it’s actually built during the Spanish rule, as the original French houses mostly burned down in 1788 and ’94. The narrow streets do admit cars, but it’s nevertheless very pedestrianized; there are street performers, sidewalk cafe and countless bars. Literally, countless bars. On Bourbon street alone there’s one every five meters or so, no kidding. I tried to count them but failed because I was drunk. During the day the whole place (but especially Bourbon street) has a distinct ‘morning after’ feel, for obvious reasons. When you’re on vacation, though, that’s not such a bad thing (aside from the smell). We would get up and saunder around, perhaps stop somewhere for a po’boy or muffaletta, or go to the landmark Café du Monde for some coffee and beignets. We did the latter a lot, both during the day and after a night of debauchery; the Café is open 24/7, and all they serve is coffee (+/- milk) and the french doughnuts with powdered sugar. Very yummy, and feels downright European to get your coffee in cups while sitting outside. Until you notice the assembly line of coffee and doughnut dispensing machines whence the waitresses claim your order, that is.

Jackson Square, heart of the French Quarter

We quickly grew weary of Bourbon street though, for any number of reasons. It was all very tourist-minded, drink-until-you-barf minded, spring-break minded. We always had a ton of things to do the next day, so ‘pleasantly drunk’ was our modus operandi. When we weren’t hunting down brass bands in shady neighborhoods, we generally followed the advice of pretty much every local we talked to and went to Frenchmen street just west of the Quarter. Similarly bar-studded, it was far more college-students-enjoying-themselves minded, which suited us just fine, and (as had been the case ever since we entered Tennessee) there was live music in most of the bars.

Although I’d originally planned to spend Halloween trying to crash a notorious college party in Houston, we ended up going with the safe option and staying in New Orleans. A $55 shopping spree at Walmart eventually produced Togaboy and The Grand Prize, and with our alter-egos thus in place we headed out into the hallowed night. There was a big parade that we caught the end of, and just a ton of people walking around (mostly) in costume, with more privileged revelers tossing beads from galleries and windows. Basically a miniature Mardi Gras, except that the beads weren’t really currency for anything. With no roots tying us down, we basically spent the entire night walking back and forth between Frenchmen and the Quarter, getting drinks at different places (and some beignets, for good measure), checking out costumes, listening to street musicians, dancing on vans and talking to people. Reveling, in other words.

The Grand Prize suits up

After a few days in New Orleans, you had almost forgotten that you were on a road trip through America. Aside from the European atmosphere (legally drinking on the street!) and unique cuisine, there were just so many things that were somehow different. One of these was of course the cemeteries, where everyone is buried in mausoleums above-ground to prevent them from literally rising from the grave in wet weather. These modern-day necropoleis are veritable mazes of ironwork fences, religious icons and mausoleums of all shapes and sizes. It’s not just for show, of course, and many of the tombs are decorated with flowers or votive candles. A few of the most famous ones, like the one(s) supposedly belonging to voodoo queen Marie Laveau, have large piles of appropriate offerings. It’s quite a sight, and probably even cooler by night.


We really did too many things in New Orleans to describe them all, so I’ll finish off with one that it would be a crying shame to omit, namely a tour of the Honey Island swamp. Cruising around the swamp in a small boat was fun in itself, but what really made the experience was our tour guide, Captain Ted. Claiming to have grown up in this swamp, he certainly was an cornucopia of stories about its vegetation, history and inhabitants (human and otherwise). Expertly maneuvering the boat close enough for photos of birds and gators, all the while explaining how ‘donuts’ aren’t really doughnuts because  (unlike beignets) they are made from cake batter rather than dough. Or that the Spanish moss hanging from most of the trees down here isn’t actually a moss or lichen, but rather a close relative of the pineapple, and then going on to explain how his grandfather would harvest the stuff by hand (well, with a rake-like tool he’d made) and sell it to people needing to replace the horsehair stuffing of antique furniture. With his weathered face and independent attitude he seemed the iconic American; a John Wayne of the Bayou.

Captain Ted baits the gators

One of the things I left out was a visit to the Audubon Zoo. Nice place on a nice day, but I’ll do the show and (maybe) tell in a separate post. After that I’ll get to our true Journey to the West, through Texas and the Midwest deserts. Stay tuned!

Written by Martin

2010/12/15 at 19:26

Posted in Uncategorized

Road Trip: A memorable night

with one comment

I don’t remember exactly when the following events took place. I think it was probably while we were going through Mississippi, but in any case it does not really matter.

What I can say with confidence is that we were driving through forest roads looking for a campsite where we could spend the night. It was long after dark; the winding roads made a mockery of our headlights, and the moon had plain given up. Anything beyond the first line of trees was inky blackness. We hadn’t passed another car, let alone a person, for several hours. Each time the King of Leon paused between songs, we were beset by a profound not-quite-silence: other than the thrum of our engine there wasn’t a recognizable sound to be heard, and yet the promise of bustling activity was inexplicably audible from the darkness. It was downright ethereal, until we turned a corner and found a possum trying to stare down our headlights.


“Stupid ass possum.”

“Should we go back to make sure it’s dead? Maybe bury it.”

“Nah, it’s too late now, let’s just keep going.”

“Alright. It would be the right thing to do though.”

“Fuck it, we’re going back.”

We swung the car around at the next driveway and kept our eyes peeled as we headed back through the darkness whence we came. At first we did not manage to locate the victim of our battery, but after we had turned the car around to retrace our steps once more I spotted what might have been a red smear on the asphalt. We pulled off the road as soon as we could, and with my flashlight in hand headed back on foot. As soon as we stepped out of the vehicle, we could hear several dogs barking in the distance. We were very careful as we made the trek towards the suspected spot, mindful that if another car came hurtling down the unilluminated road we might well end up joining the possum in the Great Beyond. The barking dogs never abated, and by the time we reached what was indeed a red smear they seemed to be rather close. And indeed, as we stood there wondering why there was no carcass on the road, we soon glimpsed a pack of canines running around behind the fence of the neighboring property. A bit unsettling on such an eerie night, but nothing compared to our alarm when the dogs ran right past the clearly incomplete fence and started down the road towards us. Needless to say we bolted, becoming cognizant during our sprint back to the car of the fate likely suffered by the remains of the possum.

It was a memorable night, and that’s without even mentioning the campsite that we eventually found…

Written by Martin

2010/12/12 at 19:10

Posted in Uncategorized

Road Trip Days 10-11: Mississippi

with 2 comments

Ol’ Howard just pointed with his gun
And said that way, down on Highway 61

Ah, fabled highway 61, blues highway. Rolling down through the cotton fields of the Mississippi delta,  tracing the eponymous river all the way down to New Orleans. Revisited by Bob Dylan, artery of the Deep South, cradle of the delta blues; was there ever any doubt as to which route we’d take from Memphis to Louisiana?

OK, so I’m glorifying it a bit. If anything is the artery of the Deep South it’s probably the Mississippi river, and it’s not like delta blues has much to do with cruising down a highway. In reality, the most striking feature of the route was its utter flatness. Dead flat and dead straight. During my planning I’d been attracted to the world’s longest stretch of highway with no vertical or horizontal curvature whatever, which runs 30 miles from Tunica to Clarksdale, but in the end this particular stretch wasn’t very different from all the other unbelievably straight drives in Mississippi. Miles and miles of bleak cotton fields on either side, with the occasional cluster of houses. No turns, no stop lights, no (practical) speed limits. Add a thunderstorm and it’d be about as sublime as it gets.

30 miles of dead straight highway.

The first stop on this journey through flatness was Clarksdale, one of the hot spots for delta blues. They have a big old sign at what they claim are the crossroads where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil, in return for mastery of the guitar. Although I’d originally wanted to go there, in the end we ended up passing it over; probably just as well, I bet it’s mostly a marker for where to set up a souvenir shop.

Of course, that’s not the only (or primary) attractions, blues-wise. There’s a museum and some blues clubs, but I guess the real significance is harder to pin down. There’s history, intermingled with the ‘real’ history, permeating the boards of houses, the the minds of the people. Clarksdale is pretty run down, but I guess that’s how it had to be to produce something called “blues”.

Dey got dem blues

In fact, run down doesn’t really do justice to the derelict feel of the place. We got there just before two o’clock in the afternoon, and after visiting the Delta Blues Museum found that the rest of the town had just closed. Even the visitor’s center was closed. At the o’clock in the afternoon. We’d wanted to visit the Ground Zero blues club co-owned by Morgan Freeman, but it was predictably closed (to be fair most blues clubs are closed on Mondays). We did go to have a look, though, and this is what we saw:

Dey got dem blues, except on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Ground zero seems like an appropriate moniker. It is operational, though, and looked like quite a cool place on the inside.

After Clarksdale we went to Vicksburg. To be honest I can’t remember why we did so, but it wasn’t a waste of time. Coming from Clarksdale, impression #1 was that Vicksburg was a much nicer town. Little promenades, boutiques, a proper waterfront. It’s not like it was a gentrified haven (see below, for instance), but it was far more animated, even at night. I got the impression that it had a lot of history as well (Wikipedia tells me that Coca-cola was first bottled there), though we didn’t have time to explore that aspect during the single evening we spent there.

Vicksburg by night

As we continued southward on the next day, it certainly seemed like we were in a different – older – place. Everything was covered in vegetation, even the trees themselves were overgrown. Verdant. Primeval. On a whim, we made a turn for the ‘Windsor Ruins’, which turned out to be the remains of what was once the grandest mansion in the area. Consumed by fire, the only thing left standing were the neoclassical pillars that had once lined the perimeter. Monumental. Impressive.

Once upon a time...

Eventually we reached Natchez, our last stop in Mississippi. Although it’s (supposedly) not the equal of Savannah, the town is nonetheless renowned for its antebellum homes. These pre-war neoclassical mansions are scattered across Natchez, with several offering guided tours. Although we cruised around to all the main ones, two of them received more attention than the others. First of these was Rosalie, a lovely home situation right on the riverbank. Aside from the gorgeous view, Rosalie naturally made a strong impression because it was the one we took a tour of. A lovely old lady led us from room to room, explaining the history of the mansion, of the family that lived there, of the times. As she was very happy to point out (repeatedly), “[Rosalie is the] best home in Natchez. All the furniture here belonged to the original family, been here since 1823. No other home can say that.” It was fascinating to see, and even though our guide’s accounts were rather too detailed for me to follow she did do a swell job showing us around.

The other mansion that stood out was Longwood. The largest octagonal mansion in American (or so I hear), it stands a bit outside of Natchez, and thus has an expansive estate surrounding it. We arrived there a bit after closing time and found the gate closed, but we decided to check it out anyway. How did we manage this, you ask? Well, it seems that they had only given thought to keeping out Americans: while the gate barred access by car, the pedestrian path was wide open. And so we hiked through the enchanting grounds of Longwood. Sunshine falling through the Spanish moss hanging from every massive oak, glistening in the misty lake. Not silent, but devoid of the ubiquitous sounds of civilization. Crickets instead of engines, birds instead of radios. It was damn near magical, and so it seemed rather incongruous when we finally reached Longwood, and found it covered in Halloween decorations:

Longwood Mansion: Now with 100% more cat eyes.

Normally I completely condone the urge Americans have to decorate their houses to summon the holiday spirit, but this might be overdoing it…

Written by Martin

2010/12/05 at 22:55

Posted in Uncategorized