At last we’re in America!
Arriving in America was kind of crazy. To think we had sailed all the way to the USA from London in our little boat blew my mind. We had been to Puerto Rico this season and therefore the giddy experience of walking through a Walmart or shopping at Costco had already been recently enjoyed. However, the culture shock was still apparent as we hopped into an Uber and drove into town that first night for dinner. Allison and I actually put on dresses and did our makeup; the boys shaved and donned a clean shirt. We ordered wine and craft beer, and ate fried chicken and Thai salads. Life was good!
Those first couple of weeks were spent taking advantage of the marina’s fast wifi and catching up on work, complemented by almost daily trips into downtown Charleston or the surrounding area. We ate in posh restaurants, we drank in funky bars, we even went to outdoor yoga classes (although try as she might, Allison could not convince us to join her in a Cross Fit class!). We slipped into American life with ease.
Grocery shopping was an utter joy. We not only had a car with air-conditioning to transport us around, but we had a choice of supermarkets, relatively inexpensive groceries and could find pretty much whatever ingredients we wanted. Walking through Trader Joe’s that first day after arriving was akin to Christmas morning.
Happy Birthday to me!
My 31st birthday weekend provided an excellent excuse to have yet another food-and-drink-filled experience. The day before my birthday, the Saturday, we went to a Crawfish Festival with Bo. Not quite knowing what to expect, or indeed not knowing what a crawfish actually was, we were pleasantly surprised to find a family friendly festival atmosphere complete with food stalls, a band and a scattering of tables and chairs, three of which we were lucky to snag. With Bo’s guidance we sampled boiled crawfish, fried crawfish, fried alligator, jambalaya and some kind of deep-fried batter liberally sprinkled with icing sugar. It was all pretty delicious and the live music coupled with gorgeous sunny weather and a festive atmosphere made Nick very happy indeed. He does love a festival.
We went for a wander to see what other entertainment was on offer. Nick spotted a guy holding an alligator in one hand and a snake draped over his shoulders, pushed me ahead to ask if we could film him, and before I knew it I was the one cuddling the alligator. Thus trapped, the gentleman transferred the python on to my neck and I began to quietly freak out. Bo and Nick watched on, laughing heartily, cameras in hand snapping away while I simply stood waiting for it all to be over. Finally the guy took pity on me and I was unburdened of the two reptiles, at which point I smiled graciously, said thankyou very much (for scaring the shit out of me) and moved away as swiftly as my feet would allow.
The following day was my birthday and the four of us went out to brunch at the renowned Halls Chophouse, where we were serenaded by a gospel choir and given free champagne and cake to help me celebrate being another year older. Starting as I intend to go on, obviously.
Time to say goodbye
The following weeks were spent slowly packing the boat up for the hurricane season. We had a list of jobs to get done, including cleaning everything- EVERYTHING- throwing out food, servicing the engine, taking the sails and canvas off the boat, and packing. We hauled out in the Charleston City Boatyard who promised to look after her well while we were gone, and once again we had to say goodbye to our beautiful home for three months!