I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Bonus bird blogging

Here's the rookery minus the telephoto lens -- a tree full of young egrets.

Sunday bird blogging

As promised, here's another look at the egret nest at the Pinckney Island wildlife refuge.

I did the shortest of the available hikes and that was almost more than I could handle. The trail passed through salt marshes with no shelter from the sun, and not much in the way of wildlife to observe except for thousands of tiny crabs scuttling over the sands. 

But the pond at the end was beautiful and worth the hike. This egret rookery had dozens of birds and lots of babies, and I could almost see them through the sheets of sweat pouring over my face.

Friday, May 24, 2019

This is better

Same beach -- early morning and early evening. Perfect for long walks.

The beach at midday

Which I mostly avoided. First, although it was a lovely wide beach, it was crowded. And it was hot in the middle of the day. As someone who grew up in San Francisco, I still find the concept of an ocean you can swim in for more than a few freezing seconds just wrong.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Miscellaneous critters, part 2

A dolphin in Broad Creek, the tidal marsh that bisects Hilton Head Island.

I took a dolphin tour of the marsh, and despite my usual bad luck with these things, we actually saw dolphins before we were out of the marina, and saw dozens more during the tour. It was hard to get any good pictures; they disappeared so quickly, and it was impossible to guess where they'd surface next. After taking several not very interesting pictures of fins, I mostly gave up and just enjoyed the ride, but I do like this splashy tail.

Miscellaneous critters

There was a strip of muddy ground next to the lagoon on the hotel grounds in Hilton Head reserved for the use of turtles. There were usually half a dozen basking in the sun, looking about as interested, or interesting, as the mud they were sitting on.

But in the water, their colors came out and they were suddenly rather beautiful.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Beach fun

Horseshoe crabs are so strange-looking that a psychedelic filter is somehow appropriate.

On the beach

I took almost as many pictures of jellyfish as I did of sunrises in Hilton Head. I'm fascinated by their shapes and textures, though there were so many dead ones on the beach it made me reluctant to venture too far into the waves in case I encountered some of their angry survivors.

I'm back home in New York where I'm looking forward to enjoying the cool temperatures while I deal with laundry and shopping and other chores, including sorting through photos.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

In which I explore the culinary side of Savannah

This is the line waiting to get into a restaurant called Mrs. Wilkes.

Some things -- not many, in my opinion -- are worth standing in long lines for, and I wouldn't put most restaurants on that list. But multiple people told me I had to eat at Mrs. Wilkes, and because it's only open Monday through Friday (and only between 11 am and 2 pm) yesterday was my only chance to go. I got there at 10, and there were probably about twenty people in line already. I was seated shortly after the restaurant opened, and by noon I'd stumbled back out into the Savannah heat, lighter by $25.00 and heavier by approximately 25,000 calories.

This is Southern cooking, served family style, and though technically it's all you can eat, the concept is meaningless here. There were two main dishes -- fried chicken and barbecued pork -- and what is reported to be 22 side dishes. I didn't count; they were already occupying every square inch of space on the table when we sat down, and though dishes got passed around, it was impossible to try everything. I did try collard greens and creamed corn and mashed potatoes and rice and gravy and cornbread dressing and sweet potatoes and biscuits, and possibly a few other dishes I'm forgetting. I did not try the lima beans or the okra or the coleslaw or the cornbread muffins. What was in the other dozen or so dishes I never sampled or even saw, I couldn't tell you.

It was all good, some of it very good, but I realized early on that every bite of collard greens, however delicious, was taking up room in my stomach that should be assigned to fried chicken or biscuits, which were both pure heaven. The chicken managed to be both crispy and juicy, and the biscuits were light and crumbly and buttery and salty and the fact that I only managed to eat two of them is something I expect to regret for the rest of my life.

Yes, there was dessert -- peach cobbler with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yes, I somehow managed to finish it.

So was it worth standing in line for an hour? Absolutely! Great food, and a fun experience. Would I do it again? Well....maybe.

The problem with this authentic Southern cuisine is that you're eating it in the South. And walking through heat and humidity that were both in the 90's with a stomach full of fried chicken and peach cobbler almost erased my enjoyment of the experience. The twenty minute walk back to my hotel ended up taking more than two hours because I kept having to duck into stores and museums to cool off.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Do you want that here or to go?

I hadn't realized that Savannah was such a party town, kind of an eastern version of New Orleans. I saw several of these trolleys, which are basically bars on wheels; the riders pump bicycle pedals to move the trolley along while drinking.

There was a mixup with my hotel check-in, so they gave me a voucher for a free drink in the bar. When I went to collect my glass of wine, the bartender asked, “Do you want that here or to go?”

Hot as hell

This dramatic sunrise closeup feels appropriate after surviving a few days in hot, humid Savannah. The weather probably hasn't been much worse than we'd get in New York in July, but it's May and my body definitely isn't ready for this.

Also, my hair has apparently morphed into some kind of out of control shrubbery. Fortunately it's frequently plastered flat to my skull by sweat.

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