Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Charleston, South Carolina – Sunny, hot – 88F

Distance from Cartagena to Charleston, SC – 1427 Nautical Miles

We are back on land. 

We tried to get breakfast early but after the excursion crowd had departed. 

As has been the case for most of the ports, we are not going to be on an excursion today.  But the cruise terminal is essentially in the downtown area of Charleston so we are going to walk off this morning and check out the stores and sights.  It is a two part process:  the first involves clearing immigration.  Once our group number was called, we went to the Cruise Terminal, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were waiting – a quick check of our passports and sea pass cards and we were through.  Since no one can go back on the ship until everyone has gotten off and cleared, we simply proceeded to the town.

Charleston Bay

The length of our stay will depend on the heat and the availability of shade.  Charleston, at least the part we were in, is a combination of upscale stores (e.f. Kate Spade, Michael Kors), makeup stores, galleries, and non-chain eateries.  It’s like a less glitzier version of Rodeo Drive.  Everyone is polite and end their conversation with you with “Y’All have a nice day”.  One woman, smoking on the street, moved her cigarette away from us and said “Excuse Me.”.  I want what they’re on. 

We walked down East Bay Street with a destination in mind, the Beth Elohim Synagogue.  There were a lot of people walking the streets and taking in the sights; there were also some folks who found a more unusual way of seeing the town - horse driven carriage.

Charleston Transport

We passed the Circle Church, with its interesting architecture and cemetery.  The Church also puts on concerts - "From Gospel to Gershwin" (I'm OK with the Gershwin part but the gospel, not so much).

Circle Church

Ellen at Circle Church

We also passed a small museum and took the opportunity to get out of the sun for a few minutes.

Museum Guy

Down the street from the Museum was a small park with a statue - I thought it might of a person related to the history of Charleston.  It turned out to good old George Washington (probably did have a part in the history of area).

George Washington

While walking, I noticed the Indigo Inn, which happens to be the place we’ll be staying at when we return to Charleston in December.  We walked in to see what it was like.  The man behind the counter was so friendly – he checked our reservation and then offered us something to eat off their buffet.  So we had a chance to see what their food was like in advance.  I tried a bagel and sweet roll with coffee – very good.  

I took some pictures of the stores along the street - from the names it seemed like this could have been a Jewish area at some time.

Jewish Stores (at one time)

Another photo stop was at a Charleston Fire Station.  What caught my eye was the ceramic Dalmatian in front of the building.

Charleston FD

It turns out we walked past the shul so we headed back.  We stopped at Francis Marion Park (the “Swamp Fox”) for some pictures - instead of a statue of Marion, there was a monument to John C. Calhoun - and then to the Walgreen’s across the street to pick up a Charleston baseball cap. 

Frances Marion Park - John C. Calhoun Statue

John C. Calhoun Monument

To get back, we walked on the next street up (King Street).

King Street

We did find the synagogue on the way back and were thinking of seeing the interior but you can only do that if you are part of the official tour.  The tour had already started so we decided to take some exterior pictures and keep walking around Charleston. 

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim garden

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim plaques

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Entrance

We continued our walk down King Street and St. Michael's Churchyard.

St. Michael's Cemetery

I couldn't resist taking the picture below for obvious reasons.

Pulitzer to Real Estate

After about two hours and 9000 steps, it was time to get back on the ship.  To get to the ship, we passed through a waterfront park with a wonderful fountain - lots of kids were running through the water to cool off.  Ellen also get a free sample of local ice cream along with the usual "have a nice day".  We also got a terrific view of Symphony docked.

Waterfront Park

Symphony Docked

Lunch was up in the Lido Café but they had run out of lettuce so the salad was a little wonky.  They managed to deal with the situation very well.

My last presentation, “The Lost Dauphin of France”, was scheduled at 4:00 PM.  With the all aboard time being 4:30 PM, many, if not all, passengers who were in Charleston on excursions or on their own, will getting back in the middle of my talk.  If I were getting back, all sweaty and tired, the last place I would go would be the Starlite Lounge to hear a lecture.

I was the only person in the room until 3:50 PM, when Steve showed up.  An awkward introduction by Paul to the 15 or so people who did show up was followed by one of my better versions of this talk.  I finished in just over 40 minutes, which actually left some time for questions.  I did get some good suggestions, one being to clear up who the players were since many of them have very similar names (e.g. Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresia and Princess Marie Therese, plus all of the sisters of Marie Antoinette).  I will work on that for the next revision.  Obi Wan, my only hope is that someone watches this on TV later on in the evening.

We passed on the Jim Brochu talk on Ethel Merman – not a big fan of Ethel Merman and I feel I have met all of the unit requirements for graduation in Film and Theater study.

We had kosher meals again in the Crystal Dining Room – we had ordered Matzo Ball Soup but there was a glitch and it never arrived.  Ellen had Lamb chops and I had my polish sausages.  So unhealthy and so yummy.

Our sail away from Charleston included a gunboat escort.

Gunboat Escort from Charleston

Sailing Away in the Gloaming

At 7:45 PM, we went to see Broadway Star, Josh Young, in the Galaxy Lounge.  He is the Tony nominated start of "Jesus Christ Superstar".  He had a good enough voice but he sang one song, “Shiksa Goddess” that made us cringe (and was borderline anti-semitic).  He is apparently marrying his shikse goddess soon and that’s OK but the song didn't seem appropriate in a mixed audience, where some people won’t understand it and other folks will be offended.

From the show, we went to Deck 9 aft (girls smoking on Deck 8) and chilled out on the loungers.  Best part of the evening for sure.

A very mixed day but, at least, it’s over.

Tomorrow, our last sea day.  My plan is to bypass all of the Film and Theater presentations save for Steve at 10:00 AM (he’s obviously a better negotiator that I am for time slots).

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