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Friday, July 29, 2011

The Palmetto State and Other Things Palmetto.....

South Carolina just so happens to be my birthplace and although I hadn't visited the state until very recently, I've known for some time now that it is also known as the Palmetto State.

...this after having seen random cars over the years sporting a SC license plate announcing to one and all that South Carolina is the Palmetto State. Well I'm no dummy and I also happen to know that the Palmetto Tree is not just a regal looking tree but also the state's official tree. But that dear reader had been the extent of my knowledge of things Palmetto until just recently.

So I was somewhat bemused the other day when a FaceBook friend living aboard another sailing vessel, posted a comment on her page announcing that a Palmetto Bug had freaked her out after scurrying across the V-Berth late one evening.

She later went on to give periodic updates of how that bug was going to meet its untimely demise which included closing up all the hatches and setting off a few insecticide bombs.

Well I might have been born in South Carolina but I'd never heard of a Palmetto Bug before and was understandably somewhat perplexed as to what could possibly have incited such a repulsive reaction to what was surely a little harmless bug crawling along its merry way.

Lady-bugs and Beetle-bugs are the first and only bugs that readily come to mind and both are harmless little critters from my perspective. And a Palmetto Bug couldn't possibly have been any more of a threat if you were to ask me.

It was then but a few days later when the thought of a Palmetto Bug, which had been lurking in the back of my mind, reminded me of a question that I had been meaning to ask.

I proceeded to ask my lady-friend what I thought was a most innocuous question as we were making plans to drive on through South Carolina. My question was simply, "What is a Palmetto Bug" whereupon she proceeded to matter-of-factly reply that it was a large brownish looking cockroach with long antennas.

With that I came to the immediate realization that we weren't talking about some harmless little bug but of a repulsive cockroach... the kind that can make a persons skin crawl. In no time I was suddenly feeling a complete body revulsion just as if that cockroach had crawled all over me.

How anyone could possibly attribute the regal sounding name "Palmetto" to such a repulsive cockroach is completely beyond my comprehension. Having lived in Puerto Rico for a good while, these cockroaches were aptly named and known as "Cucarachas"...

Not "Tree Roaches" or some other "sanitized" name but Cucarachas. A most appropriate sounding name that is sure to incite immediate revulsion and a Terminator-like instinct to indiscriminately exterminate upon sight.

All of which reminds me of one of the many suggestions included in "Why Didn't I Think of That?... by John and Susan Rogers, a live-aboard cruising book. The suggestion states that absolutely no cardboard or paper bags are to be brought aboard the boat.

Cockroaches have a predilection for laying their eggs on paper products and the last thing a live-a-board cruiser needs is to have a bunch of Palmetto Bugs scurrying about the V-berth in the middle of the night.

Yeah I know... I couldn't help myself and just had to share! You can thank me later!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Visiting Charleston, South Carolina and Taking In the Sights...

Charleston, South Carolina had been on my brain lately for whatever compelling reason and not just because of the possibility of sailing up that ways for a change of scenery either.

Miami is most certainly a vibrant cosmopolitan city to say the least but it is nevertheless in a foreign country and I had been imagining that it sure would be nice to set sail on back to the U.S. where English is routinely spoken.

So it was no surprise to my Lady-friend the other day when I suggested that we make a slight detour down through Charleston on our way back from a recent road-trip up in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It also just so happens to be that I was born in Charleston over half-a-century ago and was somewhat intrigued about my birthplace since I simply didn't remember squat of that place having moved away at a very young age. The exception being all the Spanish Moss clinging down from all the tall trees back then.

The truth is, all that stringy, grey moss was my only memory of Charleston because it would invariably creep me out whenever darkness would set in at night. So I'm thinking that the one and only good thing about Hurricane Hugo sweeping on through the place back in '89 was that it blew away all the creepy moss off of the trees.

The tree leaves all grew back in no time but the moss has yet to return... which is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

My only real impressions of that city happened to be from an issue of National Geographic printed back in the mid-eighties when magazines use to be published and when Charleston happened to be featured on the cover that month.

That issue included numerous full page photos of the city and discussed in great detail the history and revitalization of that historical town that had now become a tourist destination of all things.

Well I can tell you first hand that Charleston is a charming little city with numerous exclusive restaurants and quaint shops. The city also boasts having many historical churches scattered on virtually every street corner, each having its own historical graveyard.

All of which has me thinking... Is it little wonder that there are so many ghost sightings throughout the city? Seems to me that the city has been run amok with tourists and that the ghosts can't get enough rest and consequently haven't anything better to do than to roam the streets at night along with the reveling tourists. I'm just saying...

Fort Sumter, Charleston South Carolina

The white steeple in town leans to one side as a result of an earthquake that devastated the city back in 1886.

Me getting ready to light the fuse and blow up some power boaters out in the harbor just for the hell of it... Battery Park, Charleston South Carolina

My sister Charo retrieving a cannon ball while I get the fuse ready...

I feel like an exhausted chicken looking at this picture...

Darn it... next time I'll take a cannon ball from off the top... I almost got my toes smooshed.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Paddle Harder!, I Hear Banjos Playing"! ...

Der ain'ts nothin' more reinvigorating than a good 'ol road trip and dats exactamundo whats me ands me lady-friend dids dis past week.

Yep... we's loadeds up de truck and headed off for dem der hills up in dee Blue Ridge Mountains up in North Carolina... also knowns as dee High Country to city folk.

And it shore was nice to gits me caboose off dat dern sailing boat downs in Miami and meets up wit sum real Americans fer a change.

We evens met ups wit sum nice neighbor fellers while strollin' dem woods ups in dee mountains. One neighbor feller was evens purty good at playin' dee banjo.

Yep... dats dem der Grandfather Mountain over yonder. Hes evens gots a full chin of whiskers too.

One of me new neighbor fellers even gots him a new auto-mobile... says he won it fair and square in a poker game and widout any cheating. But I happen to knows better, he gots himself a still out by de outhouse and he be making some mighty-fine moonshine and selling it all at a purty penny.

Dat dem der is da Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway Viaduct.... city folk tell us mountain men that it's been a described as a "Modern Marvel" on the History Channel... whatever dat mights be. But me and me feller mountain folk ain'ts got no use for it though... it's but an eyesore as far as we's is concerned.

Me also hads a good time tasting all dem fancy wines at some ol' fancy restorant. What dem rich folk don'ts know is that dat refurbished local use to be were me pappy and his pappy distilled sum of da finest moonshine in dem der hills.

Ders is evens lots of rich folks livin ups in da hills and sum of dem evens gots aereo-planes. Dees rich folk don'ts live in der houses year long howevers... only whens it gits hot down in de Low Country. But dats okay 'cause dat means me and me neighbor fellers can squat in dem rich folks houses most of de year and I's be da one drinking all dem cold beers im dat 'lectric cooler-box.