I wish I had a more interesting photo to share with you on my first day in Charleston. Perhaps tomorrow. But how about an interesting story instead? I left St. Louis at 8am to catch a 10am flight to Baltimore. I arrived there at 1:30 with the time change. I didn’t see much of Baltimore except from the air, but the airport was very nice.
I got to explore it quite a bit since I had a 2 hour layover. I don’t care much for flying overall but I do enjoy having time between flights to relax or shop. My biggest disappoint was the selection of souvenir shot glasses – a traditional purchase for Mom and Sis when we travel. All I could find was Obama or DC shot glasses. Yep, Obama’s face was available on everything! Or there were ones that just said Maryland on them. Nothing Baltimore-oriented. So they will have to settle for fridge magnets – another traditional souvenir.
I shared both flights with 4 Golden Girls from St. Louis who were on their way to Charleston as well for a girls’ vacation. I sat next to two of them on the first flight, and met a third one when they sat next to me again on the second flight. One of them was even named Blanche! I enjoyed over hearing their conversations of past vacations, their children, how much they liked eating cold chicken, how one of their husbands drinks his V8 juice from a wine glass each morning, how disappointing various shopping venues or casinos were they’d been to. And of course, they discussed something from every page of the in-flight magazine while drinking their cranberry juice. When we were in the air leaving Baltimore, they pulled out the map to identify the body of water that practically divides Maryland in two.
I passed the day and the flights away reading an old Stephen King book I had not gotten to yet, Full Dark No Stars. I wanted to read it since two of the stories in it are coming out as movies in a few weeks. It’s been an enjoyable read and I finished both stories and part of another of the four in the book during the whole day. Everyone in the airports and on the planes was reading Gone Girl which made me smile. I had landed an advance copy of it and read it long ago. And I’m anxious to see the movie of it too when I get back. I discussed Gone Girl briefly with two of the Golden Girls which is nice. To my surprise, I didn’t see a lot of tablets or Nooks or Kindles. People were reading actual books or possibly reading on their phones. That made me smile because if I wasn’t reading King, I would have had my Kindle out reading something. It felt good to blend in and be a part of the paperback community.
A shuttle took me to the hotel from the airport which was only about ten minutes away. It took forever to get checked in though which was a disappointment, but the room is nice. It’s a suite so there’s plenty of room: a sitting area, two TVs, a king bed. The bathroom is kind of small but I’ve seen worse. By the time I unpacked and took a shower, it was getting late. I decided to give the hotel restaurant a try. I soon learned there was a good reason over half the dining room was empty. I had fries and a fried crab sandwich. The fries were typical soggy with grease, and the sandwich lacked flavor. Dessert, bread pudding with cinnamon gelato, wasn’t much better. But two glasses of pinot grigio made up for it. I didn’t sleep well, but I rarely do the first night in a hotel.
The picture is of a notice I found in my bag when I opened it to unpack. I always check one suitcase when I have a long stay out of town for work. And apparently it had been inspected. This was the first time, or the first time I got a notice about it. They didn’t cut or break the lock. But somehow got through it which is a bit disconcerting. At least nothing was stolen, but it still made me feel a bit violated. Oh well…
I’m here until Thursday when I fly out with a connection in Chicago. I’m meeting up with a coworker today who is from North Carolina and knows the area well, so I’m sure to experience some of the real Charleston later today and through the week. Pics to follow…