Friday, 28 September 2012

... been to Lynchburg, Tennessee

NB: If anyone's confused by the apparent sudden return to the States, a couple of weeks after I got home, don't be: over the next few days/weeks I will be posting the blogs I wrote but didn't upload on the trip, when Hurricane Isaac got rather t(r)opical and I posted about that instead.

23 August, 2012

So I'm typing this in the back of a hire car driven by a woman I met a couple of hours ago called Cecily, who is on an impromptu holiday around the south. The reason Bex isn't driving the car is that the car hire company at the airport refused to accept her debit card as security for our (prepaid) car. So we got a ride …

Cecily is a feisty fortysomething redhead with something of the younger Susan Sarandon about her – she's down from Rhode Island on an Elvis-themed fly-drive, and works as a speech pathologist. I had visions of  a CSI-style job, analysing the speech patterns of killers' telephone threats – but it turns out she's what we'd call a speech therapist. Still, she and Bex bond over their respective vocations, helping the young with their stutters (Cecily) and their ASBOs (Bex).

Our chauffeur for the day

Monday, 3 September 2012

... been to San Francisco

All set for summer in SF ...
The first thing you notice about San Francisco – especially if you're arriving from simmering post-hurricane NewOrleans – is that it's waaay colder than the rest of the States (Alaska possibly excepted) in August. The breeze and mist from the famous bay are the reason for the sudden drop in temperature: Bex and I arrived in our shorts and t-shirts and were shivering by the time we got to our hostel. It really is like going to a different country, climate-wise, and the wide range of cheap hoodies in the Union Square Walgreen's is testament to the foolish assumption of many tourists that America's always warm in summer.

We're staying at the oldish and quirky Dakota Hostel on the corner of Taylor and Post, in a third-floor room with an amazing view (and soundtrack, especially at night) of some of SF's busiest streets. The room is largish, comfortable and old-fashioned, with a big cupboard and an ensuite containing a claw-foot bath (yes, really!). These advantages are compensated for by a massive old 80s cabinet TV which only has two channels – football and FX. Bex reckons it's a bit like somewhere Bukowski might have stayed: I think it's too nice for that, and am imagining a Boho Breakfast at Tiffany's-era Audrey Hepburn.