MARCH 17, 2002
SUNDAY AFTERNOON 3:55 p.m.
I am on the concierge level of the Desoto Hilton drinking a Sprite that I found in an unlocked cupboard. The concierge area is pretty spartan as these things go - no drinks (except for the hidden ones), no food, no concierge even. In fact, the only reason we are here now is so that we can watch the NCAA tournament games in peace before our flight.
Pitt is leading Cal 26 to 25 late in the first half so I am relatively happy. Toni is on a loveseat reading a business magazine. I am at a table obviously writing this journal and keeping an eye on the game.
Our day began (or at least mine did) at around 9:00 a.m. I was really sore from my walk and extremely tired from reading "The Book" last night until 2:00 a.m. I felt better after a shower.
We packed our stuff into our luggage and then went to the lobby to check out. We checked our bags with the bell captain so that we wouldn't have to worry about them during the day. I went to the second floor to take some pictures of the pool area; it had two fish fountains gushing water. It took me forever to get back down to the lobby; all of the elevators were chick full of people and bags leaving today. The stairs, I knew, only led to a fire escape. Finally, I crammed into an elevator and went the one floor down to find an exasperated wife.
We walked out down Bull Street toward the river. We took a photo of the Scottish Church, the Juliette Gordon Low House, Chippewa Square (with Forrest's bench, sort of) and a green fountain. We also took a picture of the famous old movie theater with the large "Savannah" sign; the movie playing that night was "Reefer Madness".
We turned at Bay Street and saw Washington's cannons from Yorktown, the plaque honoring the Savannah, the first transatlantic steammer, the Cotton Factors with their footbridges and cobblestone lanes, and another plaque to memorialize Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin.
We were hungry and it was about 11:30 a.m. so we headed to Huey's and put our names in the waiting list. We had twenty-five minutes to wait, so we walked down River Street east. We popped in and out of some shops and bought pralines and gophers(or bear claws). The one candy store had a big taffy machine from the 1920's. It was spewing out banana taffy. They gave us samples of the taffy and samples of the pralines.
We continued along into various specialty shops. T-shirt vendors were selling bad-looking shirts for $5 (you get what you pay for). I took some pictures of the River and Talmadge Bridge. We turned back toward Huey's.
As we approached, the greeter was calling out, "Robertson, for two!" I knew that must be us and I was happy for our impeccable timing.
We went inside where the decor was green, gold, and purple (like Mardi Gras). We ordered a plate of beignets, a fried oyster po'boy (no mayo), red beans and rice, and shrimp and grits.
The beignets came first; they were light and fluffy and covered in powdered sugar. After the beignets came the other food, all of which was very good, especially the shrimp and grits.
I took some photos and we left satiated. We dodged into some more shops and then Toni sat while I set out to find the "Waving Girl", a statue of a woman and her dog who greeted ships. It took me a while but after walking a couple blocks east, I found her in a little brick square. She was wearing green beads for Saint Patrick's Day. I took some photos and the photo of a couple from Chicago.
I scampered back to Toni, who was beginning to worry about me. We headed west into a Christmas shop and got some Savannah ornaments. We then headed up onto Bay Street and went into an antique shop with three floors. We got four small framed Savannah pictures: Bonaventure Cemetery (the Bird Girl), Mercer House, Forsyth Park, and the Waving Girl. We also got an old Hofbrau House ceramic mug from Munich (we have always wanted one and we failed to get one when we were there in 1998). Toni got a neat beaded purse. We next headed to the City Market, a pedestrian area with shops and restaurants, to see if we could get a drink and watch some basketball. We headed by some places, but they were either packed or had no basketball on (NASCAR instead).
We went into an Irsih pub called Malone's. No place to sit. In desparation, we went into Tony Roma's, but it was crowded and not air-conditioned. We decided to head in the direction of our hotel.
On the way back we went into another store; it was called "Marco". It had some neat stuff like martini gear, old photos, colorful pillows, and Savannah memorabilia. We chatted with the sales clerk, who was from Erie, PA. We bought some Savannah postcards, some photos of Broughton Street and the beach.
On the way up Bull Street, I took a picture of the Old Chatham County Courthouse, a relevant setting in "The Book". We kept going until we got to MacDonough's, a dirty pub that had the basketball games on. We ordered sweet tea and water and a plate of really tasty wings and waited for the Pitt-Cal game to start.
A gaggle of obnoxious folks came in and, of course, sat near us. They were starting to get loud and annoying, so we finished and headed to the hotel.
At the hotel, we established that we couldn't watch the game in "The Red Lion" (the hotel bar). It was at this moment of despair that I remembered that I still had the concierge level key in my wallet, so we headed up and turned on the television in the concierge room and relaxed.
Now we are waiting to leave at around 5:00 p.m., after the game finishes. Toni repacked the stuff we bought and went down to the gift shop and bought Mrs. Wilkes Cookbook and the Junior League of Savannah Cookbook.
Well, that's it. I will try to reconnect with some summary thoughts after we get back to Alexandria (home). I can say now that it has been a great trip and we are thinking seriously of moving down here.