MARCH 15, 2002 11:25 p.m.
I'm sitting at the desk in our nicely appointed Hilton room located in the heart of historic Savannah. Roaming the halls are many green clad Hibernians and old women in feather boas (green, of course) toasting with beer-filled go-cups. I, myself, feel a bit of an alcohol buzz, but I will get into that later.
After finishing my last entry, I went and finished packing for this trip. I rounded up any suitable green shirt that I could find and quietly lamented the fact that I own no green pants. I also packed shorts as the forecast for the weekend called for temperatures in the eighties. As I threw insome paperbacks to read on the trip, I decided that I really needed to go to the library and get John Berendt's book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, in order to make this trip more memorable. I flew out the door (twice since I forgot my library card the first time) and scoured the Alexandria Library until I found "The Book". I was cutting it close, as our flight was to leave Dulles at 4:45 p.m., so I broke many traffic laws speeding the Honda back home.
Luckily Toni wasn't ready yet either. She was stuck on a conference call regarding her current project in San Francisco. I sat down and watched some basketball. I was happy to see that Pitt won its game; we will have to watch the game in Savannah on Sunday.
At 3:20 Toni and I bolted out the door and loaded the Honda woth our two suitcases. I speeded down I-495 and the Dulles Toll Road, careful not to get caught by the opportunistic road cops. We buzzed into the Purple Lot and sprinted to the Purple Bus.
At the United 1K ticketing area there was already a line ten deep. We were really worried about getting to our flight because there was also a long line to get through security and then we would have to get on a people mover.
After fifteen minutes in line we got to the counter, where the ticketing agent wouldn't give us a ticket because we were cutting it close to the departure time. We were told to go straight to the gate and pray that they hadn't given our tickets away.
The security line took fifteen more minutes and then the people mover took an extra ten. Toni sprinted out the door of the people mover at exactly 4:45 p.m. and rushed through the terminal like O.J. in those old Hertz commercials. I followed with the two suitcases.
We caught a break at the gate. The plane was late, of course. I've never been so glad that a plane was late. If we would have missed this flight, we wouldn't have made it as all the flights are sold out. The reason for the delay was that the plane needed new tires.
Toni got some food (Ranch One chicken and fries and a diet Coke for me) and I read my book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, as we waited at the gate. Toni got back on the cell phone for work.
Our gate attendant finally called us at 5:15 and we boarded the plane, checking our bags outside the gate. I switched seats with a husband and wife. I noticed that a lot of people on the plane wore green and beads and were a little drunk.
We took off at 5:40. Almost immediately everyone started to go back to the bathroom to go get rid of used beer, a sure sign that they were partying. I sat still, engrossed in the book. The flight went by quickly. We landed around 7:00 p.m. Before the plane stopped at the gate, our flight attendant, Calvin, told everyone in a public service announcement that they "should be safe this weekend and think with the head above their shoulders, not the little one below the belt. No means no." I thought his little "The More You Know" monologue was a little preachy and a bit tasteless, but most people thought it was funny.
Our gate-checked bags weren't waiting for us at the jetway; instead we had to go to the baggage claim. I noticed that the Savannah/Hilton Head Island Airport was about the nicest airport that I had ever seen. Very nice and absolutely spotless, even the toilets.
Our bags came soon enough. I had collected a bunch of pamphlets of tours, restaurants, pubs, museums, and historic places while waiting. We went out and got into a cab with Darril, an older, unintelligable man who took us to the Desoto Hilton.
He said that it would take about fifteen minutes and cost us $25. We zoomed onto I-95 and headed to Savannah. Daryl spoke with us in a friendly way, but I really couldn't understand much of what he was saying. His cab smelled like urinal cakes.
We pulled up to the Desoto Hilton on the corner of two moss-treed streets, Liberty and Bull. In front of the hotel were many cars and people with beads and green sport coats (Masters champions as I call them; Augusta is only 130 miles away). We checked in quickly and then languished in the elevator lobby forever just to get in a crowded car with some parade organizers.
Finally reaching the room, we found a comfortable space with a view of the pool. Fireworks were booming as we put our luggage away; you could see explosions of light outside.
Toni changed into some fancy clothes and freshened up for our reservations at the Olde Pink House at 8:30 p.m. I opened up the map and tried to figure out our route to the restaurant.
We left the room and waited ten minutes for an elevator, but none came. We finally took the stairs, but the stairs, for some inexplicable reason would only take us to the second floor (we strated on the tenth). We ended up taking the elevator anyway, traveling down with a chambermaid who couldn't wait to get off work.
After asking which direction was Abercorn street (I started the wrong way, but was smart enough to ask a bellboy), we walked two blocks east and then turned north when we met Abercorn. Traveling down Liberty was nice because the street has a median with grass, statues, and mossy trees. Abercorn was also nice; we passed the cemetery with big letters D.A.R. on the gate (Daughters of the American Revolution) where a guide was giving a ghost tour to a bunch of tourists.