Betty and I went to Charleston for a wedding, and we had a blast. For starters, the city is beautiful: it looked and felt just like New Orleans, but without the garbage and transvestite strippers. It was like we were in a parallel universe!
They even have their own French Quarter! (But again, without the transvestite strippers, so how good could it really be?)
The second thing that we loved about Charleston is that the people there are incredibly friendly. They're probably the nicest people that I've ever met. We hear a lot of people who travel down to our part of Louisiana tell us how nice we are, but I can assure you that we're not nearly as nice as those South Carolinians. They were even nice about me Tiger Baiting them mercilessly the entire time that I was there.
So about Chuckstown (as I call it) being clean: We got there on a Thursday morning and immediately noticed that the streets were immaculate. There wasn't a single piece of garbage anywhere. It was like the citizens of Charleston took pride in their city or something. Seriously, I think there's more garbage on my street than in the entire city of Charleston.
Well, we did find one piece of garbage - and old Coke bottle - but technically it was on our hotel room's balcony, so I guess that still counts towards there being no garbage on the ground. I added this bottle's top number to my "MyCokeRewards" account for 3 points. Jackpot!
We stayed at the Harbor View Inn, which - true to its name - had a great view of the harbor. It also had a great view of a cool fountain out by the docks.
Charleston is nicknamed the "Holy City" because it has so many churches. The top floor of our hotel had a little patio area that had a great view of the city. You can see a handful of church towers in the background of this next picture.
The city also has some great food. We spent about six hours on Thursday at an oyster bar called Pearlz (yes, with a Z), where we met up with all of our friends. The girls chatted while the guys watched the Steelers cream the Browns on the telly. I sang the theme song to "American Dreamz" the whole time I was there ("American Dreamz... Dreams - with a Z!") in honor of Pearlz's Z. The waitress probably wanted us to leave about five hours prior to when we actually did, but since she was from Charleston, she was way too polite to say anything.
You know us Louisiana folk... we'll stay until you kick us out.
Charleston also has some good pizza. We ate at a place called Monza and it was delicious. Here's me with a "Count Louis" pizza, in honor of Louisiana.
And while we never ate at the ice cream parlor right by our hotel, we did enjoy looking at the statue of the ice cream cone that looked like it had two massive knockers:
So what is there to do in Charleston except for eating, looking at fountains and Tiger Baiting the natives? Glad you asked!
Charleston is steeped in history, and I tried my best to see and do everything while Betty was busy doing bridesmaid-ish type things. My friend Michael and I went to the "Old Slave Mart", where we paid $7 each to read a bunch of stuff on the walls of a building. At no point did we ever see any slaves, nor could I sell my services as an indentured servant - which just goes to show you how times have changed, considering that South Carolina was the first state to seceded from the Union during the Civil War times due to the Yankees wanting to stop the slave trade. The Old Slave Mart did a good job of showing how slavery was a facet of everyday life back in those days - from the bankers who bankrolled plantation owners to the clerks who would draw up documents to buy and sell slaves.
What else is there to do in Chuckstown? Well, you could take your little honey on a carriage ride. I took mine on a Palmetto carriage tour, but there were several companies doing them. We got a price quote at several places and found that $19 was the going rate.
And don't worry about the horse poop... the horses wear diapers.
Yes, I really took a picture of that. Several pictures, actually, but that was the best one. I also took video of one of the horses peeing. If you're interested, give me a holla.
You can also go exploring the shops at one of several markets, or if you're like me, go take pictures with all the art displays.
Or you can visit the Powder Magazine, which is where Charleston used to keep all its ammo. Charleston used to be fenced in, and the Powder Magazine had ammo, guns, and a really sweet gift shop. The guy at the Powder Magazine even let me play with one of the old guns.
Don't worry, no Southerners were hurt during the making of that picture.
While in Charleston, you can also visit Fort Sumter. Fort Sumter is on an island - a man-made island, actually - and is where the first battle of the Civil War took place. After South Carolina seceded from the Union, Union soldiers infiltrated Fort Sumter in the dead of night. Once the people of South Carolina found out, they were pissed - because, you know, it was theirs now and not the Union's - and proceeded to shell Fort Sumter for 34 hours. And since the first shots rung out on about 4:30 in the morning and woke everyone in Charleston up, the people of Charleston just hung out on their porches and watched.
And now, for about $17 at 11:30 am and 2 pm, you can take this boat out to Fort Sumter!
Hey, it's only $10 more than the Old Slave Mart! The ride out there is 30 minutes, and you stay for about an hour. So a 2 hour trip for $17, plus you get a history lesson - not too shabby. Just bring a coat because it's windy.
In case you've never seen it, this is what Fort Sumter looks like from the outside:
And this is what it looks like on the inside:
And this is what it looks like when you rub your crotch up against one of its historic and immaculately preserved canons:
They said to not touch anything while we were in there, so you'll notice that there's about a half an inch worth of space between my dong and the canon. You're welcome, Charleston!
Speaking of canons, they had several canons there and you could look at them - and even inside them - if you were so inclined. For example, they had a 15-inch Rodman, which has possibly the best name of any canon ever made.
And, you know, for us white guys they had the 10-inch mortars. Nothing to be ashamed of, fellas.
My friend Michael and I wanted to take a closer look inside the canons, but I was too scared, so Michael did it for us.
I'll be honest, I was pretty surprised at how awesome Fort Sumter was. Imagine this: back in 1861, they had an elevator lift for people in wheelchairs...
and even had those cool handicap-accessible doors that open when you push a button outside the men's room!
No wonder the South Carolinians didn't want the Union to get this place! It must have been like a futuristic city back in those days!
The only time anybody in the entire state of South Carolina has gotten upset with anyone in the last 50 years is when I took a picture of my own picture that someone else had taken and photoshopped of me outside of Fort Sumter. I apologize to whoever's livelihood depended on me buying this picture... but you know, I could have just photoshopped myself onto a picture of Fort Sumter myself for free.
By the way, Fort Sumter is named after General Thomas Sumter, who fought so viciously against British soldiers that they nicknamed him the "Carolina Gamecock" - which is also the mascot of South Carolina's sports teams.
OK, this blog post is getting long, so I'll try to wrap up the rest of our trip in a million words or less:
One night we went to a bar called the Roof Top. It was literally at the top of a building and had access to the roof - but we were too cold to go onto the actual roof top. This building has an elevator with only two buttons - to floors One and Four. Yes, I know, I took a lot of weird pictures.
The night of the rehearsal dinner, I was in charge of rounding up party-goers for the second bus going to the dinner. But since I didn't know most of the people who would be attending, Betty made me this sign, which I would thrust in front of anyone in a 30-foot vicinity and ask if they were going to the Zerwas / Ritchie Wedding. Most of them weren't, but I almost convinced a handful of strangers to come with us.
The rehearsal dinner was at a BBQ place, which was a ton of a fun. The food was good, the band was rockin', and the bride's sister sang all of the words to "Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls" by TLC, including the rap part. I did a dance in an afro but none of my friends saw me. But the most amazing part of the night, besides the fact that we were celebrating the joining of two of our friends' lives, was a poster of a guy named Luke Cunningham, who apparently has a solo album called Heart Pressure. He's probably really great, but we couldn't stop laughing at a picture of him leaning back on a lounge chair at a pool with a tie and vest on.
The night of the wedding I realized that I had forgotten my tie. I did not fly across the country to attend a wedding for a doctor and a pilot (with a bunch of other doctors and pilots present) without a tie, so I walked to the nearest tie-dispensing store and bought one. I've never bought a tie for myself before, and really never look at them in the store since I hate wearing ties and therefore had no idea what a tie costs, but was shocked when the "tie table" had ties ranging from $89 to $129.
Seriously, guys! What are we doing paying so much for something that we all hate wearing! Ties should not be that expensive!
Instead of buying one of those, I told the guy that I wanted the cheapest one he had, and he sold me a pinkish / purplish tie for $28. Which worked out well, because everyone thought it was an LSU tie.
So... did we have fun at the wedding? You take a look at this picture and tell me if we had fun at this wedding or not.
We caught a ride home from the airport with our friends Michael and Jen, and Michael's car had a flat tire. I took a picture of it, because, you know, it wouldn't be the worst thing that I'd taken a picture of this trip. (Did you click on the horse poop link? That's a picture of actual horse poop from our trip!)
We changed it in the manliest way possible, which was by fending off all offers of help from good Samaritans and instead doing it ourselves... which of course meant that we were putting our lives into our hands because I can barely hang a picture up on the wall much less change a tire. But we managed to get home safe and sound somehow.
Thank you, Charlestonians, for being so welcoming and friendly to us Louisianians! We'll gladly welcome you here anytime. And if you happen to go down to New Orleans and visit Bourbon Street, just be careful - some of those naked chicks in the street may actually be transvestite strippers!