Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Azamara Quest: Parks, Pralines and Fluffy Mud

One of the nice things about traveling with a dog is that you get to visit places you might never have seen, otherwise.  Especially parks.  The first thing I do when I arrive in a new city is find the nearest park.  Twice a day, we walk; so since we’ve got to do this in any case, I figure we might as well do it in someplace that’s pretty.
The Waterfront Park in Charleston is gorgeous, lush and green even in December. All of downtown Charleston is festooned in wreaths and ribbons for Christmas, which just adds to the feeling of festivity. The park is only a few steps from where the cruise ships dock. You enter through little, wrought-iron gates and walk along tree-lined paths. Judging from Xingxing’s numerous stops, this park is frequented by lots and lots of dogs -- and now they all know Xingxing was here! 
There are two fountains and apparently, people wade in them during the summer months. We didn’t spot any waders, but both fountains are very pretty.  One is shaped like a pineapple, which is meant to be a welcoming symbol.
And of course there are “poop bag” dispensers, some of which are dedicated to certain dogs. The one in the photo (in case you can’t read the writing) is dedicated to Holly and Samantha. I’m assuming that you put up the money for the dispenser, and then dedicate it to your dog, complete with photos.  What a great idea!
Today’s highlight was shopping in the old Market -- I had to buy those stone-ground grits, didn’t I? Charleston has other specialities, including intricately woven sweetgrass baskets done by the descendants of the West African slaves who worked the fields way back when. They’re quite beautiful, but the prices reflect the many hours that go into the weaving. And I don’t really need another basket.
Xingxing seemed determined to go towards the right, so I followed his nose and we left the market and came back out onto the street, finally coming to a halt in front of someone who was handing out free samples of freshly-made praline candy. But this candy was different. It was a sort of combination of praline and creamy, pecan fudge, and it literally melted in my mouth.
The Strickland family has been making and selling this wonderful stuff for 40 years. However, they’re not from Charleston. They’re from Savannah, Georgia.  But who cares? It’s all part of the south, isn’t it?  The business is called River Street Sweets, and the pralines -- which also come in chocolate -- are deservedly world famous.
Walking back down the long pier to the ship, I smelled something like sulpher.  Maybe, I thought, it’s my imagination.  It wasn’t. It was what the folks hereabouts call “fluffy mud” -- when the tide goes out, the reeds and the fluffy mud (which smells like sulphur) are exposed.  According to one of our guides, kids like to play in it. There’s nothing wrong with it, I was assured.  It’s not polluted.  It’s just fluffy mud.
Interesting place, Charleston.


1 comment:

  1. Charleston (in the great state of South Carolina) looks like a fabulous place. Xingxing must be having a wonderful time there.