Descending into Charleston, the view below was emerald. It rains a lot in South Carolina, and with the powerful sun trees grow quickly; the pine plantations below destined to become paper of all kinds. Linda, Robin, Dylan, and Carson picked me up in a rented minivan and we made fast for one of my favorite restaurants in the South, the Hominy Grill. When we turned off the freeway onto a local street, I smiled broadly, for here was an authentic landscape in that historic town. A young black man rode by on a bicycle, grocery bags hanging from the handlebars; leafy trees crowned the road, and flowering shrubs on the verges below; clapboard homes built 150 years earlier lined the streets on both sides; and deep potholes invited us to slow down.
In no time we were toasting our good fortune, me with a local pale ale. Tucked into a vegetable plate, shared dessert, and left the Hominy in a good spot. Drove to Kiawah at dusk, unpacked, and slept hard. Rose before dawn and hopped on a rented bike; they’re clunkers, but after four previous vacations on the island I knew them well, and was happy to be on a two-wheeler after days on foot in Argentina.
Riding east toward the end of the island, I got thinking about new places and familiar ones. Although I like to discover the former – like Jakarta several weeks earlier, what a cool experience – returning to well-trod paths is also good. I thought about childhood vacations, when for almost a decade we returned to the same rustic resort in northern Minnesota. The ladies all like Kiawah, and I do, too.
The days fell into a rhythm: biking 15 or more miles before breakfast, out to admire the green and especially the remarkable fauna, principally water birds and a lot of alligators (at a distance). We alternated between a fun, kid-oriented swimming pool and the lovely wide beach, the latter walking distance from our villa. Nap after lunch, a beer on the porch with a good book, out to dinner, and more reading before bed. The days passed quickly. It was fun to be with Carson and Dylan, who love the place.
We flew home on Sunday, August 17, and it was good to be home after 12 days.