Charles Town

We stayed at a KOA (I know) in Charleston. It was okayish. And full. Everyone was enjoying the relatively good weather, we're told. Anyway, it was late when we arrived and we were just happy to have found the last place on the campsite!

The next morning we made a classic noob error. I asked the KOA fella at the office whether we could get the bus Downtown. He said yes, and gave me directions to the WalMart where we would find the bus-stop. I asked if we could walk there. This is the mistake! Something that we should have known by now - generally speaking (unless as previously mentioned, they are destitute or drunk - and in the latter case only after their vehicle is disabled by a tree) do Americans walk anywhere. 'Of course you can walk there' should have been qualified by 'But why would you want to? We have cars!', or 'But I don't really know how far it is to walk because I have never walked more than a few steps in my entire life'. As it was we accepted his answer on face value, and walked.

Eventually we reached the bus-stop, vowing to get a taxi back that evening. So, with much relief, we got on the bus, and it was a nice quiet trip into town? Not quite. Then the real fun started. The bus driver was absolutely wonderful; she was obviously training herself to become a tour guide, because she explained everything. Where to get off, where to eat, what not to miss. She even told another passenger who was complaining that we hadn't left yet that they should be quiet; 'we have visitors'. Ahhh! Came the collective buzz. 'Welcome to Charleston'.

The driver, Debbie, needn't have bothered to finish her explanation before driving though -- and in truth she didn't. As soon as we were under way she was off again, explaining, introducing us to the other passengers - mostly regulars - and giving us a genealogist's description of her Irish, Scottish, Italian heritage. All done with archetypal Italian gesticulation -yes, with both hands. We only bounced off the curb once. "Sorry!" She called out down the bus, then continued in precisely the same fashion.

One of the regulars was also hilarious. Her name was Linda; to be honest I couldn't even understand everything that she said, spoken as it was in a Carolina accent within the local dialect. She had everybody on the bus laughing as she harangued the driver, the


, her neighbour, even us (telling us we better not sit in her seat next time). She was lovely, and highly entertaining.

Finally, and I mean eventually, we arrived Downtown Charleston. A cute, old, charming town. Most of what we did there couldn't really hold a candle to the ride in… we went to the museum (not bad); we were at least inspired to look for alligators;

Sorry, that's not it, this is an Alamagooordo

Ah, yes

We wandered around the Old Market (where the slaves were once sold), and had coffee(s);

And generally took in the architecture and ambience;

Source of my inspiration for 'Apothecary's Tale'?

Staying true to our earlier vow, we got a taxi home. We were tired, and we still hadn't seen any (live) alligators.