Today we didn’t really do much except see the Mississippi river and eat these weird food things at the mall that taste like a potato cake covered in sugar in flour. We spent the majority of the day on a flight to Charlotte, which took around 3 ½ hours. Time passed quickly since I was playing Plants vs Zombies the whole time and I also got through all the levels on it today. After that we only had half an hour to run across the entire airport to be able to catch it. When we got there they told us it was delayed for 3 ½ hours and that it had moved gates. The current time then was 7:00 pm so we had to wait until 10:30 pm. In the meantime we ate some Burger King. Not much besides that happened except that the airport we arrived at looked like a subway station or a little town which was pretty cool. The airport itself was in Savannah. We went to the hotel and they didn’t have the right room for us because they didn’t get the right booking. By that stage it was 1:30 am. Then they had to give us 2 separate rooms. I knew we only had a quick sleep until we would have to go.
Today we had to get up so early this morning, around 5:00 am just so we can beat the traffic. So we drove from Savannah to the hotel [in North Charleston] in the car we rented. But the Navigator was in French so my French came in handy. Dad went and got the person he rented it from to change it to English. It was Dads first time driving in America, what an experience it was! He almost crashed once. When we got the hotel we checked in to have a look at our rooms and Dad wouldn’t even let us bring our bags in because he said it was worse than a flea bitten kennel. We even found out that it was just one step above homelessness, also there drug deals and prostitution happen there, I think we now know why police were patrolling the area . They were even charging $700 US a night for it [for the rooms before you add the ‘extra entertainment’] . Dad knew that it was dodgy when there were police patrolling the car park. Dad even said he would rather sleep in the car, while Mum just told him to toughen up and that it’s and adventure. So we drove into town and had a look around town. While we were in town we saw a news crew interviewing people about the eclipse and we told them we were from Australia. They even said we could be on the national American TV. But my family thought I would act silly so they said no, even though it is my dream to be on national TV. The town where we were in was half the size of Geelong and they were expecting over 2 million people because of the solar eclipse. So he told us to get ready to sleep in the car. Although since he hated the hotel so much he tried to ring every single place that he could. Somehow we got a room at the Hilton, Dad was so relieved. My Dad also annoyed this person in the gas station because he couldn’t figure out what type of fuel the car needed. Turns out the person my Dad annoyed worked for NASA and they told us about it, it sounded pretty cool. They are also a graphic artist and a photographer. They are also working on a comic strip for The Big Bang Theory. Which is also pretty cool.
Today was the day we were going to see the solar eclipse. I was so excited for it I just couldn’t wait. The place we saw it at Boone Hill. Boone Hill was a place that had history surrounding it about slavery. Some of the details I won’t say, because I think that they are too gruesome and cruel to hear. Boone Hill even without slavery has so much history surrounding it. It first belonged to John Boone with it passing through the generations and even with one person, I was told, who retired at 39 and owned the property for 3 years before selling it because they were broke [oh well I guess retirement must be very expensive so I better start saving up]. It was very fascinating to see how the slaves lived their lives compared to the lives of their masters/owners. We also got to see TVs inside the slaves houses, which showed interesting things, some were very interesting, while others were just outright terrible. There was a African-American lady which, when she was on the stage [which was outside but luckily had a roof over it] told us so much about African culture, my personal favorite were the handwoven seagrass baskets because they are so beautiful and detailed – a tradition they brought from Africa. She also showed us how someone in a slavery household could offend their master and/or warn others of their nature by talking really quickly and in code. Such as if they were a thief they could say they were short on patience with their hands, meaning they were quick to take what was not theirs. They also created a way of them to tell each other if and where they were going to escape, it would be if they were singing the same song all day and in code. “Sing low sweet chariot…” A train was coming tonight if you wanted to escape. Most of the slaves after the civil rights movement actually continued to stay at Boone Hill but this time they were payed to do their jobs. Also there was a spot were we recreated the scene ‘Run Forrest run!’ from the movie Forrest Gump.
Can’t forget the the solar eclipse today which was just breath taking at the plantation. First we had some goggles which, if you wore them made only let you see really bright lights [such as the sun]. First we looked at it with the cardboard shades which we oddly enough named Eclipse Shades. When we were ordering some water the lady there didn’t understand my Mum’ accent, so we were all saying ‘Water’ to her. When the lady finally got it she said more like ‘Wahtar’. We spent a while in this wagon with a red cover over it waiting for the eclipse to start. The sun looked so amazing with the Moon starting to cross over it just slowly bit by bit. It was so cool to see the sun play a short game of hide and seek with the Moon. When the totality started the temperature cooled significantly and everything got a whole lot darker, with the normal bugs coming around evening which came about almost instantly in the eclipse. There was also a lightning storm going off quite close in the distance which lasted for around the duration of the eclipse give or take which really added to the dramatic affect. When the sun was completely gone it felt just like it would at night time, with all the nocturnal animals coming out to play. The solar eclipse lasted for around 90 seconds, which was a very cool 90 seconds. According to the internet the next one should be around 2024 which I don’t think is a very long wait especially taking into consideration just how amazing it is.
We spent today doing a walking tour of Charleston for 2 hours and I learnt so much from the tour guide. Such as the half moon crest of Charleston actually represents how a cannonball hit a palm tree sent some wood into someone’s stomach and some other wood tearing off the [very important] persons pants and underpants. So almost everyone saw their, well, BUTT! Me and my brother used this weird thing called a joggling board, the way it works is it kind of feels like your on a horse swinging side to side, which is very fun to do. I also learnt that Abraham Lincoln’s oldest son once fell off a train platform and was rescued by the brother of John Wilks Boothe. In case you didn’t know John Wilks Boothe was the guy who killed Abraham Lincoln. After we finished the tour we walked 2 kilometers to a place called Caviar & Bananas, which according to reviews my Mum read was very good. When the walk of Hell in 110 degrees faranheit had finally finished and we were in the restaurant. And you wouldn’t believe it my Mum said it was only a ‘short distance away’ for the entire time. My Mum and my brother decided that they didn’t like Caviar & Bananas. So then we had to walk all they way back. On the way there we went through a small shopping center as an escape to the unbearable heat, we found a Caviar & Bananas pretty much next to where we had started the 2 kilometer walk. Then after that my brother and I shared a large sandwich then went into the car. After that we spent the 3 hours of the day driving to another hotel somewhere in Savannah. When we got there my Dad actually thought it was an old warehouse with a carpark next to it. Turns out the reason it looked an old warehouse was because it was an old Coca-Cola factory, and the carpark next to it was for the employees. The hotels name is The Kimpton. When we went inside everyone looked so happy, mainly because it was just 10 minutes ago ‘Happy Hour’. Our room was very nice, it had 2 queen sized beds, a bathroom and a lounge room. And of course, the almighty, the all powerful TV!
We got the hop on and off pass for this thing called Old Savannah Tours. A really cool fact about it is that every few stops an actor hops onto the bus and impersonates one of Savannah’s famous characters. The tour was really good, although I would have preferred the tour guide from Charleston. Besides that there is not much to say about it. When we got off the bus, we went inside a gift shop where my Mum bought 1 or 2 spoons [it’s for her collection of spoons, one from every state/city]. Then we walked around and found a interesting candy store, where there is a 120 year old automatic candy making machine that makes around 5 pieces of candy a second. The type of candy it made was a type of green apple toffee, it tasted so gooey when I had a free sample. We walked around in the shop and found barrels filled to the brim with candy. There we even areas where you could grab as much as you want [but you still have to pay, it’s not free]. There were even giant gummy bears [probably not as big as the gummy bears you showed me on your cruise I think it was?]. I thought I might as well try something in one of the barrels called an ‘Atomic Fireball’ [don’t worry I payed]. When I tasted it, I really didn’t take into consideration the name of it. It was so hot that when I spat it out there were red stains on my hand, I thought it was blood, my blood. Turns out it was just the color of the candy, but it was hot enough to believe it. When we were trying to take a photo of us sitting on the Forrest Gump bench, we couldn’t find it so we had to do the best we could without one. Turns out the Forrest Gump bench was actually taken out and placed in a museum. Did you know that in Savannah these are some of the things that were banned, Alcohol, Catholics and Lawyers. Slavery was also banned until 1760? The reason Lawyers were banned was because they were said to make things complicated so if you had a problem with someone, you could have a duel with pistols. They even showed us where there used to be duels, they said it was right where the kids playground is. So I think that we are all glad they still don’t have duels. When we were walking to the Old Savannah Tours bus stop. There was a bus and since we didn’t want to wait 20 minutes for the next one we all ran at full speed to it. And you wouldn’t believe it the driver looked right at us and said ‘Catch the next one’ and left us. First of all there were 20 to 30 seats on that bus, with only 5 people actually on that bus. So as you can tell we had to spend 20 minutes waiting for the next bus. When we told the other bus driver who was station there to just turn on the air conditioning, they said to us that it shouldn’t have happened, well don’t we have a record of the impossible happening to us. It is almost like Murphy’s Law, Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. For dinner we went to a nice restaurant called Pirate House, where there are said to be ghosts haunting the place. The kids menu is really cool because you can turn it into a pirate hat and back anytime you want. The table mats even had details about the history of the place and about the ghosts as well.
Today we drove from Savannah to Atlanta, it took around 4 ½ hours to get to Atlanta, starting from around 10:30 am. The drive wasn’t really breathtaking. When we got to Atlanta, it looked really nice to me. I don’t know how to explain it, but it did look really good. Since one of the staff at the hotel told us it was too late to visit any of the museums, so instead we went to a place called Ponce City Market. The place was so huge, and on the top of the building it had this place called the Sky Park. The Sky Park was pretty much a carnival, except with beer, beer and more beer. So there weren’t much other kids there except for me and my brother. There weren’t that much games there so we left a short while after. But it had such an amazing view from atop the 3 story slide. We then decided to go downstairs and have a nice hamburger, they tasted pretty good. We spent a while at the CVS pharmacy, because my parents became friends with the security guard there. He also told us the safe and not so safe places there. He also asked us about Donald Trump and what we though of him. He also said that there are a few celebrities that come into the CVS pharmacy from time to time. After that we then had a Uber home.
When we got outside the hotel [The W, in case you’re wondering], there were so many people in tracksuits, active wear. Lots of wannabe rappers, singers and actors. We then caught and Uber to the Coca Cola museum. When we got there, a bus of school kids had literally just unloaded, so we quickly bought some tickets and went to the Civil Rights Museum. The way some people were treated was absolutely disgusting, most of it was so terrible that I’m not going to write about it. In the Civil Rights Museum there was a Lunch Café sit in, when you where in there you would have to put on these headphones and keep your hands on the desk for as long as possible. It was absolutely terrifying. At the end of the tour we got to have a look at other world issues. Such as safety at work and also respecting religion. What they also had at the end of the tour was past and present evil and corrupted world leaders. At the very, very end of the museum there was a room dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. It even had some of his original notes and books by him.
We then went to the Coca Cola museum. The museum was pretty cool, except for the 12 minute movie they showed. The reason the movie wasn’t good was because they were trying to find the secret formula of Coca Cola [it even said that in the title] and guess what the whole movie was just saying ‘Its not about the Coca Cola, its about who you share it with’. The rest of the museum just showed how highly the Coca Cola company thought of themselves. Such as ‘One of the owners of Coca Cola once sold the company in 1919 for $19 million, smart man!’. The entire literally just showed how highly they thought of themselves, there is no way around it. There was a small attraction where they said the ACTUAL RECIPE for Coca Cola was kept inside a safe, I think isn’t in there, because think about it, if this one piece of paper is what made such a fortune, then they wouldn’t really put it where people could easily break into the safe and steal it now. We then got to have a taste of their drinks from all over the world. I know what you’re thinking, and no there was no Australia I double checked every station at least 10 times. There was one drink there that really stood out to me and my Mum. It was called ‘Beverly’, it was in the Europe section, Italy to be exact. ‘Beverly’ tasted so terrible. We bought some hats and also a Coca Cola phone charger for Jon that looked exactly like a Coca Cola can. When we were leaving the was a Coca Cola stand, and we told them how badly the ‘Beverly’ tasted. They said to us that we all get one guess each at what was in the ‘Beverly’ and if we got it right we could get a free Coca Cola. You wouldn’t believe it my Mum guessed it right first try and guess what she said ‘Grapefruit’. The people at the stand were so shocked, they even asked if she was psychic. Even though they said we could have a free Coca Cola if we guessed it right, they didn’t let us have a free one.
We then went to the CNN headquarters [I know it seems like we did a lot of walking, but really they were all so close to each other]. Atlanta is also the world base and headquarters of CNN. One of the first things I saw when I went in there was a bench with Rick [from Rick and Morty] sitting on it. We went on a tour of CNN and the escalator we went up was the worlds largest freestanding escalator. I am not sure about this, but I think the tour guide said CNN was a former military base. Just saying we were not allowed to take photos of the tour except for the first two stops, so you know I am not to blame for not taking pictures. On the tour we got to see rooms where there were the people who edited the news. I believe the tour guide said that most stories would take around 6 to 8 hours, but if it was breaking news, they could get it up in around 5 minutes. Just as we were about to leave we saw a news reporter room, where you could go in there and pretend to be a anchorman. So I went and had a try. It was so much fun, and we even got to keep a USB with the video of me doing it. I don’t know why no one else wanted to do it, because it was quite a lot of fun.
When we were walking outside, one of the buskers playing the bongo drums let us play on them with him for a minute. He also said that the latest generation is always the most important one because the future lies within them. He also said that if you find something you love, keep at it because there is nothing more important than doing what you love.
At the end of the day we caught an Uber with a driver named Brian [who said he was going to be in the next Godzilla movie, he also said that he is very busy doing acting and has almost no spare time, yet he has time to do Uber]. Who drove us to a Pad Thai restaurant. Where I had fried ice cream for the first time, it was so amazing I just don’t know how to describe it.
This morning when we were leaving the hotel we tried to program the navigator. The thing with that is, it doesn’t like it if you just put a city in it. It needs an exact address so we ended up putting the address of a McDonalds in it. We went to Tallulah gorge lookout, Rabun County. Not much there, but Mum did say she could almost hear the sound of dueling banjos from the movie Deliverance. Also someone called Wallanda [a tight rope artist] crossed the gorge in 1970. We met some people Marylyn, Todd and their two kids-we had taken their photo in Savannah.
So we went back into the car and drove to the Cherokee museum, a lady said it was only ¼ mile, so we were thinking of walking there. Instead what we did is we drove there, and good thing too because it was actually 4 miles from where we were. When we went to the Cherokee museum we learnt about the American Indian mythology. If I wrote about it, I would probably fill up this page, so I won’t write about it, but it was really well done. We also got to see the history of the American Indians. Also according to American Indian mythology, there was said to be immortal guardians that protect the Cherokee area, an example of that was during the civil war, when there were so many soldiers that the enemy just avoided the area. But according to records there were only a few soldiers guarding the Cherokee area.
The park ranger at Tallulah falls said the only dangerous thing cuddles you before it kills you. We thought we would allow around a hour to have a look at the Tallulah falls forest. Before we left to go down the 968 stairs and come back 968 stairs, I saw a T-Shirt that said ‘I survived the stairs at Tallulah Falls’ little would I know the true meaning of that. There was also a person we saw who was so scared of going over the bridge [I went on it, it was pretty cool]. The view there was amazing. Since we had Pad Thai the night before Dad was feeling terrible, his shirt was so soaked it looked like he went to a waterpark. He was even feeling that sick that elderly people were actually giving up their seats so Dad could sit on it. There was even a 5 year old who offered to give Dad his bottle of water.
Then when we finished the walk I was more grateful for air conditioning than ever before. After that we drove to the Smoky Mountains, Clingmans Dome. The height of it was 6,000 feet above sea level. That is the height you do skydiving at. The view there was slightly foggy, but still amazing. The other mountains around us were covered in trees and other greenery. Luckily there was a toilet for my Dad to relieve himself. I think he also vomited, but hey when you’re feeling bad you need to do, what you need to do. Once we finished taking photos [and when Dad finished relieving himself] we set off driving to DollyWood. When we finally got to the DollyWood hotel we didn’t have much time left, so we checked into the hotel had hamburgers for dinner in the restaurant in the hotel, and went to bed.
So my Mum got up early this morning to go to the fitness center, while my brother, my Dad and I got ready for the day. We had pancakes for breakfast in bed from the café. When we were ready, we caught the trolley down to the DollyWood theme park. On our way there it stops at DollyWood Splash Country, when it stopped at Splash Country, no one got off and the driver was really shocked. When we got to DollyWood, everyone got off. DollyWood was kind of like Disneyland, except done in a wild west theme. The DollyWood theme park is actually said to be the worlds friendliest theme park [I think]. There were a few roller coasters, like the lightning rod and a few others [and a few shows as well]. But what I was really looking forward to DollyWood Splash Country. I didn’t get to go there today seeing as we spent the majority of the day at DollyWood seeing as we could spend tomorrow at DollyWood Splash Country. I also tried a cinnamon apple bun they told us to try. It was pretty good, I would probably recommend it. After that we went to the hotel pool for 1 or 2 hours. Around 5:pm we left the pool, went to the room and got ready for a dinner show called the Dixie Stampede. What the Dixie Stampede is, is a dinner [where they already give you everything, without you choosing your meal, they give everyone the same thing, at the same time], and also a horse show. Before you actually see the Dixie Stampede there is a preshow, show, where there is a banjo [the banjo player we saw was who actually worked with Dolly Patton], double bass and a guitar. The preshow goes for an hour, but you can get there whenever you want. In the Dixie Stampede [I’ll try not to spoil too much of it], they have horses, pony’s and water buffalo. During the Dixie Stampede they have a very brief and partial history of America. The way the seats were organized was in two main areas, they were nicknamed the North and the South. The reason for that is they organize some competitions, some of them were by the staff, and some of them were by the actual audience members. My favourite bit was when someone was walking to the restroom, Skeeter [one of the characters] made them come down to the stage to help with a magic trick anyway. Overall the show was really good, it had comedy, magic tricks, dinner and a horse show.