New York

DSCN0128It’s hard to describe my feelings of New York City. The first thing it has against it is it’s a big city; and I really dislike all big cities. Let’s face it, all large metropolises are overflowing with people, traffic, smells, dirt, filth, excess, greed, capitalism, advertising, and human pollution. New York City is no exception to this big city profile.

DSCN0133But NYC seems to have more of its fair share of what I refer to as a: Vegas feel. By Vegas feel I mean a kitsch, glossy, plastic, disingenuous, bright-lighted, vulgarity that acts as a thin veneer coating its big-city-ness. Surely NYC is all of these things and at the same time it is hypnotic, magnetic, and irresistible to most humans. The draw of NYC has on humans is like a moth’s unending attraction to a flame. It can’t resist coming closer and closer until eventually it is consumed by the very illumination that drew it to its demise. New York is our human flame.

Of course there is Central Park, a tiny island of nature surrounded on all sides by 00098.MTS.Still001humanities’ worst excesses. The park is a small respite from the big-city-ness of NYC, but it’s really not enough to get the bad taste out of your mouth.

So if I dislike the place so much why in the name of Darwin am I here? Good question and the answer is the: People’s Climate March. This was a pivotal event in human history and Julia and I both felt it important to be physically part of it. We marched in protest of our government’s lack of interest in creating policies that would force all of us to break our insatiable, addictive, and destructive want of fossil fuels. With us, as we strolled 00131.MTS.Still001through the heart of a city that is synonymous with the incorrect capitalistic philosophy that all resources on the Earth are endless and must be exploited and sold for a profit, were 400,000 others with a generally similar interest to our own. It was a mighty expression of some people’s desire for humanity to stop polluting and destroying our shared home: the Earth.

00143.MTS.Still001But alas, my belief is that the march will change nothing. The reason for my pessimism is mostly mathematical. Only one percent of the country’s total population attended the march. I’m sure there are a few more percent that did not attend the march and are like-minded. But, one or two percent of the entire population of the U.S. is not going to change our direction. I am afraid we’ll continue our addiction and ultimately destroy our civilizations. The good news is that it is typical human avarice for us to think such puny and insignificant creatures like ourselves will have any truly long lasting effect on this wonderful and precious planet. It’s been here for four billion years and I’m confident it’ll still be around for another four billion, long after the human race has passed into nothingness.

Savannah

DSCN0088When the first European explorers began to move up river, leaving the Atlantic Ocean and their perilous journey from the old country behind them, they saw what looked to them like a vast savanna. The vast savanna turned out to be a massive wet lands, but the name stuck and so the Savannah River and the settlement of Savannah were born. Whether the naming was a spelling mistake or just an embellishment to add distinction Savannah did not turn out to be a mistake. DSCN0089Since its beginning it’s been a busy seaport and even today it’s the good old US of A’s third largest port next to New York and Los Angeles. This long history of import export has shaped the city and added layers of complexity and richness to this most lovely Hostess City of the South.

One of Savannah’s many attributes is its architecture and the design of the city itself. Incorporated into this design from the beginning were many parks, which are still here to this very day. DSCN0098There are 23 small parks that act as a focal-point for residential and business neighborhoods. This is in addition to Forsyth Park a large and manicured common in this most green of American townships. Each of the many smaller parks are filled with their share of gigantic Live Oak trees all draped, as if by a phantom gardener, with light green Spanish moss. The upshot of this tree and moss arrangement is beauty, serenity, and peace; so unlike most modern US cities. DSCN0091The present city planners added to this unique feel by banishing, or at least restricting, the normal assortment of chain stores and other monopolistic retailers. You’ll find a few big-guys in town, but mostly you’ll experience many small privately owned businesses; capitalism at its best.

DSCN0094Of course Julia and I could not resist walking to every park in this eminently walkable town, and the benefit of our wanderings was to experience close-up the old and unique architecture along with the scenic pleasures of this exceptional city. Along the way we also enjoyed visiting several of Savannah’s many colorful museums. And what visit, to this old port town, would be complete if you didn’t walk the River Walk filled to overflowing with tourist shops and packaged tours.

DSCN0092Food is the other distinctive characteristic of Savannah. Unlike Orlando, which is the epitome of everything bad about US food, Savannah is everything good about American food. Every restaurant we went to was small, privately owned, and many were highlighting locally grown produce. This makes Savannah’s eating experience far superior to many other US cities. And Savannah’s southern roots adds another interesting twist to eating here.

DSCN0102There are no perfect travel destinations and Savannah is no exception. Although its travel pluses far outweigh its minuses Savannah is very hot and very humid. And where this kind of weather is king live mosquitos, hundreds, and hundreds of blood thirsty, filthy dirty, mosquitos.

As Julia and I sit scratching and nursing our welted arms and legs we cannot forget the great time we had in Savannah Georgia and await longingly for our chance to visit again.