Photograph credit BGE
Author's note: I wrote this piece one morning after my first couple of days in Savannah, but chose not to post it until after our Slowtrav gathering...I didn't want to scare any of my Slowtrav pals by sharing this with them, before they arrived in Savannah...
This word describes what Savannah, Georgia is to me.
The fragrant of the wisteria, the colours of the azaleas at this time of year, the sights and sounds of the life in Forsythe Park as I walk through this morning.
It is delicious, completely.
I'm not saying it is a perfect city, by any means.
That was evidenced late last night by the sounds of gunshots ricocheting around outside of my apartment.
Two shots were fired.
It woke me out of a sound sleep...
Maybe it's my imagination, I think, and the guy upstairs really did drop something...maybe.
Just about the time I was falling asleep again, two more shots.
They were so close that I felt the percussion and heard the sound echoing ringingly after each shot.
Now, I'm awake and I know that I'm not imagining this.
That is the first thought I had earlier.
That I'm imagining this.
Maybe I am mistaken.
I mean, I'm not an expert in gunshot sound.
I've just been on Bull Street, photographing the Mercer Williams House, famous for a couple of gunshots that rang out in the dark of night, ending the life of Danny Hansford.
Maybe I'm still in that neighbourhood in my mind, imagining the sound of those shots.
This now seems pretty real to me.
I drop to the floor beside my bed, lie down flat with my pillow under my head and my huge duvet wrapped around me tightly, as if that will protect me.
The police and ambulance sirens follow, and then...all is quiet.
I am now afraid, seriously so.
It takes me about 30 minutes to talk myself into getting up from the floor and back into my bed.
Going back to sleep, I timidly reassure myself that the locked outer courtyard, the locked inner front door, the bars on the windows and an ADT alarm system will be enough to keep me safe the rest of this night.
At least, that's what I tell my frightened little self, as I plunge deep underneath the duvet and blankets.
Soon, it is morning, I am safe and I am still alive.
Outside in my street, there is no sign of last night's drama.
Possibly, it was a street over or up from here, but it sounded like it was right on my doorstep.
So, you may want to ask me if this is what makes Savannah delicious to me.
Yes, that is exactly what it is.
Besides the delicate and ethereally beautiful azaleas blooming, besides the charm and the exquisite details of the architecture, there is an underbelly to this city that scares the be-jeepers out of me.
Deliciously dangerous and deliciously lovely.
Both sides of the coin.
That's what enticed me in the movie and book, 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.' The author, John Berendt, very convincingly portrayed the smooth-as-silk upper layer of Savannah's society in all of the silk shantung suits and delicately-veiled hats, while showing us that underneath that luscious exterior, there is another side to this city of delights. A side that is dark and mysterious, a side that has an edge to it that belies the veneer of southern grace and charm.
Maybe I heard a little of that edge last night.
"Despite the rococo fame Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil brought to this southern gem, Savannah's sexy side remains elusive to casual visitors. Beneath those airs of antebellum gentility, the city is a kitschy party central, but where to find the fun?
Good-time junketeers who want a taste of both sides of the town's split personality should check into the classy Gastonian hotel, and head immediately to Vinnie Van Go Go's, the pizza joint cum social hub of the City Market district.
From there, locals migrate to the live music at Velvet Elvis or Jim Collins, where the beer is cheap enough to keep you out all night.
Jump-start the next morning at Gallery Espresso before walking through every leafy square from River Street to Forsythe Park. Even without a hangover, your eyes will ache to see such beautiful architecture and gardens.
As for day two? Rinse, then repeat." ~ Ann Marie Gardiner