Day 7: Savannah, GA is the land of sweeping vistas with gorgeous Southern drawls, Spanish moss, ghosts, old fortunes, cinematic flourishes, historic injustice, live oaks and poetry in people, nature and imagination. The fusion is difficult to tease apart and so a report on this city must therefore be a reflection of the real and surreal. If you’ve read or seen the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, then you understand what I’m talking about. Even a bland tour on a trolley can’t dissuade you from the truth because the city shines and tells you its own story even if the guide cannot. You hear the people speak as if they must drink mint juleps for lunch as they go in and out of houses that would have been long ago converted to multi-family dwellings in other cities. Why? Because they all compete in size with the White House in Washington, DC. The Georgian architecture easily prepares the imaginations of willing visitors for sweet summer Sears Sucker and sweeping skirted gatherings amidst cigar smoke and parlour banter. And in case you’re looking around and are unsure what’s real and what’s imagined- then pause, pinch yourself and watch- because come evening, the men do show up in the expected dress attire and they walk arm in arm with some of the loveliest women the South can muster…There is no economic depression in Savannah. The people look as if they’re carefree and the houses look supremely cared for.
And in case all this conjures up an expectation for a Singaporean-style government ruling with a rigid parasol to keep up appearances- prepare yourself for disappointment- at least in my cursory estimation. People happily jaywalk and dogs are allowed off leash in the many parks and public fountains. No wonder Robert Lewis Stevenson lived here and was inspired to write about beauty and pirates. The city is proud of its gruesome ghosts and takes care of its gardens with impeccable grace. Drunken, well dressed seniors slur and giggle over midday drinks…It’s all there- which is why you meet so many travellers who, it appears, just stopped off there and stayed. Some are writers or entrepreneurs, while others are retirees looking for beauty, sun, architecture, water and whatever is going on behind closed doors in these breathtaking houses!