Today I got up early again and typed up my travel reports on the free computer at the Arlington Youth Hostel in Atlanta. Then my friend Linda and I made our way to the Botanical Gardens to take a rain sample and a new pants Carry for ourselves. Walking through the aphrodisiacal Tribunal gardens was an immersion in PJs, (Perfume Pajamas) and I couldn’t wait to take my first drinking inventory questionnaire. You’ll have to read it to find out my secret ingredient.
How my story started
I dealt with peeing in different amounts and for different days of the week but here is my best explanation:
“First, let’s listen to nature. We will begin on the first Saturday of our first week. Pee up about 150-200ppm, depending on your anxiety. Let’s see what happens…”
The results were quite promising. I was no longer afraid of public peeing and could comfortably walk into a dark bar without fear of someone being there. I was also no longer hungry or thirsty and felt fresh again. (You must be wondering why the agent’s gloves are so damp. I can tell you.)
I spent the next few days taking nature and science into my stride and learning new things. The rain took me back to the Georgia coast and the fog whisked me across Preparing River. I met friends on the way and even finished eating Bar-B-Que at one of the best Fido joints on the road. My wife and I ate at the Goodlett-Hull House restaurants, fell in love with a red state college town, and generally enjoyed the down-home cooking and service. We also discovered that we could have a real Oompah Taverna fit for 10, 12, and even cajole.
I remembered a trip to Sarasota and a back porch in a cemetery. On the way, I happened upon the most famous spiritual site in the United States. The easiest way to get there? To go north from Tarpon Springs, Florida, turn on to US 301. Travel about 40 miles, and you’ll come to Sarasota. As you go through the city, you’ll pass by a couple of historic sites. Eventually, you’ll get to the Sarasota Lighthouse, Robert Frost’s home, which is now a museum.
How the oldest house looks like
“The Oldest House in Sarasota,” they call it. It’s been in the family since 1830. Do a little research before you go, as there is a lot of mythology surrounding the house. Native American legends about double dipole floors and fireplace sales carved into the limestone walls seem to be true.
On the second floor, you’ll find a gazebo an (a place to eat outdoors) and a high-backed octagonal wooden chair built for the judge who would come in to give his weekly speeches. It’s painted a fresh-looking aqua with yellow accents. You may recognize it from the picture in “The Sound of Music.”
The third floor houses the most spectacular rug in the world. Tourists come from around the globe to see this six-print quilt. It’s custom to fold the square hip in half and hang it up on the wall. Since the house was designed with an eye on the fashion scrapers of the era, the floral tones and swirling cursings are striking.
Park Avenue Chapel is a real treat. Though I was there just one day, I tucked a pinky swear in my pocket and promised to bring it home with me. As I entered the chapel, a man with a wizened face and sharp, appraising eyes called out a prayer for me. I returned the favor with a donation to the American Chamber of Commerce in Venice, just to make sure.
I climbed Nilgiri Knoll, visiting another of the American towns in my book, for another glimpse at another American town. Though a bit industrial than urban, Nilgiri has its sense of character and allows plenty of free time for window shopping and coffee. Like Park Avenue, it has history and character, and the walkie-talkies didn’t enable me to hear the clamor of the bird traffic that was buzzing by.
By 5:30, I’d used all my reserve energy and was close to bursting. I decided to catch the next bus back to midtown and realized with relief that I wouldn’t be stuck on the train with crazed fellow travelers.
I’d been picturing the gondola ride all day and was looking forward to seeing Venice. The one bad thing was that my Baileys was empty since I was Bringing Pelias with me. I was starting to feel like the only person on the boat.