Showing posts with label tourism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tourism. Show all posts

17 January, 2020

from Louisville: Another city on the make


There's a coffee shop walking distance from the shelter. These days I haunt coffee shops like I used to haunt bars. I went to Freddie's on Broadway because it was a cheap, cash only dive bar that asked no questions and only required people not to offend the general atmosphere. That place was also a wonderful archive of all things masculine from the 20th Century: hand drawn wrestling posters, beer steins, collector booze bottles from the 1970's, I hung out at Rubbie's because it's a neighborhood bar close to home, the happy hour prices are good, and the well bourbon was tolerably good. That bar was also a good bell weather for the last Presidential election.

Angry white men
trying to hold back
a changing world
like they grip their beer

Now I rotate between a handful of coffee shops in the city. When I'm scribing for pay or working on my own words, I go to noisy coffee shops, like the one close to where I live, or the one close to the shelter. When I'm meeting people, I go to one of two Heine Bros. On Bardstown Road because the white noise doesn't distract my ears from conversation. When I want to hang out and read, or talk to people who have also either stepped off or were pushed off the wide path , I go to Highland Coffee. They each have a thing I like better there than any other coffee shop. Heine Bros serves a turmeric chai with black pepper I really like. Highland has a nice selection of herbal teas and makes a cup of coffee. Sunergos, in my neighborhood, has the best cappuccino in the city and serves delicious cheddar chive drop biscuits that make for a good lunch.

Pockets of warmth
in an increasingly chilly cityscape
regardless of the season
regardless of the temperature.

Please & Thank You on Market and Shelby is a short walk from the shelter. They have wonderful herbal teas and the best blueberry lemon muffins in the city. I go there to scribe or to work, and to eat a muffin after I finish my short shift in the shelter coffee room. Lately I've run into K, a woman I met when I volunteered with one of the local homeless outreach organizations. She's usually sitting out front, a few steps off to the side away from the corner. When I can afford to, I get her a cup of coffee. Sometimes she's flying a sign. Sometimes she's waiting for her boyfriend J, who is always either off trying to find work, off trying to do some good deed that will, when he tells the story, never be repaid in kind. J has a demon in his gut like I do. When I see her I ask whether J has been drinking, so I know whether I'll see him or the demon. They are always in a state of emergency... being moved on, lost a tent, stuff stolen, scrambling to avoid snow, rain, cold, heat. Their home camp in Butchertown was bulldozed a few years ago to make room for a soccer stadium. The investors through money at the city to house the residents of Camp Campbell quickly for the good PR boost. Nearly all the former residents of Camp Campbell are no longer housed now. But there aren't any news cameras around to notice.

Erasure – delete a line
delete a camp
delete a person
a collateral damage
for the marketing collateral

Part 1 posted on Instagram. Check it out!

10 April, 2012

A Traveler's Tourist Plight: Virginia Beach, Day 2

I've got a bike 
You can ride it if you like 
It's got a basket 
A bell that rings 
And things to make it look good 
I'd give it to you if I could 
But I borrowed it 
                               -Pink Floyd

Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry 
When I take you out in the surrey,
When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top!

                             - Rodgers and Hammerstein 

The day ended on the early side with a wonderful meal and an awesome cocktail -- the one I was denied last night. 

In order to get there, however, one of the things I did first was to ride up and down the boardwalk in a surrey.

Unlike the surrey in the song lyrics above, (from a horrible musical by the bane of my past theater existence, Rodgers and Hammerstein... don't get me started, but my ire is rooted in an extreme over-exposure to The Sound of Music. Those bastards could kill happiness. I think they probably did... with saccharine sweetness, too.) THIS surrey was not pulled by horses, white or any other color.  It was essentially a four-seated bicycle.

Theoretically, each passenger pedals. The two riders in front steer, and -- because it's an American surrey -- the left-side steering wheel has the brake. 

Now, I suppose it seemed like a good idea at the time. At least, that was what my dear sweet Ma said on Monday evening when we were walking back from dinner at the curse-ed seafood buffet where the carnival float drink from yesterday's post came from. She saw some other tourists pedal by on the boardwalk... and that was that. She even found a coupon that would give us the SECOND HOUR FREE if we payed for the first hour.

On a break: My Dear Sweet Ma and the Demon Contraption

I was able to drop to sleep last night around 1:30 or 2, and I woke up this morning about 8:30. By the time I futzed around with the coffee pot, took a shower, and got dressed, Mom and Stella were well past ready for breakfast.

We wandered off the boardwalk for breakfast, and when we got back, decided to go a-riding to work off the meal we'd just eaten. Several of the hotels rent bicycles and surreys. Ours isn't one of them. But we found one close, walked down, rented the contraption -- for only an hour, which we would later be grateful for. 

The boardwalk is wide and flat and covers a lot of territory. The problem was, according to the signage... and the signage was prominent -- we weren't supposed to take the hobby horse onto the boardwalk. We were, instead, restricted to the bike path that runs parallel to the boardwalk. And unlike the boardwalk, the bike path is NOT wide and flat. It is windy and narrow, with slight curves and even slighter hills that you don't really notice until you're one of three people pedaling a four person surrey.

You also don't notice that just because it's just like riding a bike that riding a bike requires a certain level of physical fitness. The kid, who participates in some competitive cheer-leading thing, and who actually still has leg muscles, decided to wear a skirt... which limited her movement. Mom is a retired school teacher with an occasionally hinky lower back, but to her credit won't let it slow her down too much.

And then there's me. The out of shape pudgy Irish-German Mug. But I'm still smiling through my pain.

Neptune, God of the Sea. And  a turtle.

No, really. I am.

Actually, it wasn't painful, and against my best inclinations, I had fun.

This trip back out to visit Stella is a great end to a nice break before I go back out on the road.  The meal I ate tonight is one I'll be able to think about for the next few months... especially during those times when a solid meal may be itself a distant dream. 

While I'm not entirely comfortable with being a tourist -- because that's more or less what I am at the moment -- I would be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying the respite. The ocean sound is soothing, even with the sounds of the kids on Spring break discovering the wonder of words like areola.

That's right. Walking up and down the beach chanting "Areola!" like a protest of mass virgins.

And where are the parents?  Probably touring around on surreys.