Get to Williamsburg late and weary. Redrik wolfs a hot-dog near a picture of the world’s tallest man. Go out for some beers in the only lively bar in town, college atmosphere. William&Mary’s crowd. We feel old…er.
Drive out to Jamestown, National Park. Another night in the car.
Awake in Jamestown, Williamsburg. There’s a group of presumably military friends gathered in the early hours, about to jog a few hundred miles.
Walk to the settlement. I’m tired but the area is refreshing. Cars sparse. Redrik picks me up a bit later. Sneak behind the historical reconstruction site, for an uninteresting picture of a colonial era boat replica.
We work in the local coffee house, post the intro video to part 2 and launch the Kickstarter campaign. Still haven’t eaten by the afternoon, so we go next door to the hot dog place. The same girl as the previous day is there. We catch her for an interview (and she informs us about the pillars of wicca we heard from another interviewee).
Drive out to North Carolina and, somewhat by chance, stumble in the direction of the Research Triangle, and onto the Duke campus. Beautiful. Somewhat lavish too? We’re about to hear a lot more, and from very different perspectives, about education in the next days. Redrik and I talk to some students, bright, idealistic, enthusiastic. We can’t help but also wonder about the current state of secondary education – its value, compared to its price. Its valuation. The cost of paper.
Sleep in a cheap motel – the second once since we have left, it feels like a long time ago already. The sheets do not look washed. There are stains, some hair (hopefully human). What looks like crumbled plaster in the bathtub. No soap. A towel rack slumped crookedly, secured to the wall only by one bolt.
We’re near a highway, a typical fast-food and gas station burbia. I walk to get some food from the nearby supermarket, still sticking to the vow from my previous trip.
We both crash like bricks to ocean floors.
Awake at 6 again – have been unable to get a full night’s sleep, jacked up on enthusiasm, passion and ambition. Work.
Drive to Franklin street, near the UNC campus. Walk up and down, talk to some people, interviews, expedient approach. Sip a lemonade, and we’re off.
Spring-ful weather. 6am, downpour. Clearing up by 8. Sunny side up by noon.
Ongoing feud about GPS efficiency – though anything but a luddite, I’m highly in favor of the good ol’ Atlas map which took me through the US last time around – save for the few times in cities where we might need some precise directions.
Stormed out again in the evening as we reach Myrtle Beach. Redrik’s first drive in heavy rain! The kind where you’re guessing the backlights of the car that’s less than 30 feet ahead.
We’re supposed to visit one of Redrik’s friends – whose due date is just about today. Talk about timing… Due to our inexistent research, we’re surprised to land in an Amusement Park city. Go to a bar on the beach, I have some fried fish – no Internet connection here: I will be unable to properly complete my work week for my job, a disappointment and headache. The multi-tasking is getting hard to juggle.
We meet pregnant B., whose due date has been set back for a few.
Will have to write more regularly, thoughts are fleeting, memory slippery like fish slithering in a fisherman’s hands (and with the slipping memory so do thoughts and metaphors whither trite).
An April fool’s? A year ago, it felt like it: Fanta was at the shop and about to give me further trouble, as I had just bought it.
I receive this text on my phone (changed the first name):
Augustus, my husband will be away for 2 weeks, want to meet? I’ll be in NY next week. Text or message me on this *name of site* – it is my new account and it is safe.
Spam, ad? Joke?
Few minutes later: “sorry *my number* I mistyped your number, that message was not for you. Sorry again!”
In a bad movie, this would surely lead to some ensuing blackmail…
Leave Myrtle Beach, no regrets. Finally get a sleeping bag and some groceries (Walmart, where else?). Stop by at the Isle of Palms, near Charleston. Nice to hang out on the beach for a bit – drive in to Charleston with the roof down. The city has a new Orleans feel, French and Spanish origins recognizable.
Work at a wine bar – a somewhat upscale place but the playlist is looped on hip-hop and reggae. Back to Isle of Palms, for the night. The previously shuffling streets empty now. At some point, a cop car pulls to the other side of the road, shines a curious light beam – they leave us alone.
Awake a bit before sunrise and walk out to the beach: I am met with a daily occurrence, which didn’t make this particular one any less unique. Through the wooden scaffolds of the pier, past the gleaming morning sands, the froth of waves awashed on shore, then retreated, and across the oceans calm, a crest sporadic for only shower of its aquatic life, the scarlet dome of the honey aster awakes and awakens on the horizon.
With near perfect stillness, near perfect roundness, it ascends and bathes beach, shores and onlookers in unfettered awe.
Meet Shawn, friendly, who’s recently lost a family member. “Live it like it’s your last day.”
Later, breakfast with an unfriendly waitress at a green terrace overlooking the beach.
Leave for Allendale, South Carolina.
Up next: “A long-term plan for hope.” Invited to Allendale, one of the harder-hit counties of SC (and in the US) by Joey, a former chemist, then pastor and now involved in church community work, attempting with others to send a message of hope and rebuild ties within a community hard-struck. They’re organizing a soccer camp as well as learning workshops at the middle school during children’s spring break.