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Charleston, SC

As we waited for the train to arrive in Charleston, Jameson and I went to Hyman's Seafood Co. for dinner.
Before our meals arrived we got hush puppies and slaw, and boiled peanuts. Ever had those? This was my first time. They're wet and not crunchy, and a little vinegar-y. Not sure that I'm a fan! Jameson says some people eat the shells too.

The food was fantastic. I had some pieces of salmon cooked in several different ways, along with red rice and sweet potato. Nom nom! Jameson got some super tasty shrimp 'n grits in a parm cream sauce, and a delicious spicy Bloody Mary.

(photos courtesy foodspotting.com)

The next day we returned to the train which, as Oscar the clown put it, "looks like we landed in a painting".
(photo courtesy Oscar)

Although the yard was pretty, we soon discovered that there was no running water and the power had been out for hours. As we (the band) were told that power would be restored soon, we waited another hour. When it didn't happen, our boss suggested that we get a hotel as per our contract (I'm so grateful that this option is in our contract!!) We found a nice Holiday Inn near the arena. Jameson and I ate dinner at the restaurant downstairs, enjoying some local moonshine as a special treat :)

In the morning some of us returned to the train to unpack. Water and power had been restored, everything was fine. Opening night went smoothly. The arena is smaller than most of those we visit, but it was a good crowd :)
We had a lighter schedule here, with only one show on Thursday and one on Sunday too.

The weather on Thursday was pretty crummy; it rained all day and was quite cold. I promised myself that if I "got all my chores done", I would treat myself to a visit to the Charleston City Market on Friday ;D So I spent the down time cooking, setting up my battery backup (a great investment this year what with the generator being busted), and finishing my taxes. We touring folks get a lot of W-2s as you might imagine.

Chores complete! After the morning show on Friday, even though the weather was still miserable, I grabbed Gemma (new human cannon) and drove to the Market. Established in 1807, the market originally housed fish, meat and produce vendors. Now it's used to sell crafts and snacks to tourists. I was kind of disappointed...somehow I had thought it would be more like a farmer's market. But still, it was fun to walk through and look at the goods. Crafts on sale included sweetgrass baskets woven by local artists and benne wafers, a sesame cracker or cookie and a local specialty. Gemma and I also explored some of the shops surrounding the market, including a spice and tea shop and the obligatory chocolate shop :)

Gemma treated me to a chocolate covered strawberry, and we just kinda walked and talked for an hour or so. It was nice to spend some time away from the circus, and getting to know a new friend :)

Before leaving the market I picked up dinner, a grilled shrimp po' boy with marinated arugula, pickled green tomatoes and cracked pepper mayo on baguette.

On Saturday although the weather finally cleared, we had the usual three shows and no time for sightseeing. Nothing to report, other than the night crowd was particularly rowdy. Thanks for having us, Charleston :)

Today (Sunday) we have one show in the afternoon before loading out to Cincinnati. My boss will be taking my car overland as his family lives in Ohio, and I'll be traveling with Jameson. Looking forward to reaching a hotel before midnight!!

Getting to Cincinnati is notoriously difficult because it takes a long time to get into the city due to high train traffic. I've heard horror stories about last year's visit...the train arrived so late that load-in took place DURING preshow! Ugh. The Boss Clown had to get on a megaphone and describe the load in process to ticketholders, who weren't allowed on the arena floor because it nothing had been set up yet. I am crossing my fingers, toes, eyeballs, etc that that won't happen this time!!! Either way, it'll still be a load 'n go. Stay safe, everyone.

Other stuff:

My third attempt at making stained glass window clings. I used all the right paint/equipment, so if it doesn't work this time, screw it!!

A beautiful slomo of Gemma in action: