FRIDAY, APRIL 17: My last trip... to Trinidad and Venezuela... had a little different feel than this one. When I arrived in Trinidad, the morning paper was scary. Murderers set free. Dengue fever. Every spooky thing you can imagine.
Knoxville too has spooky headlines. Check it out... the newspaper office might be haunted, says a local paranormal team. And worse yet. CARS ARE GOING TOO FAST IN WORK ZONES. SLOW DOWN! YOU MIGHT KILL SOMEONE!
I have my biscuits and gravy breakfast. It's one of the reasons I come to The South. It's good, but not as great as I expect. Something a little bland about the gravy. Needs more lard or something. I donno... but the trip is young.
Despite the blandness, it's the best breakfast I've had in months. Looks like you can just suck it in, huh?
Beats the usual raisin bagel and butter on the subway.
After that it's garage sales, then two tiny tacos in a local REAL Mexican place. [NOTE FOR GRINGOS: Tacos do NOT have hard nacho shells. They do NOT automatically come with cheese. They are NOT chicken or beef.] I have a tongue and a cabeza.
The rest of the day is thrift store to thrift store. Piling up books, I buy another suitcase to hold 'em all those Amazon hopefuls. I'm still unsure of how I'll be able to keep track of them. That database program, you know.
Chad's the tourguide for the day. And before long it's time to pick up Sid at the airport. Chad asks if I want another taco before seeing Sid. But the name of the restaurant is Taqueria. Sounds like Taco + diarrhea. Mmmm. I don't think so.
We stop for a beer, then find Sid, waiting for his bag after the others on his flight are long gone. Somehow (of course) his bag got separated from the rest. Maybe it's the bag full of Furbies. I can imagine how that must look as it passes through the x-ray machine.
From baggage to a discussion with Ashley, the car rental agent. I need to make minor changes to my rental agreement. Do we discuss the rental agreement? Nope. We talk about Ashley's Spinal Bifida child and how it's a miracle of God's love that the kid walks when the doctors said he'd never do that. How it's a sign of God's love that the poor cripple can take a few steps. I do not ask her about the God's love that gave the kid Spinal Bifida in the first place. Nor do we discuss why the car rental agent is talking about her child's handicap with complete strangers... customers... in the first place. This is THE SOUTH. They do things different here.
At the airport, Chad asks if we want to go out, or to go to “a bonfire” at his girlfriend's house. Previously, he told me that his girlfriend's divorce had just been finalized. There had been some problems and it's been a while since... you know. One of the many lessons I've learned from traveling around the world for these 65 years is RESPECT THE NOOK. It's the number one rule for the global traveler. So I say “sure, we'll go to the bonfire.”
Rachel lives in a big house built in the 50s or 60s. It looks older. Sid asks her if she's ever felt A PRESENCE. She says not particularly. He's disappointed. Oh yeah, there's also a huge pit bull, Cain.
After a fire in the back, without ghost stories, but with screams from the park behind Rachel's house, we turn in for the night. Sid gets a double bed for himself. Chad gets Rachel. I get the pit bull.
TURD REPORT: Silly string