Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Cities List

Somehow I have done more traveling to new places this year than usual. Or ever. These places are all so vastly different from one another I thought I'd make up a little list, ranking them from first to last. First being my favorite, to last being a place I never want to go again. Agree or disagree, but this list is how I feel about my experiences.

1. Savannah
    Of course this is number one. It's charming, it's historic, it's beautiful, and it's romantic. It's easily walkable and there are plenty of things to do or you can just sit on a bench in a park square and watch life go by under a canopy of Spanish moss. I love it and can't wait to go back.

2. Cincinnati
    This one was a surprise, although I didn't really have any expectations. It's a fairly easy drive from Nashville and also easy to get around. I was there with a huge group of women and it was really easy to find each other at the local restaurants, plus the view from the observation deck of our hotel was incredible. Another plus - the downtown area we were in seemed pretty clean and really safe. Also - Tiffany.
    Bonus points for homeless people with a great sense of humor.

3. Pittsburgh
    Pittsburgh was another nice surprise. It wasn't the dirty, sooty, industrial wasteland I had envisioned. On the pros side, there are gorgeous, ornate, historical old homes on every single block. I found one of the best book stores I've ever been to and walked out with an entire armful of new literature. In the neighborhood of my hotel I visited a pretty cool dive bar where I boozed it up to my heart's content for less than $30. And that included the city's best mac n' cheese. The Carnegie Museum needs no explanation. Visiting spots where Flashdance was filmed only needs explanation if you don't know me.

    On the con side of the page, I alternated about every other block between feeling safe and freaking out at every stop sign because I was back in the ghetto. There is no bad side of town, just a bad side of the street. On every street. The streets are narrow and winding and I could never figure what direction I was going in, and the roads are very narrow. Pittsburgh drivers aren't the worst, but they're not the best.

4. Key West
    Key West is suffocatingly hot and miserably humid. Real key lime pie is disgusting. It's deceptively larger than the descriptions I read so it's not really walkable for an afternoon. But I did walk through Ernest Hemingway's house and I pet cats. Lots of cats with lots of toes. Possibly extra limbs. Still, I would never recommend going there hungover.

5. Cozumel
    Oh, Mexico. It's always just as impoverished as you imagine, so there's no disappointment there. I wouldn't want to spend a whole vacation there; an afternoon to evening is plenty and kept me from getting too depressed because people really do have to live like that. These are very nice people and they deserve better from their government. Apart from their hospitality, their food is among the best I've ever had. Even something as repulsive-sounding as frozen avocado pie was mostly pleasant. (Why, oh WHY can't Nashville figure out how to do real Mexican food???)

6. Miami
    I know, I know. Miami Vice. CSI Miami. A hundred movies and Dexter can't be wrong, can they? Oh, but they can. They can be so, so wrong. It's hot as balls there with a humidity index of like a thousand. It's huge and confusing. Really, really spread out. People actually live in giant, high-rise condos. I think most people that live there don't have a backyard and even the ones who do regularly find alligators in them.

    South Beach is supposed to be the end-all, be-all of luxury living. Eh. The buildings are kind of plain and the shopping isn't anything you can't find in the suburbs of any other city. Except for Dash, maybe, and that place just makes me want to declare that butt implants be illegal for everyone in the world. The thing is, you expect it to be all glitz and glamour, but there's no character. And, with the majority of people not knowing English, it's like being in another country without the benefit of another stamp on your passport.

    And guess what? Not even Dexter lives there anymore.


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