We left Atlanta and drove all day. We had decided to book an Airbnb, and were feeling a little nervous, as although our children (and most of the world) have used Airbnb, we never have ourselves, and we were a little unsure as to what, exactly, we had booked. We had found a location, Edisto Beach, which was a nice distance from Charleston, and had vacant properties. However, we discovered that the website we were using had generic photos, a selection of shots from several properties, and not specific photos of the actual condo we would be renting. So actually, we had no idea whether we were heading for a shack or somewhere nice! Husband assured me that if was terrible, we could sleep in the car and head for a hotel the following day. I wasn’t sure a night in the car would be quite as much fun as he was suggesting.
We drove along major roads, where there were many signs for places to eat. When you check on Google maps, some of these are a fair distance from the actual road. One eatery that was often advertised, and was near to the main road, was Waffle House, so we decided to stop and try it. I like pancakes, and waffles are similar, and we had eaten several times at IHOP (International House of Pancakes) and liked it. We thought Waffle House might be similar. It wasn’t—or at least, the one we stopped at wasn’t.
The local area and car park seemed distinctly dodgy, so we parked within sight of the restaurant. I popped to the washroom while Husband asked for a table. The washroom had rusty appliances, dirty floors, and broken locks on the doors. I decided to use my ‘in dirty place’ rules, and only eat hot food that was freshly cooked.
Joined Husband, and warned him not to order anything too fancy. The table was in the restaurant, right next to the open kitchen, so we could watch them while they worked, which was interesting, but not reassuring. The kitchen had possibly been cleaned. . . maybe some time in the mid-nineties. We ordered coffee and plain waffles. Neither could really be messed up, though I wasn’t sure how the batter was prepared. The waitress was very friendly, and gave us the check (bill) with the food. The amounts didn’t quite add up to the total. The waitress saw Husband checking the bill against the prices on the menu and told us, with a smile, that oops! she seemed to have given us the wrong check. She rewrote another one, which tallied with the prices on the menu. We paid and left, neither of us was ill. It was a learning experience. To be fair, other waffle houses might be clean and efficient—if you’ve ever eaten in one, do add a comment at the end. But we weren’t enticed back.
Leaving Atlanta seemed to take ages, but eventually the roads began to run through countryside. At one point we followed a long road, mile after mile, through a forest. There were ‘no stopping’ signs at regular intervals, and when I looked on Google maps—to see what was beyond the trees on either side—it was all fuzzed out. It was clearly some kind of military or government installation.
We bought petrol in tiny places which were in the middle of nowhere (with very dirty washrooms!) and passed seemingly random mailboxes at the edge of roads that had no obvious inhabitants.
We stopped in Allendale for a burger at Hardees. Most people (everyone other than us) was black. Allendale looked like an interesting small town, with remnants of previous affluence, though looked like it was struggling a bit today.
We drove past fields of cotton, fluffy white puffs bursting from crunchy pods on dead-looking plants. Some had already been harvested, and was waiting in round bales, like giant swiss-rolls, waiting to be collected. The weather was hot (at last) and the air was full of tiny flies.
Gradually, the places we drove through became poorer. We passed burnt out cars, and people living in trailers, and uncollected rubbish. We began to worry about what kind of ‘condo’ the Airbnb would be—would it be a dirty shack? On a main road? In a swamp? We had the address of an office, and we had to collect the key before 5pm, so we were feeling tense as we drove along increasingly slow roads (the last 100 miles was on 2-lane roads, through towns with stop lights and railway crossings).
We arrived at the Airbnb office at 4pm. The outside looked fairly basic (like a shed) but inside seemed organised, and the people working there were friendly and efficient, which inspired confidence. They gave us a bag of clean linen (we had agreed that we could make up the beds ourselves) and the keys and directions. I asked if there was anything we should be wary of, and they said no. ‘Oh good,’ I said. ‘I thought there might be alligators!’ ‘Ah, well yes, you might see a gator,’ they said. ‘But no poisonous snakes, or anything like that?’ I asked, hoping for reassurance. ‘Well, it is snake season,’ they said. I didn’t ask any more questions—they were not giving the right answers.
We followed the directions to the condo, which is on Edisto Island. It is amazing! It is in a swamp, but it has been drained, and a golf-course and holiday homes have been built. The essence of the swamp remains, so there are trees dripping with Spanish moss, and pools of water (with ‘beware of the gators’ signs) and the houses are all on stilts. Our condo is up in the trees, and we look down on pools of turtles sunning themselves, and deer wandering around the golf course, and great white birds swooping overhead. I love it, it’s so much nicer than a hotel in a city.
I will tell you more in my next post.
Thank you for sharing our adventures. Take care.
Love, Anne x
Thank you for reading. If you enjoy my travel blogs, you will love my travel book: The Sarcastic Mother’s Holiday Diary. Available from an Amazon near you. It makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys travel.
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