Margaret and I camp most nights on the Trash Blog. Occasionally, however, we splurge and treat ourselves to hotel. Mostly Margaret finds nice places to sleep without too much of a bill. Heading towards Charleston, South Carolina, it was my turn to find a swanky suite for us.
Neither of us had ever visited Charleston, but the city holds a charm in our imaginations, full of gas lights, muggy warmth, slow drawls, and metropolitan Southern hospitality. Sounds good to me.
Online, I found a great deal for a night at the Creekside Lands Inn. Margaret was pretty pleased with me for ferreting out the good deal. Excited to be sleeping in a hotel, we headed straight for our digs as soon as we hit Charleston. At first glance it looked a little more like a motel than a hotel, like the kind of motel where people rent rooms by the month or by the hour.
Knowing the saying about how deceptive appearances can be, we ventured up to the office, if not with our hopes held high, at least with them clutched tightly near our midriff. A middle-aged woman greeted us at the door brandishing a bright yellow sign. “We got gators here!” She said. “It’s official now. The Government done sent us a sign.” I flinched because the way she proffered the sign made me think she was going to whack me over the head with it. The sign indeed indicated that alligators may live in the vicinity of the hotel.
Inside the office we spoke to a younger woman behind the desk about our reservations. When we got to our rooms, we discovered that the age-old wisdom of the saying had lied to us: appearances were not very deceptive at all.
I won’t dwell on the room, because it wasn’t really fit for habitation. Back outside where we could breathe again, we surveyed our territory. A swampy watercourse ran along the front of the hotel. No doubt this was where the gators may live. The parking lot was dominated by a round pool full of folks who seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Past the pool was a dumpster overflowing with garbage. It was a big, commercial dumpster, holding something like six yards at a rough guess. Black bags and other garbage threatened to bury the dumpster. If our room had been a little nicer, this very full dumpster would have struck us as odd, but given the circumstances…
Several people, who seemed not to be staying at the hotel, were fishing in the swamp. I don’t know how they managed to avoid a grisly death at the hands (do they have hands?) of the alligators, but they seemed jolly enough. We spoke with one of the anglers as he was leaving. He told us he was a commercial fisherman, that he made more money than he knew what to do with, and that the reason the garbage was piled so high in the dumpster was because of the rain. Apparently, it was too wet to get the trucks on top of the garbage to the active face. Heavy trucks don’t do well on mush.
We decided to have a look at the Bees Ferry Landfill to see if they really were that swamped. When we arrived, there was a little traffic. The woman at the weigh station said she didn’t know “nothing” about mud or trucks not being able to dump. I probably shouldn’t have introduced myself as someone who writes about trash on the Internet. We didn’t even get a picture.
All in all, our time in Charleston was a bit of a bust. The hotel was more like a hovel, the Southern Charm was exhibited by a toothless fisherman who had traveled the world, the garbage story remained a mystery, and we never did get a good look at the alligator.