Aug 21 2017

The US adventure(part 11): the day of the eclipse

Category: PersonalIuliana @ 21:37

I know these entries do not look like the ones I’ve been been getting you guys used to, but I haven’t written in a literary way for so long and this is just the warm up. Or so I hope. I just need to make a journal of these days, because this is the most awesome vacation I ever had until now.

One of the reasons I say this is because this is the first time I am on a different continent than the one I was born on. Another is that I am all alone here and I haven’t heard spoken Romanian in a week now and it feels isolating. And I love it. I love to dwell in my loneliness and enjoy the freedom given by it. I know this might seem weird, but being alone also means being unattached and there is a feeling of freedom in this that I cannot describe to you. It’s absolute, almost magical. Also, the fact that I am waking up without an alarm and deciding my itinerary every morning it’s really exciting. Sure I do have fixed points for where I have to spend the night, but how I get there it’s matter of quite random choice.

Augusta was not a nice experience when it comes to sleeping. The receptionist was almost rude, the room was not acoustically isolated and I have high doubts about the cleanliness. I ran out of there as quick as I could and stopped in every Best Buy, Wallmart and library, in hope of finding a pair of eclipse glasses. To be fair, trying to buy eclipse glasses in the morning before the eclipse is not quite a smart thing to do actually. So here I am in Orangeburg, one hour or so before the eclipse. I was in the parking lot of a shopping area, where a lot of other people were prepared for the eclipse, with glasses, serious cameras and … recorded religious praises. I bought myself a sandwich and some apples, ate them in my car and started waiting for the eclipse. Also, when I figured out that eclipse glasses are not going to be a thing for me I started researching the internet regarding the necessity of such glasses, because I had a theory. I mean, as a kid I used to stare at the sun, glasses or no glasses, I just couldn’t do it for long. So I needed to know how to handle the eclipse viewing without damaging my eyes. And I’ve found a NASA article about eclipses that stated exactly what I thought. The sun during the eclipse is the same sun that shines over us, it’s just covered by the moon shadow and we are staring at it more than we should because we are curious about it. This means you can look at the sun during the eclipse without special glasses, just make sure you blink a lot. So this is what I did, I just wore my dark glasses, and looked at the eclipse, and just closed my eyes or turned away when I felt my eyes getting teary. In the central moment of the eclipse, I took off my glasses, because I was really curious about how dark it it with the sun almost gone from the sky. It was amazing. So amazing that the religious pack next to me started chanting “Praise the lord” repeatedly.

I also filmed the eclipse with the new phone. The quality is not the best, but it’s my first freaking eclipse. I don’t remember the one in 1999 much really, so this was an important moment for me.

After the eclipse moment passed, I got in my car and started driving towards Beaufort. Why Beaufort? Because of its location: Beaufort is located on Port Royal Island, in the heart of the Sea Islands and South Carolina Lowcountry. The city is also known for its military establishments, being home of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. This was easy to figure out once you see the access point to the area.

To get to Beaufort, I tried once again to avoid the highway, and drove on a road called Lowcountry Road. It was amazing, because it was full of forests and thus I could see the type of trees changing as I went further south. Also, there were a lot of corn fields and what I think it was … cotton. Of course I was not the only one that chose that road to avoid the heavy traffic from the highway caused by the eclipse, and there was a portion where we barely moved, but it was truly a nice ride.

I did not manage to visit Beaufort, the main access street was in repair and it pissed me off a lot when it took me more than 10 minutes to go around the portion under construction to reach my hotel. But the hotel was really nice, with a nice view over the marsh. So I had to  be content with that, especially since Charleston and Myrtle Beach were both in plan for the next day.

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