Savannah: Forest Gump’s sitting spot

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Savannah is a beautiful historic city in Georgia. It is supposedly America’s most haunted city; it must have been a quiet weekend, ’cause I didn’t see any ghosts. The heat here does not compare to a Durban summer – I now understand that when you talk about sweltering heat, it means you’re sweating and melting at the same time. You need to hide out in a coffee shop with AC to avoid getting sunstroke!

Savannah is one of only five cities in the US where you are allowed to walk around with an open alcohol container. (New Orleans, is coincidently another one of the five cities.) The trees is Savannah is covered with Spanish moss – long pieces of greyish grassy-looking plants.  All the trees are covered with the moss, except the trees on Johnson Square where, according to legend, ghosts of soldiers climb up the trees every night to remove the moss.

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Savannah is one of the first cities that was planned before being built, and therefore has 24 charming pedestrian public squares! Most are located in the historic district, where we did a walking tour with our guide Chris Rauers (www.freesavannahtours.com).  He took us to four squares and told us interesting stories about the people of the city; for example, the lady who started the Girl Scouts grew up in Savannah!

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The book Midnight in the garden of good and evil by John Berendt is about the secret lives of the people of Savannah – it was a best seller until 1998 (when Harry Potter took over the number one spot) and many people moved to the city after reading the book.  Kevin Spacey and John Cusack star in the movie with the same title.

During the Civil war, Maj. Gen. Sherman’s famous March to the Sea (where he applied the same scorched earth principles that the British applied in the Boer Wars in South Africa to cities in the South of America) was not destructive to Savannah, as the city surrendered and welcomed Sherman to stay there – he ended up staying for 5 weeks before marching to and destroying South Carolina.

Paula Deen is a Savannah celebrity chef.  She started her first restaurant here called The Lady and Sons and moved on to become a famous chef with bright white that uses a lot of butter and says y’all a lot!

The movie Forest Gump starts out with him sitting on a bench, telling his life story to strangers.  That bench is right here in Savannah! The bench had to be moved from Chippewa Square to the visitor’s centre, because tourist were holding up traffic while queuing to get their picture taken at the bench.

We watched a fantastic music show Savannah Live at the Historic Savannah Theatre – a theatre owned and operated by the performers.  We were also fortunate to attend a Sunday Morning service at the First African Baptist Church.  In 1923 a few slaves used their savings to build a church structure instead of buying their freedom- now that’s dedication!  Since then the building has been rebuilt, but it’s still the same congregation.

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