Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!

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Twenty five was the speed limit

Motorcycle not allowed in it

You go to the store on Friday

You go to church on Sunday

They call it……..

We have arrived in Georgia and it is definitely all mittens and scarf weather now.  There is a crispness to the air and it’s cold and a little rainy.  Well maybe not so much rain but more like a soft persistent mist.   It was -2 on the day we arrived in Georgia and it had snowed two days previous.

Well this is a very different part of America so I’ll give you a bit of a run down:

There are 5 southern states – Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky.

Georgia is the state and Atlanta is the capital.  Georgia is known as the ‘peach state’ and ‘The Empire State of the South’ and the state was established in 1732 and named after King George II of Great Britain.  The climate here is primarily humid sub-tropical with sultry hot humid summers (think Darwin but with hurricanes, tornadoes and tropical storms) and cold winters (think Canberra) with occasional snow.

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Flora – Red Cedar, Oaks, Maples, Sweet Gums and Hickories (just to name a small few) and the Cherokee Rose is also the state flower.

Fauna – White Tail Deer, Black Bears, Mockingbirds, diamondback/cottonmouths/copperheads (snakes), Alligators, Catfish, Blue crabs, fiddler crabs and shrimp, raccoons, armadillos, squirrels and rednecks (just to name a small few).  Note:  Rednecks are the human equivalent of ‘I have no idea what’.  They are a little scary so I would presume it is best not to feed them or pat them or poke them with anything sharp.

Now, this place has an incredible and fascinating history.  Mention ‘the war’ and everyone will know which one!  Georgia is also the ‘god fearing bible belt’ of the south and the largest state east of the Mississippi.  There are also some interesting laws here in Georgia:  1)  Donkeys must not be kept in a bathtub.  2)  No one may carry an ice cream cone in their back pocket if it is Sunday.  3)  All signs must be written in English and 4)  It is illegal to use profanity in front of a dead body which lies in a funeral home or in a coroners office.

Now, I have to say the true southern accent is a beautiful thing to listen to.  I think it’s the slow genteel drawl that peaks your attention and good manners and southern hospitality are still a seriously respectable and practised art form here.  ‘Please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’ are all commonly used words……as they should be anywhere.

The south is also where eating reaches epic proportion.  And a small tip for the novice – belt loosening or elasticised pants are a necessity!  Sweet potatoes all come butter covered, there is pan-fried buttered catfish, hot biscuits smothered in gravy, southern fried chicken, collard greens and corn bread.  A little delicacy here is a large (and I mean LARGE – served as a side dish) baked potato with butter, caramel sauce and marshmallows generously dusted with cinnamon sugar..……I have had to check my pulse on a number of occasions since eating here!  And pretty much everything you eat or drink is ‘super-sized’ –  something I believe America has invented as revenge on the world!

It is here in Georgia that I had my first slice of ‘sweet potato pie’.  And I have to say it was seriously good and seriously addictive…….addictive in a good way!  I have been known to eat desserts of all kind and quality and quantity when placed in front of me so I was at the mercy of the hand of pastry chef who cut the slice.  And the piece of pie wasn’t tooooo big and it wasn’t toooo small.  It was just right (as was the second piece – we had to order a second as Steve didn’t get a chance to try the first).  I also tried Key Lime Pie last night.  Again see above however it was I who cut the slices (and thank you Sophie for my first introduction to the American Key Lime Pie).

Well I am about to finish a coffee and slice of Key Lime Pie (Sophie left it here…..was that a good or bad move) then head out into the crisp air to walk around the gated unit complex we are staying in temporarily….it is gated lest I run into a bear or something more threatening although I don’t know what would be more threatening than coming face to face with a bear unless of course it was Humphrey!   The day cold with dull grey skies however due to the pie I will be heading out with a happy heart and seeing a sunnier day than will greet me…….plus I will be wearing my elasticised pants!

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