It came to my mind a few days ago that I didn't tell you about our time outside the convention center on day 1. Before I go into details about day 2, I have to finish day 1.
Driving around Richmond is always fun; so much to see and stare at. We don't exactly live in the country, but we're not from a huge city. There is a definite element of drama in visiting the big city. I wouldn't want to live in the downtown of any city, but I like visiting. It reminds me that the world isn't made up of all country folks.
I like walking the crowded sidewalks with my family (particularity my brothers and Dad) beside me. I like looking up at skyscrapers, so high they make me dizzy even when my feet are smack on the ground. I like the sidewalk shops, with doors open to the breeze, giving me glimpses of colorful merchandise packed on the shelves.
I like seeing the people. Many of them have bored, hopeless expressions as they slump on benches waiting for a bus. Teens in black clothes and silver jewels compete with each other in goofiness and bragging. Business men in dress clothes hurry across the crosswalks toward the skyscrapers. Ladies still in their nurses' uniforms park by the sidewalk to stop in a store on their way home from work. If you see another family with children, you know they are headed for the convention center, same as you.
The sidewalks near the conventions center are mainly red bricks. I love brick sidewalks - they're so quaint and sturdy. We did a lot of sidewalk-walking this trip, because on day 1 we got to the convention center late, so the parking garage was full, and we had to park several blocks away.
At first we thought we'd never find an empty parking space, but we finally pulled into a crowded public parking area, and paid for a space. We had driven around so much in looking for a parking space, that we were rather disoriented, and we had to get directions to the convention center from the man in charge. He told us the quickest way was through the alley and out to another street, then to turn left, walk two blocks, cross a crosswalk, and we'd be there.
Through the alley.
This was an experience.
Do you like mystery stories? I do - most of the ones I've read, anyway. You know how they always contain dark alleys and masked men? This alley would have been a perfect story setting.
No - there were no masked men there. And it was broad daylight. But it was mysterious, just the same.
Brick buildings, several stories tall, formed the human-built canyon. The space we entered was about five feet wide - just big enough for a car to squeeze through, if it wanted to.
Above our heads, rusty fire escapes were attached to the buildings, but there were no windows near the ground level. The alley had evidently been paved with asphalt many yeas ago, but in places the tar had worn away, and the old stone road was exposed to our feet. Here and there were puddles of gray water, giving a damp feeling to the cool shade of the buildings. The place smelled like a garbage disposal.
The alley twisted and turned, like the worn pavement under our feet, and took us around a left-hand turn, toward the sunlight. We passed a wide cement stairway going down below the street level, with a chain-link gate blocking the entrance. We wondered where it led. Further on, four brick steps led up the side of the wall on our left, to an antique door that was painted black. A wild sign had the name of some shop on it in bright colors. I wondered what the front door looked like.
And then we spilled out onto the brick side walk that bordered the street. Several people lounged about, waiting for the bus. We turned left and passed several shops on our way down the street. The sun was shining, the heat was reflected from the road, and everything was normal.
But kinda interesting. It was an experience.
Well, what do you know? I've taken so long telling you about where we parked on day 1 that I don't think I have time to record notes from day 2. And I still want to post about what's been happening in our garden! So much to say, and so little time. And I'm not really sure why I posted this little tale about an alley. I just thought that perhaps you'd find it interesting.
...I can't think of a way to end this blog post, so I'll say bye for now and get on later to - ahem - record my notes from day 2 of the convention.