Sunday, May 2, 2010

Discovering the Shaw neighborhood via pedicab: 3 quotes about travel

Sometimes, no, often, we pass by and through places and never really see or know them. Yesterday, I had the privileged of taking three dynamic women on a larger group tour of the Shaw neighborhood. Arranged by Danny Cochrane of National Pedicabs and Alexander M Pedro, Executive Director of Shaw Main Streets, we started our three hour tour in front of the Carnegie Library between 7th and 9th Streets across from the Convention Center.

A convoy of pedicabs started out in front of the library, through an alley where the movie "Being There" was shot with Peter Sellers, and then to one of the oldest liquor stores in the area. There, the tour members (NOT pedicab drivers!) sampled mint juleps in honor of the Kentucky Derby. Next we went to Chatman's D'Vine bakery and cafe and sampled their cupcakes and sweet potato pie.

We stopped at Azi's for more delicious samples, and then an amazing bed & breakfast that was so chocked full of amazing artwork it reminded me of a mix between William Randolph Hurst's San Simeon castle (Rosebud?) in a brownstone rowhouse. We ended at a wonderful Ethiopian restaurant, Asefu's Yegna restaurant with excellent lentil and beef snacks.

So where did the name "Shaw" come from? Remember the movie "Glory" about an African American brigade during the Civil War? Matthew Broderick played the white commander, Shaw, of this brigade.

And 3 quotes animate my perception of travel: First, Mark Twain, "Nothing is more dangerous to prejudice than travel."
Second, Henry David Thoreau,"I have traveled extensively in Concord."
Third, T.S. Eliot from Four Quartets, "We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time."

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