South Carolina feels lawless. Not in a negative way, but there was a moment when I was driving through the swamps, miles from anywhere on an open road, when I saw a guy walking down the middle of the road towads me, brandishing a rifle and swivelling it to take aim at who knows what in the trees and brush. As I drove past he smiled a wide, toothless grin and waved the gun at me in a weird unco-ordinated way. In America sometimes you just have to feel lucky, because you are on your own in a country where a lot of strange people have guns.
Apart from guns and swamps, I don't know what else there is in South Carolina except Charlestown. But Charleston lives up to its reputation. It's a pretty, stylish town with much to commend it to the traveller. It seeps history. Across the bay you can see Fort Sumter, the tinder box that set alight the American Civil War.
I visited an old plantation in South Carolina. By car it was easy to get to, but these plantations were hugely isolated at the time. Slavery was clearly wrong, but it largely existed in paternalistic institutions where all sides sought to establish a status quo. In a dystopian way, people had to learn how to co-exist and accept the unacceptable. The abolition of slavery gave way to what is called segregation, but you can see how far segregation was just another word for discrimination. You can still feel the weight of the extended injustice of slavery in black incarceration rates, "black on black" murders and the killing of black suspects by the police. But also in attitudes and ongoing segregation. I remember hearing one black woman in Walmart telling her friend "The good Lord decided I was born to be poor" in a resigned voice. I doubt it was the good Lord, but I'm pretty sure that woman's poverty was born right alongside her.
What could be more of a contrast than the seaside resort of Myrtle Beach, where I check in for the night.