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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

B-Lag File # 01: That Jaejay Weekend in Kentucky

B-Lag as in Blog + Lag.

Two weekends ago, this Filipino-Chinese officemate named Jaejay of the Po clan visited me in Kentucky. He happens to be my friend so forget the cold-shoulder introduction. The kid is one of the company’s wonder kids. To describe further, if our company is a beaux art building, Jaejay must be in one of the striking figures in the pediment. The kid is the epitome, period (thanks for the card swipes). Anyway, he drove from Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and he said that it was his longest long drive (nine hours) ever. Well, that is something. I wish to do that to a friend someday.

It was my last weekend in Kentucky so I made it a point to visit the Bluegrass State’s best of the bests. It was a Friday when Jaejay reached Frankfort. He said that the zigzaggy route somewhere in east Tennessee flabbergasted him but he wasn’t complaining. We met at Hampton Inn at 7pm-ish and, in a few minutes, off we went to downtown Frankfort. A summer series concert was being held in the Old Capitol lawn and I thought it was a great idea to let Jaejay experience the fun, Kentucky style.

First stop was a dinner at Nema’s Grille along St. Clair St. where I had my all-time favorite grilled tiger shrimp with herb rice. Jaejay had lamb (to his delight that Linel might not know what he’s eating). I am not really sure but I think he had this priceless facial expression when the food arrived (I’m now wondering what South Carolina has done to him aside from staying in love). For dessert, we just strolled along Broadway St. to catch some rock cover tunes from the live band. Then we went to the Capitol Building, which serves as the city’s main landmark for a quick visit.

Saturday morning was the highlight of the weekend. We hit the road (me driving Jaejay’s Eclipse with code names Solar and Lunar, which surprisingly I didn’t get at first) at around 9am, heading to Louisville (Jaejay always pronounced it as “Luis-ville”, hehehe). Our first stop was the Louisville Slugger Museum. I can say that the museum is distinct to Kentucky and the gigantic bat outside the museum holds the world record as the biggest one. There was nothing uncool about the whole tour, except perhaps of the idea that those bats are carved from a tree. It left me a not-so-good aftertaste (save the earth, save the earth!).

We finished the tour earlier than expected so we sneaked in some out-of-the-blue-GPS-inspired itineraries. That includes Thomas Edison’s house with an awkwardly talky tour guide. There’s nothing much in there (the area has a ghetto feel) except for some memorbilia like phonograph and some newspaper clips. We paid two bucks for the entrance, left after 20 minutes and headed to a seafood restaurant along the river and facing the city for a hearty lunch.

Next stop was Jim Beam distillery (official name is Jim Beam, the American Outpost) in Clermont, Kentucky. It was a 20-minute drive from Louisville (still me on the driver seat). The outpost is part of an ongoing bourbon trail along with other famous distilleries in Kentucky. I personally chose Jim Beam for so many reasons. First, the first hard drink I had after college (yes, I finished my first bottle of beer ever on graduation night) was bourbon and it was a Jim Beam. To be exact, bourbon Coke (Jim Beam plus Coke on the rocks). Secondly, Jim Beam is the only bourbon brand I know (though Kentucky’s best I believe is Buffalo Trace). The entrance to the distillery is free and Jaejay and I enjoyed a sip of two bourbon variations (their top of the line) in one of the Beam family members’ houses.

Tipsy with two sips, off we went to My Old Kentucky Home. It was basically a park with a mansion in the center as the main attraction. We were clueless at first on what’s in there so we approached the ladies in the souvenir shop. They asked as if we know the song “My Old Kentucky Home” and Jaejay replied “no” to the ladies’ horror. The song happened to be Kentucky’s anthem. The mansion serves as the inspiration when the song was written amidst the backdrop of some primetime soap opera-worthy stories of those residing in the house that time.

It was already high noon and the day was almost over. We headed back to Frankfort and went to the town cemetary to visit Daniel Boone’s grave. The guy, a Kentuckian, happened to be a popular historical figure especially during the time when the US map was being drafted. His tomb faces the capitol building, which was across the Kentucky River. Late afternoon sunlight was a delight and very picture-friendly. On our way out, we passed by watercolor artist Paul Sawyier’s grave.

After a long day came a long laugh from Jaejay as he waited for ages to full-tank his car on a bucolic gas station. I asked him to forgive his self and suggested to finish the refueling later and have a nice dinner in the best restaurant in Frankfort.

Serafini’s didn’t disappoint. The food (and the waitress) satisfied Jaejay big time. I had fillet mignon and it was really good. We capped the night with movie at Chakeres Franklin Cinema and a memorable experience of deer watching at night (Bambi was just right across the cinema’s parking lot). That experience alone overshadowed the next day’s activities (though the visit to the Cumberland Falls through a hilly and curvy road was amazing, the trip to the Horse Park in Lexington was a bit anti-climactic except for the dinner at Mia’s which, unfortunately, happened to be a gay-ish hang-out based on the suspiscious characters inside the resto). I was reminded of a scene from “The Queen” wherein the main character was outsmarted by the events that are happening around her and out of turmoil, she went to a forest, sobbed a river and calmed by the presence of a deer.

More pics here.

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