There is something to be said for spending time in the Deep South!
I just returned from a trip there and, inclement weather aside (read: tornado warnings/watches, tropical storm level winds, thunder that made the windows of my room shake and torrential rain which seemed to know no end), I found myself enjoying the dark brown earth, reminiscent of Peru, and the area's big sky with its equally dramatic cloud formations.
The area where I was (the south-west corner of Georgia) began to pull at me in an interesting way -- I felt embraced in genuine warmth, almost like I had fallen into my grandmother's arms for a big hug. I found myself thinking, "Oh, so THIS is Southern hospitality!" And, it was every ounce as wonderful as I had imagined.
Of course, while there is this very warm side to the South, I couldn't help but remember its other history while driving past numerous cotton and pecan tree plantations. I know that as a visitor, I cannot pretend to speak about these neighborhoods intimately; however, even as an outsider, I wasn't blind to the scars which linger there.
The Deep South, then, was utterly fascinating. My curiosity to know more about the people, their stories and the land grew exponentially during my time there, and I look forward to the opportunity to return to satiate it.