Two weeks ago I went to Greensboro, North Carolina to visit an old friend from back home who now also resides in the US. Having lived in San Diego (i.e. effectively the desert) for the last two years I couldn’t believe how lush and green the landscape was. Well, some fall colors already managed to sneak in. So it was a mixture of green, red, and yellow. But it was really beautiful to me and I kept repeating how nice and green everything looked, somewhat annoying my friend a bit I think 😉
He works at Greensboro university, which has a really nice campus actually. Here are some pics from it:
On Saturday we went to a NASCAR race in Charlotte, North Carolina. I had never been to a race of this kind before and didn’t really know what to expect. All I can say about it is that it’s friggin’ LOUD and it gets kinda boring after 100 laps, okay, maybe 50 laps ;). Outside of the race track a lot of people were tailgating. It seemed like each driver had a merchandise trailer parked outside to make some additional dough. This one I found particularly funny. I wonder if that little golf cart-like vehicle actually pulls that trailer all across the country 🙂
Here you can see a shot from the race. Can you see the cars? Thought so. Neither can I. They’re those streaks of light in the middle of the picture, which looks as if I was shaking. Maybe I was from the incredibly noise, but I think it’s mostly because of the cars passing by really fast 😉
We had pretty good seats for the race, close to the start-finish line. One accident happened right in front of our nose and the girl sitting in front of me cowered in her seat for a second. A car got pushed in the rear by another car. It started spinning around and hit the wall right in front of us really hard. Some parts came flying towards us and the car slid along the wall at an incredible speed for a while until it came to a full stop. But apart from that the race was really kind of boring. Most of the time you don’t actually see accidents unfold because they might be happening far away from where you sit or simply because they happen in the blink of an eye. Sometimes the guy right next to me would stand up, pointing to a certain part of the track where something had happened. I tried to find what he was pointing at, but by the time I managed to work that out there was nothing much to see anymore.
The race was supposed to go for more than 340 laps, but we decided to leave after about 260. In any case, it was good to see a NASCAR race and I can tick off that box on my list of American sports that I haven’t seen yet. But I don’t think I’ll go to a race again.
The next day we went to a close-by city called Winston-Salem, in particular to a part of town called Old Salem, which was founded by German-speaking European settlers from Moravia. There was a chapel next to the graveyard there that had a German inscription seen below. It says “Fest gebaut, Gott vertraut”, which rhymes nicely in German and translates into “Solidly built, with trust in God” or something like that (and no, it doesn’t rhyme in English ;)).
After the visit to Old Salem we decided to drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway a bit. It’s this awesome road through the Appalachian mountains. Highly recommended.
As you can tell from these shots, the weather was gorgeous. In fact, for that particular weekend it was better in North Carolina than in San Diego (which is kind of rare). All in all, a very nice weekend getaway. And I already have the next one planned. In a few weeks I’m off to Denver, Colorado for a weekend. Yay! 🙂