Monday, February 8, 2016

A southern detour.

I had to make an unexpected trip to North Carolina right before our British Columbia housesit ended in mid-January. After three weeks here, I must admit that while the flatlands of Rocky Mount pale in comparison to the snow-capped Canadian Rockies, the southern hospitality has definitely been a welcome change from Vernon's unpleasant vibe!

If you've never experienced southern hospitality, here's how it works: Men go out of their way to open doors for me. People chat with me in the grocery store line (and several folks have insisted that I go ahead of them when I had fewer items than they did). "Sir," "Ma'am," and "pardon me" are the norm. Folks I pass on the street look me in the eye, ask "how you doing?", and actually wait for a response. People will "bless you" for just about any reason. (This is not to be confused with "bless your heart," which basically means "you're an idiot.") Driving around town I haven't been honked at once for not going as soon as the light turned green, and four-way stop signs have usually involved lots of waving.

In addition to acclimating to this southern hospitality, I've had to adjust to the southern accent. Dad has a bit of a southern drawl and most of Mom's extended family in Maryland use common southern words and phrases, so I know what a "clicker" is and what someone means when they're "fixin' to" do something, and that sort of thing. But my family's accents are not as strong as the ones down here and I've definitely had to tune my ear.

(And then for added fun, one weekend my Jersey cousins came down to visit and I had to tune my ear again...

(stolen from Google, source unknown)

And then for even more added fun, Dad and I took a weekend trip up to Maryland where I could understand everyone just fine, but extreme rudeness, terrible drivers, and expensive gas prevailed. Seriously, how do you Marylanders do it?)

This is the most time I've spent in North Carolina to date, and although I could never live here myself I can see why northerners flock south. My only beef with the state so far is that they have no idea how to deal with inclimate weather. My visit coincided with Snowpocalypse 2016, and half the state shut down for a few days.

ice, ice baby

Granted, you could say the same about Portland... But to be fair, Rocky Mount's fallen-tree-branch-due-to-ice-storm collection service was pretty darned efficient. Definitely can't say that about Portland!

Speaking of Portland, they keep it weird in Rocky Mount and the surrounding areas, too.

at Good Old Boys Flea Market -
the Pot Man asked me to share this picture widely

queued for next week:
"road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs"

And on the food note, if you find yourself in the area and hungry, the barbecue in Rocky Mount isn't so great but the Highway Diner, El Tapatio, and Mama's Pizza more than make up for that.

Anyway. While I tended to some family things on the east coast, three cute cats and a lovely little house on Orcas Island, WA were awaiting our attention. As soon as our Vernon housesitting hosts got back, Patrick made his way over to Vancouver and then down to Washington to our final housesit for the foreseeable future.

Along the way he enjoyed some sights...

Vancouver's Chinatown

Bellingham's Big Rock Garden

the west coast's Pacific Ocean

... and some tastes.

He also met up with fellow travelers Gillian and Jason of One Giant Step - thank you again for your hospitality, new friends! I'll meet you somewhere, someday.

In a few days I'll join Patrick on the west coast for the rest of our Orcas Island housesit. Looking forward to some nice hikes, lots of cat time, and that lovely Pacific Northwest winter weather - adjusting to this bright and sunny sky here in North Carolina has probably been my biggest acclimation!


  1. This was an absolute joy. The Carolinas are certainly on my list. (Mainly because there's a tea garden in South C.

    1. I hope you make it someday! I couldn't live here but it's definitely a nice place to visit.

  2. I love when people use "y'all", something about it is just so charming! I've only ever been to Atlanta and now Orlando, but would love to do more touring around the south, especially places like Savannah. Enjoy the sunshine!!

    1. Thanks Erin! I think the southern desserts would definitely suit you - just bring your workout clothes, haha!

  3. I love China town. I never been to the Carolina's and I would love to check that place, add that to my bucket list. :)

  4. So funny: most of your description of walking around North Carolina is how I would describe my day walking around Portland – except for the "bless you" part. I have friends who have moved to North Carolina and absolutely love it there so much. I've never been, but it sounds beautiful! Enjoy the sunshine before you head back!

    1. Wow, really? I clearly haven't visited the parts of PDX that you visit. ;)