Chapel Hill and Charlotte, 2010

I had a working trip to Chapel Hill with a fuzzy requirement for a Saturday meeting, so I decided to plan a trip down to Charlotte after it was done so that I could visit with Will and his new son.

Thursday Nov 4, 2010

I ended up grabbing a 6am Jet Blue flight for a bifecta of potential suck. I hate 6am flights since they require an early taxi to get to the airport, and getting up at 4am is never good. Luckily my flight didn't get cancelled or significantly delayed or loose cabin pressure or anything, and it was direct. I met up with my coworker Daniel and my boss Steve in the departure lounge (with everyone ignoring the fire alarm), and they ended up getting delayed boarding as they watched my stuff when I ran to the bathroom and get some tea. Oops. We all got on board and the flight was okay. We shared a taxi from RDU to Chapel Hill, going straight to the meeting site at our sister company. They gave us temp badges and as soon as everyone arrived, we dove right into the meeting. We went downstairs to the organic market, Weaver St. Market, to get takeout food and eat in their mini seating area for lunch. The company people joined us after a while as they had a company meeting since the northern location CEO was there. Back to work and knocked off at around 5pm I think. I checked in at the Franklin Inn and then walked a couple of blocks to Kildaire's Irish pub for dinner. Lots of people, those who weren't even working with us met up with us. I did my traditional work trip thing of not ordering alcohol with my meal and getting a separate bill, in order to make the eventual expense reporting easier. Figured out the room sound system so that I could play my mp3s through the ceiling speakers, but was in bed fairly early, not insinuating myself into the clubbing group.

Friday Nov 5, 2010

Walked back from my hotel to the meeting site for the 9am start. Work work work. We walked out to a tiny hole in the wall for lunch, good food and large pickles are all I remember. After we knocked off at around 5pm, I took the bus back to the Franklin and did a quick change to a skirt and headed back to meet up with Julien and JC for dinner. JC and I browsed the outdoor clothing shop nearby waiting for Julien and JC's girlfriend. Then we headed to the Spotted Dog for dinner. Wine and good pasta and a relaxed atmosphere. Julien convinced me to join him and his room mate for a concert at the university auditorium. Omara Portuondo was doing a concert and his room mate got me a student priced ticket. She and I were a bit dressed up, J was his usual casual programmer self. :) Awesome concert, though my beginning Spanish lessons weren't very helpful. The acoustics were great. It was raining a bit, we walked quickly back toward my hotel and past it and they left me at the wonderful Lantern bar where I had a drink and chatted with a fabulous couple of guys, Toby and Bart. They recommended Bow Bar on Rosemary, for tomorrow after work. Thank goodness for free water in my hotel room. :)

Saturday Nov 6, 2010

It was unclear if I had to be at the Algorithm core retreat at the university, so I got up at around 9am and made my way over there after a disappointing breakfast in the hotel. I found the room and my boss said that I wasn't needed (apparently he met with people at 8am for breakfast). I spent the day window shopping in Chapel Hill, ducking in and out of stores as the rain got heavier. Found super cute kids store and got some fire printed leggings for Will's son. Had a tea at an independent coffee shop. Had lunch at a bar I'd seen near Weaver St. Market. Tried on some dresses at one clothing store, but they weren't quite perfect, though the kimono one was tempting. I'd gotten a text about meeting up with the local people for dinner so I did that.
I had southern food at Crook's Corner, amazing hot chocolate at the Chocolate Door, a glass of wurtz at West End Wine Bar, and then peeled off from my co-workers and had a mezcaltini at Bowbarr (it was painfully hipsterish, I slid past having to buy a membership), and orgasmic persimmon pudding and a milk of human kindness cocktail after going back to Lantern. I talked with a cardiologist and a celtic guitarist at Lantern, sitting at the bar by yourself is a very cool experience when you can start random conversations!

Sunday Nov 7, 2010

Up with my phone alarm at 6am, the time change didn't bite me too badly.
Ran down to get my zero balance receipt from the hotel desk and as I was asking where the nearest ATM was, I spotted my taxi to the train station in Durham. The desk clerk said that it would be $20-$25 and I had that much with me, but I ran out and asked the driver if he took credit cards anyway. Yup, so I jumped in, but when we arrived I had a bit of a surprise when he called it in and got a quote of $35, I think the hotel clerk had never done that route by taxi.
The train station vending machine wasn't taking my money, even when I swapped a soft dollar bill for a crisp one at the ticket window. Once I boarded the train, right on time at 7:22, there was no snack car, just a free drink station, so I made myself sweet milky tea and tried to ignore my empty stomach. The nausea kept me from doing much during the ride, I dozed mostly. Saw kudzu starting to take over the trees by the tracks, but the view rarely opened out. Will and Grayson were waiting for me when the train pulled into Charlotte, we tried a few brunch places but had no luck with lines - I needed to eat within a half hour and the waits were looking to be a lot longer than that. We went back to his place and he made me fried egg and cheese sandwiches and I came back to life. G napped for a bit and I talked about game design and life in general with Will. Once G woke up we all went out to the grocery store to get supper food. Only one lady assumed he was my son - Will kinda floored me when he warned me it would happen, but I was glad for the heads up as it would never have occured to me and I'd have just blurted out someething inappropriate otherwise. :) I tried to help keep G distracted as Will cooked supper and we talked about recipes and cooking. He made a wonderful spiced chicken breast dish, with asparagus and noodles and pesto. We also shared some red wine and the conversation got sillier. :) Time was crunching a bit and I couldn't wait until Christine made it home from work, so Will drove me to the airport at around 4:30. Traffic plus a long security line had them paging me as I dashed for my gate, but the lingering effects of the wine kept me calm. :)
It was a quiet flight, again with the dozing but also a bit of reading. I came out into the sleet in Boton to take the T home (shifting to stay upwind of the smoker at the bus stop, no idea why someone designated that area for both uses :/ ). Unpacked everything and gave Cris back his laptop bag and was in bed by 11pm.

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