Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Visit Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill North Carolina

I forgot to say earlier how much I like Raleigh. I’ve been there many times, both in public and in private. I’ve also been to Durham and Chapel Hill. With a bus. There is this Tri-State bus service connecting these three towns.

I’ve been to Chapel Hill many times. Not really because it’s the home of the University of North Carolina, but because my friend Harry Wayne Casey lives there. He’s a musician. You probably heard one of his songs. He used to be in a band called KC and the Sunshine Band. They were big in the seventies. I visit him often. As often as I can. I always tease him about visiting him in his log cabin. He’s a Republican.

So that’s the reason I know these places so well. I remember one night and this is many years ago, I went to see him, but he wasn’t home. There were no buses and I didn’t bring my wallet so I tried to walk from Chapel Hill to Raleigh. Big mistake. After a few miles, I couldn’t go on anymore. I tried to hitchhike, but I found no buyers. I gave up. It was extremely dark. People living in New York don’t know how dark rural areas are. The crickets were chirping, I remember them very well. My old friends the crickets. Since I was in the middle of nowhere I decided to go into the shrub and sleep. I did. It's surprising how easy I fell asleep. I mean. In the middle of nowhere. I had no fear whatsoever. Youth.

Next day I woke up, it was cold, but sunny. I was wet. It must’ve rained during the night and I slept right through it. I was soaking wet. Anyway, it was early in the morning, I managed to catch a bus and I went back to Raleigh to my hotel room.

I haven’t been in Raleigh in a long time. What I mean is, I haven’t been there walking around town for quite a long time. As president and former president all you get to see is hotels, limousines and hotels. So my memory is a bit hazy. I remember Raleigh quite well though. There is a statue of president Polk in front of the State Capitol.

By the way president Polk is the one, who declared war on Mexico and annexed Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Next to it is the business center with all the banks. If you walk from the Capitol to the business center, if I remember right, the central bus station is to your left, near by. Very close by is a McDonald’s I remember very well. I used to sneak out of my hotel room to go stock up on fast food there.

Still facing the business center with your back to the Capitol, I think the police station is to your right. It’s next to a major road. If you walk from the Capitol to the Business center and keep on walking you come to a neighborhood with dilapidated houses. I remember looking at these houses, but this is years ago, and thinking what beautiful old houses they were and how with a little TLC these houses could be turned into a thriving new neighborhood. I don’t remember people living there. I was there at night.

I told the mayor at the time, he should give young couples some incentives to buy these houses and clean them up. I don’t know whether he did so or what happened to the neighborhood. I wish I could’ve taken a ride on the bus again like I used to be able to do. It would’ve been a lot of fun.

By the way if you know what happened to this neighborhood, e-mail me. Include your name so I can post the responses here for all to see. If you’re from Raleigh or Durham or Chapel Hill e-mail me and I’ll ask Bobbi to put your e-mails up here too.

R, D, CH, I have a lot of good memories.