Thursday, January 13, 2011

Charlotte Alternative Winter Break - Part II

As promised, I wanted to delve into the other things that happened on our trip that did not involve volunteering. First of all, the trip was quite the experience due to the extreme diversity we had --two Americans, one South Korean-American, two Chinese students, and one Indian Student. I am sure that every restaurant we went into had people wondering what brought that interesting combination together. I really enjoyed the time that I spent with my groupmates, and we all got along well (despite a few cultural differences). Combined, the six of us could speak 7 different languages!

Bank of America Headquarters
The first full night we were down there we went to downtown Charlotte to check out the sights. The city seemed very clean and had buildings that appeared to be a lot newer than what I am used to in downtown settings (not that I have experienced a ton of downtowns). BofA's headquarters was in town, which was also the tallest building in the city (of course, investment bankers....).

The Epicentre

View of Bobcats Stadium from Epicentre

The Group...minus me
The first night, we went to the Epicenter, which is a really nice part of downtown with a lot of nightlife. We didn't really hit up all of the nightlife, but we checked out an art gallery (below) and also ate at a pretty nice pizza restaurant. Everyone was pretty content just to check the city out and move around all night.

This painting was selling for at least 4K!
Basically, what we did for fun every night was check out a new cool restaurant. It varied from the Cajun queen, the local pizza place, a "ghetto" Chinese restaurant, and Don Pueblo's (below), which I am pretty sure was actually in South Carolina.
Quite the Meal
And, of course, the trip would not have been complete without some completely unanticiapted excitement. As I was waiting to get picked up by some groupmates about 6:20 on Wednesday morning, they called to inform me that someone had broken into our car. At first, I thought it was a joke, but then knew that they were serious! I knew that we had to take care of that, so three of us were unable to go to school that day. Various hold-ups ranging from the police to the rental car company did not allow us to resolve the issue until about 1:00PM that day.

I did meet a new friend while outside waiting for the cops....

And, fittingly, the house beside us was aptly addressed...

I actually spoke to 911 responders just to get someone on-site
6.5 hours and several 90s sitcoms later (Saved by the Bell, Boy Meets World, Full House, Golden Girls), we were back on the road with a new car. We were minus two GPS(es), so I am still not sure how that will all resolve itself....

Lastly, we left about 3:30PM from Charlotte on Friday afternoon, hoping that we could be home by around 1:00AM. As we entered the Smoky Mountains National Park, the snow began to come down - first softly, then heavily. After switching drivers, I woke up finding our car surrounded by fast-falling snow and a car moving about 40MPH. I took over the wheel to give the other driver a break, but we were going terribly slow and the roads were getting bad. An ambulance came up behind us, and a police officer notified us that we wouldn't be getting anywhere fast, as the roads ahead were causing many vehicles to spin in circles. I turned the bus around and found a hotel just outside of Louisville. Six people in one hotel room....I slept on the floor (pretty restlessly, I might add). We woke up, had breakfast, and made the 2-hour trip home - a little delayed, but safe.

It was definitely quite the experience, as all my other three ASB trips have been. I am glad I have had the opportunity to do this every year, because I have been put in many different situations and have learned so much with the experiences. Oh, and here are some pictures of where I was staying (with three 23-year girls, I might add).
My Bed
Kitchen/Dining Room...a little messy but liveable


  1. Great to have some photos to go along with the stories! What a diverse group...and what an experience! I'm hoping YOU weren't the one who made the kitchen "messy"...

  2. Loved the investment banker joke...and that you had a great time and made it home safely!

  3. love the post. nothing is ever just a simple trip, eh?!