Posts Tagged ‘Jordan Lake’

Days 101-104: A baby, food, and some stars

September 12, 2010 1 comment

Location: Raleigh/Cary, NC

I was, indeed, a bum for the better part of this past week, but I managed to do a few things while I was in the Raleigh/Cary area.  Thanks to Saba and Aaron for hosting me in their house…I had a great time.  The whole time I was there I had a great weather, but it was indeed strange to see some leaves start to change color while it was 90 degrees out.

Speaking of the heat, I think I burned the bottoms of my feet walking out in the grass.  Sam apparently had things right – his last day there, the two of us went outside to get some exercise (we threw my medicine ball around).  As he put on his shoes to go out, I told him, “You don’t need shoes, Sam, we’re just going out on the grass.”  He replied, “Yea, I’m not a hippie, though.”  Burn.  But we were fine in Saba’s backyard in the thick green grass.  My issue came later in the week when I walked to the park behind the house, where the grass was not regularly watered and was brown, dry, and dying.  Running/walking on that grass apparently was a bit too much for the bottom of my feet (right below the toes).  When I returned to the house, I had a hard time walking.  Very peculiar.  Turns out that North Carolina heat and dry grass do not mix well for bare feet.  Lesson learned.

But that was barely a blip on my radar of bad luck for this trip.  No problems, and I continued to enjoy my stay in the fine state of North Carolina.

Bibi (Arabic for "Grandma") and Eli

One last shot of cute little Eli

On one afternoon, I took a drive to the Jordan Lake area, which was about 45 minutes away.  They had a few hiking trails through the forest that seemed worth checking out, and it was not disappointing.  Walking in the woods was especially nice given how hot it had been, as the canopy of trees made the air much cooler than it really was.

island of trees on Jordan Lake

there was plenty of wind for sailing

I hiked for about three miles in the woods.  I could have gone longer, but I seemed to have an uncanny knack that day for running into spider webs with my face (fairly unpleasant), plus I was able to get out of there shortly before it started  to rain.

I hung out with Jen for my last few days in the area, and we had a good time checking out some local eateries (by the way, if you are in the Raleigh area, “Vivace” is a great restaurant) and relaxing.  One of the nights Jen cooked up a great Tuna steak dinner.  Absolutely delicious.

On Friday night, the two of us drove out to Chapel Hill where we were going to catch a couple shows at the Morehead Planetarium on the campus of UNC.  I haven’t been to a planetarium in what seemed like ages, and Jen hadn’t since grade school, so it was perfect timing.

Morehead Planetarium with a giant sundial in the foreground

Another view of the sundial

The sundial had a couple sayings written on the outer edge of the circle, one of which I particularly enjoyed: “It is always morning somewhere in the world.”  I suppose it’s a good saying to remember on those neverending days that seem a bit dismal.

I mentioned Jen and I were there to catch a couple planetarium shows.  The first one was a movie presentation called “Black Holes: Journey to the Unknown.”  Great show.  It explained the history of our understanding of black holes, as well as demonstrating with cool effects how black holes work.  I especially liked how the film demonstrated the gravitational lensing effect of black holes (e.g. a black hole’s gravitational pull is so strong that it would bend the background light if one passed in our line of sight, like a lens).  Here’s a picture from to demonstrate:

The next planetarium show we caught was called “Carolina Skies.”  That show explained the various constellations and stars one would see looking up at the summer sky from the Chapel Hill area, and was not a movie, but rather presented live by someone from the planetarium (I imagine she was an astronomy student…what a cool perk of studying at UNC).  It was great to get a refresher on the night sky and re-learn some of the constellations (my memory has gotten hazy over the years).  Another good show.

Friday was my last full day in the area, as the plan for Saturday would be to get to Newport News, VA before the end of the day.  Thanks to Saba, Aaron (and little Eli), and Jen for such a great time.