Home > Uncategorized > Chapel Hill, North Carolina (North of the Border)

Chapel Hill, North Carolina (North of the Border)

So here I am in the living room of Ben and Jen’s luxury apartment in Chapel Hill. It is nestled quietly behind Lowe’s and a soon to open Borders and right next to a gigantic Bible Church. The building is new, the apartment is spacious and lets in plenty of natural light. The air processor and cooler works splendidly and the ice machine in the fridge sometimes sounds like a gunshot, which is kind of cool once you get used to it. Supposedly the ceiling fan shoots sparks or some other such electrical mishappenstance, but I have yet to experience this.

So yesterday I left West Palm Beach at around 10 in plenty of time to reach my goal of getting to St. Augustine (the oldest country in America) by 2:00. I had no idea what I was going to do when I got there, but I did know that was the time I wanted to arrive.

Driving north on I-95 I ran into some small torrential downpours. It’s an odd thing having to wear sunglasses in the middle of a rain storm because the sun is shining brightly directly in front of you. The raindrops act like little lenses and have a blinding effect. It makes for some comfortable driving, let me tell you!

I did manage to pull into town at around 2:20. First stop was this little bookstore on the side of the road. They had a quite a selection of SciFi hardcover firsts, but nothing by Philip Dick, and I have a lot of books in the car, so I bought nothing. Then it was time to decide what the heck to see in the town.

My AAA book had a little map that made it clear where the visitor’s center was, so I checked that out. I had to pay 25 cents to park my car there! The book said that parking enforcement is a big deal in St. Augustine, so I put the quarter in the meter as requested. From the pamphlets and people there, I decided that the most me-appropriate thing there was the Lightner Museum.

What is this, you ask? Well, I’ll step back. Henry Flagler, famous Flordia guy, built two hotels in St. Augustine. The first one, the Hotel Ponce De Leon, closed in 1931 and is now Flagler College. The second one burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. The Hotel Alcazar, the second one (which still stands), was closed in 1931 and remained empty until Mr. Lightner bought it. Who is Lightner?

He’s some publishing guy from Chicago who, during the depression, bought other people’s collections of stuff. So this guy was a collector of collections. From buttons to matchbooks to crystal to paintings to Tiffany lamps to statues to clocks to furniture to toys to musical instruments to shrunken heads, you name it, he had it. And in 1951 he started this museum in St. Augustine. So basically this building is now full of stuff of all sorts. Do you know who this guy reminds me of? Me! I’d be just like that! Everyone get greatly depressed and sell me their collections cheap!! I’ll start a museum – I swear I won’t sell them on eBay.

I had also intended to visit the Castillo de somethin or other (that’s the official name), but due to renovations, it could only be seen at specific times and I as not there at one of those times. So I saw the outside of it (yay. old stones) and some aerial shots of it (it’s a big seaside fort by the way), but I did not get to take the tour. I did a little walking around this oldest city in America, but it was like being in a sauna. And I was not here for the health club, OK? So it was time to move on.

Back into the car and through more torrential downpours as I passed through Jacksonville. Although others have assured me it is a pit, it looks like someone planted this pit because there is a lot of new development there. It may still be a pit, however. I didn’t stop.

I finally made it into Georgia, where I was a little afraid to be, although probably without cause. You see, when I was a student (using the term loosely) in Atlanta, I may have bounced a few checks, and although I think I paid everyone back, it is possible (OK likely) that I missed one or two and I would hate to think there was an outstanding arrest warrant out there for me.

But anyway, driving along I-95 in Georgia, I saw some familiar signs. “WE BARE IT ALL” they said. So I called my Uncle Bert, told him he was going to get his wish, and 30 miles later I went to the Risque Cafe for dinner.

At the door I was told it was “Just like Waffle House except we have beautiful naked girls.” Well let’s compare.

Waffle House: Menu doubles as placemat. Check.
Waffle House: Breakfast on the left side, lunch/dinner on the right. Check.
Waffle House: Middle-aged waitresses who call everyone “honey.” Check.
Waffle House: Seats at the table or at the counter. Check.
Waffle House: Jukebox. Check. (OK although the Waffle House has songs written specifically about it in the jukebox like “Special Lady at the Waffle House” and “Christmas at the Wafflehouse,” this jukebox had only standard fare.)

Risque Cafe: A gift shop full of adult toys and novelties. Waffle House? Not. (A sign in the store said “All toys and novelties are for therapeutic or prescription use only.” Can you imagine a doctor prescribing a blow up doll?)

Risque Cafe: Girls trying to sell you a lap dance while you are eating a greasy burger. Waffle House? Not anyone I’ve ever been inside.

This Risque Cafe turns out to be a chain – they have locations in a few states, although some of them (like the one I passed in North Carolina earlier today) say “Topless” instead of “We Bare it All” although their website is still http://www.webareitall.com – they sell all sorts of merchandise, hats and t-shirts and mudflaps for 18 wheelers. They offer free showers for truckers as well.

Anyway, I ate my good (yes it was good) greasy burger and turned down the lapdance (look lady, can’t you see I’m trying to eat?) and then I did what I always do at strip clubs (or so it would seem) . . . I played pool!! This time I played with a couple of Navy guys down from South Carolina. (They have a website – joejoesfreakshow.com). I played like crap and won, then played great and lost. I hung around chatting up the guys (ok and the naked girls) for a while before heading out to find a place to sleep.

So I ended up in Richmond Hill where I made last night’s entry. And I swear before I leave Chapel Hill I will have caught up.

The next entry will include the obligatory stop at South of the Border as well as an explaining why this is so. I’ll also write about my adventures in Chapel Hill.

But first, I gotta watch the rest of this Sampras/Agassi match – this is ridiculous stuff!!

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