Charlotte

I spent election night en route to Charlotte on a business trip.  This was good, since I didn’t have to hear the Democrats in the office gloating the next morning.  (The biggest Democrat in the office is a Browns fan; it is good that at least one day this fall he got to cheer for the winner.)  It was also good that the hotel had no bar, so drowning my sorrows in despair at the prospect of an incoming Obama administration was not an option.

Anyhow, we had just a bit of time between finishing our business and catching the plane back home, so my co-worked and I decided to meander about Charlotte for a while.  We drove around the Lowe’s Motor Speedway (too bad I had a rental car, and an over-developed sense of responsibility), and then we passed the Phillip Morris headquarters.  My co-worker, who had recently given up smoking, shouted “Bwa-ha-ha” and “@%#^ you Marlboro Man” out the window in a triumphant voice.

After that we just meandered around town.  The big news around there was Billy Graham’s 90th birthday, which was on November 7.  He was born near Charlotte, and Route 85 is named the “Billy Graham Parkway” in that area.  (I once heard him speak in 1984, but that is another story.) 

The most notable thing about the city is that it is very vertical.  Imagine taking about 1/4 of the center of Pittsburgh, with it’s stadium and large skyscrapers, and surrounding it with vast areas that look a lot like Peach Street.  There isn’t much of a transitional are between center city and suburbs.  There is probably a reason it was built this way, but it does look odd.

The American strip mall landscape is pretty much the same everywhere, so many of the restaurants and stores were the same, but it was interesting to note what was different.  On the edges of town, there were a few sections where many of the businesses were geared to Spanish speaking customers.  In most cities I have visited, Spanish speaking areas are deep in the city.  Here, they are closer to the suburbs.

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