Southern pace of life. Truly Julie in the historic town of Swansboro.I have many flaws, but one that concerns me the most is my inability to relax. People…I had shingles this year because I ran myself ragged. True story. Every trip I’ve ever taken has been jam packed with sightseeing, scuba diving, flea market shopping, etc. So, when I took a trip to remote Emerald Isle, a sliver of an island just south of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, I was worried. I didn’t know if I could adjust to the Southern pace…but thankfully, I was wrong. I reveled in the simple pleasures of life: friends, good food, plenty of sleep (a first in 8 years!), watching the pelicans fly, a cute little girl building a sandcastle around her grandma, sunsets without city noise…the list goes on. All of this was just two weeks ago, pre-Hurricane Irene. Like so many East Coast areas, Emerald Isle was hit hard. One glaring example of this was the collapse of the beloved Bogue Inlet Pier, which was built in 1957. Hard to believe, I was splashing around under the pier just two weeks ago…and now….well, it’s nearly gone.
I don’t know what this surfer was thinking facing Irene head-on like this, but I can say with relief that no one lost their life on the island. Despite the staggering damage, I know North Carolina will be just fine because of the amazing human spirit there. Our car broke down in a parking lot one night…and a perfect stranger ran around the near empty lot for half an hour locating jumper cables for us. It may be a slower rhythm of life…but when crisis hits, whether it be a dead car battery or an unforgiving hurricane, the collective effort of the South will amaze and warm the heart of any city girl:)
Justin, the parking lot hero! This happy grandma brings me instant joy! Find more southern charm in the picture gallery below.
I’m writing this post just an hour out from when the winds of Irene are supposed to kick up. With the mayor urging people to stay indoors Sat 9PM to Sun 9PM, I thought it’d be ok to walk around 6PM-ish to grab pictures of an eerily empty Soho (& more honesty to grab a solid meal before resorting to snacks).
Mayor Bloomberg said to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, and it seems many stores heeded his message. After all, we are experiencing many firsts with Irene. In an unprecedented fashion, the mayor issued a mandatory evacuation of all those living in Zone A (low-lying areas such as Lower Manhattan). And for the first time in its 100-year history, the city shut down the subway and bus services as of noon today.
H&M is one of the many stores with stacks of sandbags outlining its doors. Other businesses boarded up their windows. But in true New York-ness, you find people from all walks of life dealing with situations quite differently. In the thick of hurricane watch, there was a dance party at Felix restaurant. It’s always been known for that European pop-your-collar scene, but at a time when families are checking into shelters…a bit obnoxious.
Now, I’m not saying Irene should have you sulking at home, but an all out dance party? I worry about how all these drunk people will stumble home (catch the video here). I have a guilty confession of my own, though. While most are probably boiling ramen noodles at home, I was able to dine on fine sushi. Here’s another city first: no freakin’ line at Tomoe! I owned the place. I have pictures in the gallery to prove this epic, rare event. And Irene, if you happen to be reading this post, please know that while this is the toughest city on earth, we have gone through enough hardships. Please make this a breeze.
With fondest respect for Mother Earth,