Jan 25, 2011
With All-Star Week finally at hand, I'm reminded that more than a few visitors will be in town – especially those making the trek across the border from Canada. So with apologies to Frommer's and Fodor's, here's a handy guide for the hockey traveler heading south to Raleigh, NC, USA.
I'll start with a few fundamentals of geography.
1) It's not pronounced Ray-lee. Seriously, I heard this abomination over and over during the Stanley Cup runs in 2002 and 2006. It's Rah-lee. Learn it. Live it. Love it.
2) You're not in “Carolina.” As geographic locations go, “Carolina” hasn't existed for nearly three hundred years. Our friends from what is now South Carolina wanted to go their own way back then and, well ... we see how that worked out for them. Regardless, “Carolina” is more of an adjective than a place. (Unless you're a graduate of one of two major Universities, but that's another dispute the folks in SC tend to lose). It's acceptable to refer to the entire region as “The Carolinas,” but I'd avoid doing that during the All-Star Game.
3) Charlotte isn't anywhere near here. I'll let that one speak for itself.
4) There is no such place as Mayberry. We don't mind a good discussion about the “Andy Griffith Show” now and then, but we draw the line when we hear the entire state referred to as “Mayberry.” That would be like calling all of Canada “Windsor.”
5) Raleigh-Durham is an airport, not a city. Unless you're at Terminal A or B, it is impossible to be in “Raleigh-Durham.”
You may be tempted to try the local cuisine. Feel free to dig in, but ...
6) Don't freak out about the barbecue. It's just pork with vinegar and pepper. Give it a shot. You'll be glad you did.
7) Do not disrespect Krispy Kreme. I know Canadians love their Tim Hortons, just understand we don't agree with you. At all.
8) Hushpuppies do not contain dog or any other kind of meat. Why is the concept of fried corn meal so hard to grasp?
There are a few other things that will make for useful knowledge:
9) Toboggans are hats. Wool winter hats. You won't slide very far on one of our toboggans.
10) You will not find many references to Celsius or kilometers. Those measurements might as well not exist here. Our grocery stores do carry certain items in two-liter bottles, so we're not entirely against all things metric. But truth be told, I'd buy my Diet Mountain Dew in two-gallon allotments if I could.
Here's hoping this helps. Enjoy the weekend in our town. And thanks for sending us Rush, SCTV and Kate from “Lost,” though probably not in that order.
Oh, and thanks for the hockey, too. We're still not sure why you guys remained loyal to the crown during the Revolution, but since this is the closest thing to an invasion either of us can expect – Ya'll come see us!