At the very beginning of my American adventure, Mrs. C recommended me to visit Yates Mill which was supposed be to the right place for nature/landscape photographers. Her initial “We make sure you get there” became reality today and it was a well spent Sunday morning. The place was indeed beautiful and moreover, I could not have asked for better companions.
She picked me up at 9, we went through the bagel’s place drive-thru to get coffee for a poor scientist family with a broken coffee machine and then headed directly to our destination. The only complication was a road work close to the park but I did not mind the waiting at all. In fact, it provided me with a chance to admire the landscape in that neighborhood more than if we had just driven by.
Soon I was dropped off with two promises: to have a nice time and to see Mrs. C soon. I could see the lake almost immediately but had to wait for a while for my first pictures of it. However, this does not mean i was photographically fasting – there were some old iron gears and a reproduction of blacksmith store to take pictures off. Then, the lake’s turn came. It was beautiful and with so many plant species around. The landmark of the park, however, was definitely the restored water mill built in mid-1700s. It was a wooden building standing right at the dam. The mill wheel was not omitted of course and the nice scenery was supplemented with the monotonous sound of water running down the waterfall (i.e. over the dam). The mill was the place where Mrs. C, accompanied by her husband and daughter, joined me again. Initially, I stayed behind for a while, trying to get some more pictures but once we met again, we finished the circle round the lake together.
The mill was restored by a NC State professor and his undegrads years ago and they also built the blacksmith store that used to be there. The lumber used came from a local tobacco farm and I thought it was a nice way of recycling (both ecologically and historically) rather than just taking brand new lumbers. After people associated with NC State had done so much work there, the university eventually bought the property.
It was a pity I could not get in the mill (it was closed) and there apparently was at least one more hiking trail (as an alternative to an easy walk round the lake). I had not done enough studying prior to getting there, so I did not better experiment with that one. On my/our way I saw a turtle, bunch of dragonflies and some interesting flowers. The Yates Mill Park is definitely worth visiting. I think that the best think about it is that it takes only a short time to get around, so hopefully, people come repeatedly and at various times. It sure must be beautiful in the fall or at the time of sunset. Being there early in the morning might be the right time to meet some of the local fauna. According to the boards, it should be very diverse – from insect, to lizards and turtles, to migrating eels and finally, to numerous bird species.
It is a sort of irony but at such a beautiful place, I was seriously glad I did not choose to study Photography for the first time in my life. There were several commercial photographers taking family pictures and once one group left, the other group came to the very same spot to have their pictures taken. Having imagined I would end up doing something like that with my degree, made me rather sick. I am pretty sure all the joy would be gone. While my pictures cannot be considered art, I can live in the flight of fancy I do produce something artistic for a few days a year. And this I consider to be much better scenario!
It did not take us too long to finish the circle around the lake and as little I. would need her nap round noon, we went for an early lunch. A sushi option was considered for a while but fortunately, we went for a less healthy but in the end safer meal – cheeseburger at Five Guys. Poor little I. had to handle some more American unhealthy stuff but I do not think she considered it such a sacrifice of hers. Unfortunately, I did not pay enough attention. However, the chances are there indeed were five workers in the restaurant.
I missed this one but noticed several more things: huge potato sacks right at the entrance and peanuts at the very same place. The peanuts were still in the shells but for some reason they were entirely covered in salt. The French fries (lots of them) were saltier than necessary too. Having a little version of cheeseburger was a smart decision, thus I could enjoy the free food without feeling sick for the rest of the day.
I was dropped off at the house door at noon and decided to take a digestion rest. I used it to compensate for the salty stuff with few pieces of chocolate and to make a “home call.” While I was initially sure I would do nothing for the rest of the day, I was standing already at the bus stop before 3 PM. The destination? Downtown! I had no specific place worth visiting in my mind – I just hated the idea of being bored in my room. This short trip enabled me to take pictures of all the plants in front of the North Carolina Museum of History (as I did not have my camera with me the last time) and get my Raleigh T-shirt. Finally!
I did not expect the Saturday bus schedule to be different from the Sunday one, which turned out to be a wrong assumption, trapping me downtown for an additional hour. It was not bad at all. I discovered another church deserving a picture and had time to explore the City Market some more. It was not apparent when I walked by a week or so ago but now I know it is not a single building but rather a block of buildings. Most of it were restaurant (it starts being cliche by now but the Americans indeed require some good food whenever they are out for whatever reason, not even mentioning celebrations or festivals) but a couple of cloth stores were present, too. The best place of the area was the market. It was pleasing to watch the colors and smell the fresh fruit and vegetable. However, it would be a too high concentration of healthy stuff at one spot, so they offered roasted peanuts as well.
The very end of the duty was kind of a duty – groceries. I got pretty much the usual items, one more cream cheese (which seems to be one of the tastiest Food Lion products) and a tiny frozen pizza for some day in the future when I am too lazy or tired to cook. Saturday evening is probably the rush hour for student shopping. It was good in the end as thanks to such a crowd, my chances for getting on the right bus increased so much. It nevertheless sucked to wait for it for like half an hour. No complaining – the day when no more free bus rides will be available comes closer and closer.
It is extremely awkward, yet it asks for an online confession. The entire six weeks I was wrong about the duration of my internship. Assuming it would be eight weeks, I was feeling bad beginning Wednesday as I could see how little time there was left. Today I finally realized I was a week wrong – I still have three weeks ahead! Yay! This discovery was as exciting as the data from my first qPCR earlier this week!