Already I have new pictures from San Francisco, but as many of my friends have just come from there, it seems pretty lame to post them so soon. For now, I'm going to be talking about the place I spent most of my time in during my last trip to the States- Greenville, North Carolina.
I have to be honest, before coming to Greenville I was readying myself to be sneered at, but all in all, I can say that the people I encountered- from my fellow doctors to the patients to random people on the street- were mostly quite nice. The picture above welcomes you to East Carolina University, the third largest university in the state. Go Pirates!
If you're not into running or cycling or swimming (quite a few pools in the area), there isn't going to be much to do (watch a Pirates game?). I used the opportunity to "do as the Romans do" and engage in some physical activity, and at the same time support the Hospital that was kind enough to give me a chance to observe. I joined the second annual Run, Walk, and Roll to benefit the home rehabilitation programs of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. During my stay there I met more people on wheelchairs and prosthetic legs than I have in the rest of my 27 years of life. Some of them just happen to be the awesomest people on Earth, and I have some of their names etched on my heart. Anyway, doing the 1+mile, I managed an abysmal 12 minutes and 19 seconds (I think by this time I had gained a ton of weight already), but I managed to place first among men and even won a medal for it! In case you don't believe me, here's proof. :)
I also attended a party with the residents of the department of PM&R to show my solidarity (I baked some blondies for them too). Here we have fiery Colombian Carolina and her husband showing us a few Latin dance moves. I think I managed pretty well! (Given the hopeless situation of my feet being both left ones.)
Here's the receptionist for PM&R, Jamie, petting one of the host's dogs. He is one of said awesome people above. I wanted to give him this picture but I couldn't get it developed before I left. Besides, he might laugh because he's started taking up photography and I'm sure he can manage better than my dark shot here.
Okay. Carolina Pulled Pork. I don't know if I just ate at the wrong place- Parker's- but this was not as hot as I thought it would be (although it's reputed to already be one of the best in the area). It was just kind of sweet-and-sour but lacking any depth of flavor or real heat. The beans were also sadly overdone. The slaw was interesting, and the hush puppies were nice, but I couldn't eat a lot!
It's kind of strange but the first Indian restaurant I've ever eaten in was in Greenville. (Pause for gasp of disbelief from the foodie community.) We have Indian restaurants here in Manila, but I've never gone out of my way to go to one before. BIG mistake. Indian food is awesome and it pays to go to a dedicated one. A resident and I went to Dale's and we had lamb vindaloo, chicken sag, samusa, and garlic naan. I packed up the leftovers and enjoyed them the following evening! Very nice. And I had an even more amazing Indian meal in San Francisco- but that's for another post ;)
I feel a little funny posting this one because you all probably know Japanese restaurants that can run circles around Fuji Japan, but I have to give them credit for managing two families with 6 children between them, and a pretty darn good spicy crab roll.
One of the most delicious parts of my trip was not at a restaurant at all- it was a house party for a part-Filipino couple. Even though it was the Caucasian dude having his party, he's embraced the culture so much that his entire spread, save for the desserts and a platter of Southern fried chicken, was composed of Filipino food! I'm not sure I can enumerate everything but we had embutido (meat loaf), two pancits (bihon and canton), chop suey, arroz valenciana (sticky rice cooked paella-style), chicken with pineapple, pork afritada (stew in tomato sauce), two kinds of lumpia, bistek tagalog, pata tim (pork thigh in sweet sauce), and fried rice. Okay, okay, I just totally confused everyone- I hope I get to cook all these goodies for the blog someday. (Especially the embutido- that's one of my favorites.)
Before I left, my two host families took me to Wimpies, a seafood restaurant. It was a pretty slow night- I think there's usually a band playing. Of course, I couldn't resist ordering the scallops!
Popular among the university crowd is The Armadillo Grill, which has branches all over North Carolina. I ordered my perennial Mexican favorite, enchilada. Always good, I find :)
I was in Greenville during Labor Day, and I'm not sure how it happened but I ended up cooking two full racks of ribs with my red hot barbecue sauce and my pineapple upside-down cake. Unfortunately I couldn't get the kids to eat much of the ribs (if at all); they just wanted hot dogs. Oh well, more for the grown-ups, right? The cake disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Looking back, I'll always remember Greenville for the warmth of its people, the generosity of my foster families: my home in the Southern United States.