Monday, May 4, 2009

City of Durham

As the last stop on our GSE visit, the city of Durham planned a schedule to ensure it would be as unforgettable as all the others.

Our first full day was a day of vocational visits, which was topped off with a night at the baseball - Durham Bulls vs Charlotte Knights, and of course with the contacts our Rotarian hosts have we were hosted in the owner's box, with luxuries stretching from haircuts (yes, there is a resident hairdresser in the owner's box!) to beer and hotdogs.

The Bulls won convincingly, inspired I'm sure by their mascot's visit to the box where Kel became his number one fan.

Throughout the game we kept close tabs on the North Carolina Hurricanes ice hockey match, which still had less than 10 minutes to go when we had to leave the baseball. A mad dash across to Tyler's Taproom in the American Tobacco Complex allowed us to see the Canes score to level the game, followed very quickly after by a match winning goal that saw the team progress into the next round of the championship. There was much rejoicing!

The following day we crammed a lot in: breakfast and tour at North Carolina Central University, tour of Research Triangle Park and the Federal Environment Protection Agency, presentation to RTP Rotary Club and a tour of Duke University. My host Gaston and his colleague Sam ably guided us around Duke, including the magnificent Duke Chapel, where Gaston tried to kill us by leading us up the long spiral staircase to the top of the tower. While not all made it to the top, we were pleased that all made it safely back to terra firma. Kel had opted to miss the Duke tour as she had scheduled an additional vocational visit (couldn't get enough?). The evening saw us return to Tyler's Taproom where we had a great night with local Rotarians.

The very tall Duke Chapel

Another full day followed: a 7am breakfast presentation to Durham Sunrise club, followed by a brief visit to Trinity College. We went on a walking tour of downtown Durham, which has basically been reinvented in the last 5-6 years, with a lot of the old tobacco warehouses being converted into retail, commercial and residential premises. From what we've heard, Durham has come a long way, and the recent addition of a Performing Arts Centre would indicate the progress is continuing. It has a great feel about it.

Views of the American Tobacco Complex in Durham

After our walking tour we did our 15th and final GSE presentation to the Southwest Durham Club. It was a strange mixture of sadness and relief completing the final presentation - after 5 weeks we've become very comfortable (and rather good!) presenting it to a room full of strangers.

The afternoon was taken up with bowling, shopping at the mall and then a beautiful meal (complete with terrible karaoke!) at Charlie and Jane's house.

The team proudly showing off their bowling shoes

Our stay in Durham ended the following day, as did our GSE. After last minute shopping, packing and the like we sat down for a debrief with the brilliant GSE team from NC: Chair Kaye and Coordinator Mary. This was followed by a beautiful farewell dinner (complete with great Aussie wines) hosted by Phil and Laurie. And just as quickly as it started, the GSE was officially over.

I'm sure others will write to acknowledge the efforts of everyone in NC for making this such an amazing experience, but on behalf of the team I'd like to say thanks to everyone we have come in contact with. You have all be so generous, so welcoming and we have had a brilliant time.


Anonymous said...

A great blog Tim, especially the last paragraph of thanks which expresses just how I feel.
I'll add my own comments when I get my suitcase which got lost in dallas, en route to calgary. But That's another story.

Tim Kelly Scott and Corey, keep safe & do email our team of your adventures getting back home.

love Y'ALL
'Den Mother'

phil hutchings said...


Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog Tim. Kel is the biggest sponge that was ever made. Boy I like the Yoga moves from you two showing off your Bowling shoes, those visits to the gym must have done you the world of good Corey.
Safe trip home to you all and I know it is only a few hours until we see you again and you will be home before you read this but have been a bit slack the last couple of days. Mares