My Chapel Hill

Sushi!

Sushi!

The Carducho (or Carducci)

The Carducho (or Carducci)

The arboretum

The arboretum

The Carolina Inn

The Carolina Inn

(delicious) Taco Truck

(delicious) Taco Truck

Did I mention Gelato?

Did I mention Gelato?

Mandey of Zog's w a broken finger

Mandey of Zog’s w a broken finger

The pool in the theatre!

The pool in the theatre!

Older posts might mention this, so please excuse my old age and incipient dementia. I want to tell you about Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, I tell people, is a village, a thriving, dynamic, diverse village, but a village nonetheless. It has the advantages of a village: everything is walking distance from everywhere, it is easy to make relationships, safety, $4 movies at the main street (Franklin St.) Varsity movie theatre, all this translates to community. On the other hand there is a thriving cultural scene. Just this semester I have seen: Wynton Marsalis with his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Andras Schiff playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations, L-E-V an Israeli modern dance company, Shakespeare’s Tempest and Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, both with a swimming pool built into the proscenium!, opera (UNC’s The Orpheus Diaries), an early modern Spanish, French and Italian concert, with period instruments! And of course the, for me obligatory Nutcracker ballet. If that was not enough, I have gone to a couple of fascinating conferences by top presenters, for example, one on Baroque Spanish Literature. And then there are always gigs at Zog’s, my favorite bar, that range from reggae to punk to New Orleans Jazz. Given my constant need for stimulation, Chapel Hill delivers. An example of how Chapel Hill fits me like a glove might be Sunday mornings. After my breakfast and coffee I walk to church which is always a rich a rewarding experience with the wise and funny Monsignor Wall. After mass I cross the street to The Carolina Inn, where I enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the cozy living room where I do some reading. Then I walk up the street to the Ackland Art Museum where I sit down in front of a painting to do some more reading. In fact I always sit down in front of the same painting: Madame de Villeneuve-Flayosc, a sweet 18th Century lady with whom I like to converse about the goings on in the Enlightenment. Finally, it is home for lunch, or if it is nice weather for a nice Rocinante ride to search for a nice lunch.

On another level, I have state of the art fitness facilities: gym, swimming pool, basketball courts, etc. There are nice restaurants, cafés and shops (being realistic, and keeping in mind that we are not in New York City). There is a planetarium and an arboretum, there are world class libraries. Best of all, I am so busy reading and working that what little time (and money) I have to spend, I know will be good!

Hallowed Boards

Wollen GymOnly a bit intimidatingThe RockHallowed boardsIt only took me a year to build up the courage to go down to shoot some baskets at the old Woollen Gym. I go there often but I head straight for the swimming pool. This time, at the cage, instead of asking for a towel, I borrowed a basketball. First surprise: every ball has a name, it is written with a Sharpie marker. The one I got, “The Rock” just also happens to be the nickname I have for my little sister Rocio, Rocky, coincidence? I think not. Then into the huge gym. There are about 20 courts and most of them were full. I knew enough not to try to play with anyone, as I suck, and I have not played with any consistency since I left Spain in 2004. So I kept going until I got to the very far end where the last six courts were empty, enough for me to make a fool of myself without embarrassing myself – or the school, too much.

I played around for an hour, breaking into a sweat, thinking of and missing all the great people that have helped me and inspired me in this game, visualizing the UNC greats that might have played on that same court: Michael Jordan, Rasheed Wallace, et al. A great physical and emotional workout, or anabolic cardio as Stjepan would call it.