After an hour of wandering, I stumble across Brightleaf Square, seemingly the only remaining retail operation left in the downtown area. It appears to be modelled on Boston's Quincy Market, but is less than a tenth of the size. A few restaurants, a small music shop, and many boarded-up failures.
I leave completely disspirited; I've never seen a city in such a state like this before. I wasn't expecting New York, San Francisco, or even Oxford, but I thought there would be something, if only a shop or two.
Travelling back, I decide to go the Southpoint Mall again. On the way, the bus passes the South Square Mall. When I arrived in August, it was having trouble competing with the two new shopping centres that had opened; now it's completely closed, and a wrecking crew is turning it into scrap. The inside of the mall is completely exposed; a pile of metal girders is growing next to the abandoned car park.
I hope Raleigh is slightly healthier.