The weekend alternated between the standard "I'm having a good time here" and the sadly usual "Oh God, I'm a social misfit — I should probably just throw myself off the top of the building and do everybody a favour." This is why I'm so much fun to be around, people. Smiles and existential crises, all for $37.
We arrived in two groups; nine of us on Thursday night, and the French contingent of five arriving late on Friday. It turns out that there's not a lot to do in the Outer Banks. But! But! They do have the largest lighthouse in America. We visited that on Friday, to discover that a) tickets to climb the building were $4, and more importantly b) the lighthouse had only reopening yesterday after a year of renovations, so all the tickets had sold out. Rishi was undaunted by this, and sweet-talked one of the wardens into letting us in for free ("We're international students from Chapel Hill. We've come all this way just to see the lighthouse" and so on).
For those reading at home: yes, I did climb up the lighthouse. All 208 feet. None of the others knew I was scared of heights, but soon found out as I started to fall apart. They were very supportive and helpful, and so I managed to take this picture:
That was probably the high point of the weekend, actually. That was followed by the extremely uncomfortable part of the day where the girls cooked the evening meal (I helped wash up, set the table, and take things out of the oven, but I felt very guilty).
And then the French people came. Which was the signal for me to retreat back into the shell; Sona and I were the only two there who didn't speak multiple languages, so we were left out of a lot of the conversation (me moreso, due to the normal situation) until later on in the night, when Rishi and Shafaq took pity on us. Shafaq got quite drunk that night, and treated us to some authentic Bhangra dancing. Yes, I know how that sounds, but it was amazing to actually see somebody do it in person
Saturday was a very short day. Due to people not going to sleep until about 5/6am, we didn't get out of the house until three in the afternoon. At this point I suppose I should mention something about the weather. It's only traditional of course. Three words: English Bank Holiday.
We're now going to take a break while I get control of my breathing back. And, as I've already written the final paragraph, I'd just like to point out that the first item cannot be emphasised enough. Oh, have a look at the house that we stayed in.
Anyway, yes, the weather. That's what the English talk about, when we're not enslaving half of the known world (yes, just to add the weekend's woes — English White Guilt. Did I mention that I'm a hopeless case? I did? Good. So, we'll move on then?). It started out fairly sunny, but as soon as stepped onto the beach, the sun went away, and the rest of the trip was spent under a gray cloud. Of course, as soon as we left, the sun came out again.
Rishi decided that Saturday, therefore, would be the best day to visit the sand dunes. Admittedly, they were impressive, but with the gale-force winds, it was like someone had transported the Sahara to the North Pole. Have a look at a picture:
Saturday night itself was fairly low-key, as supplies of alcohol had been drained to dangerously low levels. As I said, not being able to speak French, Portuguese, or Spanish was just one of a myriad of reasons why I felt slightly isolated (This is possibly the worst travelogue in the history of Man, but I want to point out that I don't actually regret going, as spending Easter alone in Chapel Hill didn't sound like an intriguing prospect. And hey, I seem to be able to touch-type. Now, back to the story, wherein Ian doesn't do a lot and goes to bed at 2am. Oh, that is the rest of the story. Erm. I think I should probably close the bracket sometime soon. Okay, here it comes).
The journey home started off nicely, as the sun decided to make a welcome reappearance, but this soon changed. About two hours into the trip back, we were pulled over by a police car. Remember, we're in the South, Sona (who was driving) is Amercian-born, but is of Indian decent, and we're all students, who are obviously no-good liberal communist-supporting drug-abusing hippies. It was not pleasant. Especially because he kept avoiding Sona's questions; it took him three attempts of asking to find out what speed he was going at, and he refused to be identified beyond "Trooper Williams". Sometimes, it seems, stereotypes can be true. Not the best way to end a holiday.
Things to remember from the weekend: no matter how bad you're feeling about yourself, there's always a way to feel worse; "over there" is possibly the worst thing you can say to a person who is legally blind; trust your clothing labels over Rishi's advice on trouser length; North Carolina police officers are not people you want to trifle with; if someone can't see, youwill be invisible if you don't speak, and never, never attempt to buy pizza if the group is six or larger.
Final group shot: