Today Rick and I drove the 100 miles to Raleigh, state capital of North Carolina, with three main things planned for the two-day visit.

Winston-Salem__NC_to_Raleigh__NC_-_Google_Maps

On the way, we made a return visit to see a ‘Love Foundation’ friend of mine Robert Roskind in Carrboro. We’d met Robert for the first time on my U.S. trip at the same time last year.

Robert runs a small restaurant called The Oasis in Carr Mill, Carrboro where “tea, coffee, wine and wisdom” are served, mainly by Robert himself.

Robert is a well-known figure on the Reggae scene with strong connections to the Bob Marley family and is a powerful proponent of the “One Love” philosophy of Bob Marley.

We spent a very pleasant hour or so with Robert, had something to eat and drink with him and got introduced to kava, a plant from the South Pacific, the root of which is used as “an organic alternative to alcohol”, to produce a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties.

Robert serves kava as a relaxing drink and also sells chocolate bars containing kava, one square of which is said to produce long-lasting relaxing effects. I bought one of the chocolate bars in anticipation of a rough drive back to Winston-Salem the next day when heavy rains and thunderstorms were forecast. I ate a square of it at the outset of the journey and I think, but I’m not sure, that it helped me through the journey (the bad weather had passed over earlier in the day) but I certainly had a very good sleep that night!

We then headed into Raleigh in time to check into our hotel near the airport and then to go to the PNC Arena nearby for the ice hockey match taking place that evening. This was to be my first experience of major-league ice hockey, a National Hockey League (NHL) match between the North Caroline Hurricanes and the Dallas Stars teams.

We had tickets for seats in the third, and highest tier of seats at the mid-point of one side of the ice rink where we had an excellent view of the action. The rink looked huge from our vantage point, and it was surprising to see it on TV the next day to find that the rink looks much smaller from ground level!

Here’s what it looked like from our seats:

NHL-01

It was a good experience for me, not too crowded in the seating, not too noisy, a civilized, good natured occasion for all the family, good catering facilities, good toilet facilities, good parking facilities, altogether an enjoyable experience and that was even before the match started!

The match was exciting, and of course with the home team playing against the visitors from Texas, the crowd was very much partisan so that when the NC Hurricanes scored their first goal the crowd was in uproar. Unfortunately it all went downhill from there and the final score was Dallas Stars 3, NC Hurricanes 1. There was even the ignominious sight of the puck sliding slowly down the length of the rink into an open, unmanned goal at the very end when the timer hit the 0.00 and the match was over. Sad to see, really.

Here’s a link to a video of highlights of the match.

We weren’t there to see it, but the next night the Hurricanes played there again, this time against the Ottawa Senators from Canada, and won 3 : 2 with the final goal scored in overtime with the much larger crowd for the match erupting in joy.

Here’s a link to a video to highlights of the match.

 

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