Stepping off the plane in Buffalo yesterday it was clear that I had reentered a much chillier world than then one I had left at 6.30am that morning. There has to be about a 20-degree (Fahrenheit) difference in temperature between North Carolina and Northern New York.

I brought back a bunch of great “souvenirs” from the trip and a few not so welcome ones as well. Before anyone bitches about all the heat and sun that I enjoyed, I should note that one or the lesser welcome reminders from the weekend is the great sunburn I picked up. Strangely none of the shops I visited while in Carolina carried sunscreen. Perhaps it was a “get-the-yankee” plot: as soon as they heard my accent they hid all the sunscreen and maps (driving to the festival we got a little lost. I went into a gas station to ask for a map… they didn’t have any. Mind you, this wasn’t a small gas station but rather a Mobil with a full mini mart. They did however have a HUGE selection of chew, snuff, cigarettes, cigars, loose tobacco and other tobacco products I’d never heard of… Sir Walter Raleigh would be proud… but I digress).

Another souvenir I brought back was a cold. Thanks Glenn, it looks like you got the last zing in after all. It’s not too bad, but it’s pulled me off my game. Last night I “limped” through a martial arts class. It was a bad class for a couple reasons. First of all my brain was just not firing at it’s usual rate thanks to the cold. So I ended up getting caught in the right calf with a knee. Not only is that going to leave a great bruise, but it also left me with a great “charlie horse” that I’m still feeling today. But mobility is highly overrated anyway. Then we worked pak and backfist into multiple combinations. A “pak” is a Chinese slap block applied against the mid forearms. I learned a new equation last night:

Slap + Sunburned Forearms = New Pain

But before I ask for cheese with my whine, I have to say that all of this was worth it for the trip I had. Not only did I get to see my brothers, but I also got to experience great music and North Carolina was absolutely beautiful. We spent Sunday hiking in the Blue Ridge Moutains and it was just breathtaking. The memories definitely outweigh any current problems I have as a result of the trip.