Wachovia? What's that?
I saw for the first time in my life this strange name on my picture in Richmond area, a few times. And I saw it many, many times later during my trip around the South.
Wachovia is bank holding company based in Charlotte, North Carolina; fourth largest in the USA based on assets and third based on client assets. The bank is very popular in the South. People keep there average $289 billion. Hmm... it was GDP of Poland in 1999, now (2004) it's over $430 billion.
FOR FOREIGN VISITORS?
If you are going to stay in states along the Atlantic coast from Connecticut down to Florida or in Alabama, Wachovia is a good choice. For what? For long time visitors it maybe convenient to purchase debit cards of Wachovia and avoid transaction fees by using numerous Wachovia ATMs. I think they would open me the bank account although with my Polish passport, driving licence, address and phone number... For US residents its easy online here.
My Citibank was unfortunately not that popular in the South like in the West, so I had to spend some $$$ for transaction fees in not Citibank ATMs and I couldn't check my account there.
Wachovia (pronounced wa-KO-vee-yah) is the Latin form of the name Wachau, region North Carolina settled by Moravians in 1753. The name honored the settlers' connections to the Wachau Valley along the Danube River (Austria, east of Wien).
Kidding around in front of the Krispy Kreme
If you didn't know any better, you'd think Matt worked there in his chic Krispy Kreme cap. Actually, that came with out doughnut order and I dared him to wear that as he boarded the plane the following day. He will soon have a similar photo of me on his Richmond page.
Carytown Watermelon Festival
They sure enough picked the right time of year for this festival. During the hottest days of August, nothing is quite like eating an ice cold watermelon. Some folks like the good buys from the vendors which only set up their tents for this event and from local established retailers. It started out as just a sidewalk sale because this is traditionally a slow retail time of year and, from there, it grew into what it's become now. It really got to be big when West Cary Street became closed to traffic during the event. A buck can also get you a slice of watermelon from the Richmond Shriners, who sold about 800 watermelons last year. All proceeds benefit children's hospitals throughout the country. For the festival, Cary Court is turned into a children's area where there is a mini fun fair for the little nippers. Festival planners added another stage to this year's event to accommodate the more than 80 musicians who will perform. Free parking is available on side streets as well as in two parking decks at either end of Carytown. Merchandise can cost anywhere from $1 for watermelon to $1,000 for jewelry. The 2006 watermelon festival was different in a couple of ways. First, it was milder than usual. In 2004 and 2005, I didn't go because it was too hot. Second, I met Congressman Eric Cantor and an old high school friend who was part of the live entertainment.
Baseball in Richmond
If you are in Richmond for a weekend during baseball season, you have to check out the Richmond Diamond and watch one of the Richmond Brave's games. The Richmond Braves is the AAA farm club team for the Atlanta Braves, and they usually don't do to well, which is probably a good thing for Atlanta because that means they have all the good players. Anyways, the stadium itself is pretty old, and is in really good condition. It is an open stadium and is really nice at nighttime because you can see the outline of the city outside the stadium. I am a huge fan of basebal, so naturally I recommend this hands down, but on a serious note, I would make a real serious effort to go to one of the games if you get the oppurtunity. You get a great rush from watching the game, and if you happen to get a close game, the pressure just tenses even more. It is nothing like seeing a sports event live, so don't forget about the Diamond on your next trip to Richmond. Make sure you eat before you get to the diamond because the vendors can be pretty expensive (Ex. $3 for a bottled water), and the Diamond grill is okay, nothing to brag about. Also if you are in town during 4th of July, no fireworks show in Richmond can beat the Diamond's. The best part is watching the game and then the lights go out and boom, boom, bam, fireworks are shooting off literally a couple of hundred of feet away. It is such a wonderful experience. No equipment necessary, except a glove if you want to catch a foul ball for a souvenir.
The Jefferson Hotel
The Jefferson Hotel opened in 1895 and has long been one of the city's most exquisite hotels. The hotel was constructed by Lewis Ginter, the son of Dutch immigrants, and a man who made his fortune in the tobacco business. He served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War, lost his fortune, then got rich again in the banking industry. In 1901 the hotel was damaged by fire, but was back in operation in 1902, though with a limited number of rooms. Finally, in 1907, the hotel was completely restored and reopened. Around the time of World War II, the hotel went into decline and suffered another fire. The hotel was restored in the 1980s then again in the 1990s, then after the latest restoration in 2000, the Jefferson Hotel won numerous awards and gained acceptance as one of the finest hotels in North America.
Eleven Presidents have stayed at the Jefferson, as have numerous writers, actors, athletes, singers, and foreign dignitaries.