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Old 12-24-2009, 02:04 PM
 
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Being relocated from sunny Southern California to Charlotte, NC for work and I have tons of questions (I've never been to NC, or any of the South)! I'd grately appreciate any and all advice I can get.

- I'm making it a roadtrip, hoping to stop in (for various reasons) Albuquerque, NM; Dallas, TX; and Atlanta, GA. Are these stops too far apart for a roadtrip (I'm hoping to make it a 4 day trip)? How are the road conditions and weather during late January on the I-40 and I-20? What kind of motel options do I have and what are the average costs for a 2-2.5 star motel?

- How is the cost of living in NC? Taxes? Rent? The office is going to be between Pineville and Matthews, so I was thinking of finding a one bedroom apartment or condo near there. What's there to do around that area? How about closer to downtown? What do people do in Charlotte???

- What should I be expecting when I get out there? (Any other California to NC transplants have advice?) How are the people like? What kind of food options do I have as a pescetarian? (I LOVE my baja californian mexican cuisine and will dearly miss good Chinese and Taiwanese food (P.F. Changs is overpriced crap IMHO and orange chicken is NOT real Chinese food)). What should I expect as an American Chinese in the South (I'm not overly sensitive, but should I be at all worried about things like.. the KKK? Sorry if I sound super ignorant, but I've never been south of Washington, D.C. on the East Coast. My idea of south is Mexico :P)


I know there are a ton of questions and I'm not expecting all of them to be answered by one person, but any advice would be amazing! Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-24-2009, 02:46 PM
 
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Default welcome

Dear anniesayshi- welcome to Charlotte. Don't know about travel from CA to Atlanta, you'll take I-85 from Atlanta to Charlotte in about 4 hours. I'd be surprised if you get any snow, but you never know. If you do then everything comes to a halt. Southerners don't do well in snow. Lucky about where you're job will be. The morning traffic into downtown Charlotte is awful. There is a lot of housing, apt/condos along highway 51, lots of shops, really most things you need. That area is part of south Charlotte and and a lot of people use 51 as a cut off point, as to whether or not one lives inside or outside of 51. It is a very safe area and the schools are considered very good. Don't know if you have kids or not, but its good for resale. About the KKK: I've been in Charlotte 25 years, the south all my life and have yet to see anyone in a sheet and have never met anyone who ever said anything about them. Sometimes would see stuff on the news, but really not an issue here. As to you being Chinese American, that too is not an issue here. Charlotte is a large city with a lot of diversity. As to Chinese food, there are a lot of places here, alot of different ethnic cuisine. Charlotte has it's issues like anywhere else but it's in a great location, 4hrs. to the beach, 2 to the mountains, a lot of direct flights out of here. A lot of cultural and entertainment venues. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-24-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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where are you in CA? I am also relocating from CA (palm springs) to Charlotte. Just a couple months after you in march.

As for the road trip, I did it in march 4 yrs ago when I moved from DC to Palm Springs. The only issue I see you maybe having is snow from Flagstaff to Albequerqe (assuming that is how you are going 10 to Phoenix, 17 to Flagstaff and then 40). Also, from Flagstaff all the way through west Texas expect some very strong winds.
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Old 12-24-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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I don't think you will have any trouble at all as there is a significant Asian community in Charlotte based on my conversations and by the number of local Asian establishments in the city. Same for the food as there are endless numbers of very authentic places. There are restaurants and shop where you won't find many non-Asians. You probably have more to fear from the KKK in California than anywhere here in Charlotte.

I am thinking that a 3 night drive from California is going to be a bit on the tough side, but it is doable. Your issue with the winter weather this far South (and East of the Miss.) will mostly be when you cross the mountains depending upon your route. I-20 to I-85 should keep you out of the mountains. I-40 is a prettier trip but it does go though the mountains around Asheville and that route is subject to snow and ice. The NCDOT does an excellent job keeping it clear so unless it is really bad, you should be fine even that way. Watch the forecasts and it looks clear you should not have any trouble. It is cold in Charlotte in the winter, but we very rarely have any frozen stuff.
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Old 12-24-2009, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Inactive Account
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I've driven from Greensboro N.C. to Southern Cal a few times and I would call it a 4 day trip on interstates with good weather.

Winter is more of a problem in the midwest than here. I have encountered snow and ice in Oklahoma, and needed to veer south into Texas/NM to find safe roadways. When NC has a snow, the roads get salted or plowed reasonably quickly, and they stay dry. In the midwest, wind blows the snow all over the roads again...
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:09 PM
 
Location: headed back to Texas
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I moved here from Amarillo TX in July. January can be a really snowy time of year and parts of I-40 (just east of ABQ) will close to the just west part of Amarillo. Yes, they do have equipment to deal with snow on the roads, but that stretch of highway isn't plowed at all.

I can tell you some touristy things to check on on the drive through Amarillo to DFW. (originally from DFW area- so know that area fairly well).

We made it here from Amarillo with 2 overnight stops (Sallisaw OK and Knoxville TN).

(We lived in Ventura County before we lived in Amarillo... eat all the Rubio's that you can before you get here. We have heard of a place that is similar- but haven't tried them out yet.)
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:22 PM
 
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Relocated from SoCal in Sept08. Came from Calabasas in the San Fernando Valley area. Here's my take on the issues:

There are some areas and drives with traffic, but this relates more to commuters traveling to the city for work and is primarily due to the infrastructure of the roads than the number of people. It absolutely doesn't compare to how bad SoCal is with traffic.

Food: You will likely be disappointed in your fresh mexican food options. No Baja Fresh, no Rubio's, etc. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact there are multiple Chipotle's around this place, which I personally think is on par or better than any of the above. As for ethnic food, there are plenty of places of all types out here. Not the variety of SoCal but pretty impressive nonetheless.

Last winter's weather was awful and was "freezing" cold (to me) for several months. Good news is, that seemed to be an outlier as this year has been pretty moderate (or maybe I've just acclimated).

Cost of living is certainly cheaper. I pay less for premium gas than i did for 87 in SoCal, and rent is markedly less. My rent for a 20-30 year old two bedroom 1 bath apartment in Calabasas was 1700/mo whereas in Charlotte I have a penthouse floor relatively new apartment in the downtown area with a skyline view for 1400/mo.

As for being close to the mountains and beach, well....I suppose compared to other areas it may be, but certainly doesn't compare to SoCal where you are 20 mins from beach and 45 from the mountains. Anyway, all of that said, I truly like Charlotte, and think it has a TON to offer, and the best thing about the town is most activities, events, places are reasonably affordable and accessible, meaning you can attend things without having to know somebody on the inside.

Good luck with your relo, I'm sure you'll be very happy.
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Inactive Account
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Charlotte doesn't have as much of the Middle Eastern presence of southern Cal. I lived several years in Anaheim and got accustomed to the cheap, but tasty Lebanese pizzas available there ... plus the authentic falafel and shawarma chicken wraps that you could find all over SoCal.

Baha Fresh had a few points open here for a while, but they did not fare well and closed up. We are getting more Panda Express points lately.

I think Rubio's will show up at some stage. Raleigh and Charlotte have the demographics to support it, I think.

We don't have IN-N-OUT here, but there is a chain called "Five Guys" which is similar and open almost as late.
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Old 12-25-2009, 12:22 AM
 
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Thanks for the advice guys! Keep 'em coming!I'm coming from a small suburb outside of LA, so I'm used to suburban living (don't always enjoy it, but I can deal with it). Almost 23 years old with no kids and would really enjoy meeting other young professionals. Not too big on religion, so can't connect at church. I really enjoy my 24 Hour Fitness centers, but see that they don't exist in NC, but I also see that Charlotte is big on outdoor activities. Sad about the lack of Rubio's and Baja Freshes, Chipotle is good, but definitely not the same!Any good volunteer organizations to join? Any groups catering to the young professional over there?Thanks again for any advice!
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Old 12-25-2009, 01:08 AM
am2
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
413 posts, read 796,358 times
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charlotte doesnt have that great of mexican food but lots of good italian joints and pizza parlors here. also, if your into nightlife, there is alot of cool bars and clubs.
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