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04/13/2003 Archived Entry: ""

As a sign that I should really not go to bed early as I wake up early, I began to ponder exactly how many people live in this area. See, it's common belief by a lot of the rest of the country that all of VA is kind of podunk...and by that I mean you're ten miles from your nearest neighbor or you're REALLY boonieville and have to drive to the post office to get your mail. *grin* Actually, most of the South except Florida gets that broad prejudice and, if you visit 3/4s of the state of VA, that general assessment is borne out. It *is* a rather sparsely populated region, especially further west. However, there are three regions of VA that are fairly heavily populated.

First is the area of VA around DC, the infamous NoVA (Northern Virginia). Majority of people who live there are somehow related to DC, obviously. This place is traffic HELL...I mean, I've been in a lot of major urban areas on the east coast...like Baltimore, Myrtle Beach (counts because you have stupid tourists!), Orlando, Philadelphia and NYC, and NONE of them come CLOSE to the hell that is traffic in NoVA. Roads loop around themselves and tie in a knot it seems...and if you come back a month later, the whole exit scheme on the highways has been changed. There are ten different roads to get to one place, but none of the signs mention that. Scary, scary place...and it's the one stretch of I-95 that we know is going to suck coming back from PA. It's a nice enough place and all, lots of cool stuff, but that traffic makes me run screaming in the opposite direction....to put it in perspective, one of my friends who at one point lived in NoVA drove in NYC like it was a walk in the park...and NYC isn't exactly a tiny little burg, ya know?

Then you have the state capital of Richmond and it's attendant counties. This has always been kind of a "meh" region for me. Traffic flows well, they have some neat things to look at and overall you can get stuff that you want. It just, doesn't seem like it has any charm to it. Crime seems really rampant in some regions (as with any city...but here it feels magnified) and all in all it feels like one of those places that's too big for what they've got, but doesn't have the room to expand...kind of like NoVA I guess, but on a smaller scale.

Finally, you have Hampton Roads. You'll never find it on the maps though, it's just a big lumping of a lot of places. It really is a shame too, it's just like NYC was before all the boroughs joined together to make the big city. There are something like 13 or so different communities smashed together in a very small area (If you want to get a rough approximation, get out a map of the US or VA....find the southernmost little penninsula hanging out...go from roughly where the main land mass starts and go to the south eastern corner of VA....that's *roughly* it). According to the census data from 2000, there are 1.5 million people living here. If military personnel and their families are not included in a census, that number is probably closer to 2 million (soldiers have wives and kids you know!). That number might not seem like much, but you have to remember that it's in a fairly compact mass...you can probably get from VA Beach (on the beach) to Williamsburg in under an hour assuming nobody has wrecked in the tunnel (which they usually *have* in the summer....stupid tourists). Plus, with so much of the population being affliliated with the military, we seem to get an awful lot of stuff that you don't find in other places. See, so much of the economy is based on the military that they get catered to...so if there's something you really love, it's probably here (or a close approximation thereof). The only downside to this is that they'll never merge into one city...these places are too proud of their heritage to do that. Hampton, for instance, is the oldest English speaking community in the country (that's still around at any rate...). It predates NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, just about any place in the US you want to name. As a result, they're reluctant to give that up to save money on police and fire, etc. Hence, you get a *lot* of duplication with stores and the like. I think within a fifteen minute driving distance there are 3 Wal-Marts, 2 Targets, 2 K-Marts...three or four Farm Freshes...three major shopping malls (tho one is probably on it's last legs) and innumerable little strip malls. It's really scary to stop and think about sometimes...because I don't even know all the region on this side of the water...and there's *tons* more on the other side (where the cities are even bigger). Traffic is another thing, it moves pretty well in Hampton Roads...sole exceptions being when the cities take it upon themselves to screw the roads up...which Hampton seems to *LOVE* to do now as there are *four* major road construction projects going on right now. Even then though, I can usually get from A to B with a minimum of fuss....just a whole lot more traffic lights (and I *will* have my vengance on the Seldendale drive light...bastich always turns red when I'm driving up to it).

It's easy to overlook this little region because none of the places really stands out on its own, but when taken as a whole, this is probably one of the coolest places to live. We have most everything, traffic flows well enough, you can get to most anywhere else you want to go easily and the weather, while extreme at times, does at least give you all four seasons. Sure, it sucks having insane temperature shifts...but then girls get to have fifty million outfits and actually have a *reason* why they have to have them. I know girls don't care about reasons, but at least that thought can console their significant others who have to shell out five hundred dollars a week in clothes. *wink*

Anyway, I've babbled on long enough now...THIS IS WHY I SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO WAKE UP EARLY!!! Toodles and Noodles!

Replies: 1 Unclean Mutant

Your city suuuuuuuuuuuucks!!! hehehee j/k. <3 to your city! I can't help that I live in the boonies.... at least it's quiet! And I can see the stars.... and I don't have to worry about cops.... and it's all... pretty!

Posted by Ally @ 04/13/2003 04:56 PM EST

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