Saturday, November 03, 2007

sweet home--for now--alabama

As part of my whirlwind October, I paid a visit to my darling brother in Mobile, Alabama a few weeks ago. Things have finally slowed down enough for me to post about it, but to be perfectly honest, I kind of enjoyed my bro continually checking for a post. The best part of being an older sister is toying with the little brats, isn't it?

Because I had a free voucher for United Airlines, I flew into New Orleans (they don't fly into Mobile) and my brother rented a car to come and pick me up with his roommate, Mark. We spent some time hanging out at the Riverwalk and I was thoroughly chastised for stopping to read historical placards around town. For the rest of the weekend, they made sure someone was always walking between me and any reading materials. And this behavior was coming from two people supposedly completing college degrees. They claim they don't read, which baffles me because I did an immense amount of reading to avoid math when I was in school. But if all goes well, University of South Alabama will give them diplomas, so maybe that's how it works these days.

They live in a lovely house Mark bought from his grandparents with a woodsy back yard and a kitchen three times the size of ours (my mother would be so jealous). It's so nice and peaceful. And so many trees!

The "Avenue of the Oaks" at Spring Hill College, where graduates get to parade after they've received their diplomas. Mobile has plenty of tree-lined streets, but this was by far the loveliest.

I can't say the skyline is much to brag about, however.

They took me on a tour of the area, then capped it off by playing touchscreen video games at McDonald's. I have to say, the concept of eating all Chicken McNuggets and then touching a screen 10,000 other people have touched with their licked fingers is kind of gross (and when the screen goes black between games, you can see all the grease on it, too). I used my knuckle, which is the excuse I'm sticking to for why I was so badly trounced by the boys at touchscreen minigolf. Besides, of course, the fact that those boys devote a considerable part of every day honing their video-game skills while the rest of us are wasting our days working.

On "College Football Day" (Saturday, to those of you who don't bleed the colors of your team) it was more fun to watch the boys scream and throw things than the actual players on one of their three tvs. My brother's ex and I had to practically tear him away to go to dinner, at Felix's Fish Camp, a place I've been hearing about for years.

Gorgeous location, right on the ocean. Even the underside of the restaurant was lovely.
And the food was just as good.

That happened to be the night when LSU and Kentucky went into triple-overtime, so my brother stayed in the bar area watching the game for an extra forty minutes. His ex and I spent the time sharing a plate of oysters and some great conversation. And I've got to say, she spoke more on that one day than I heard her say during the entire four years they had been together, and I liked her so much more than I ever did before.

After dinner, we picked up Mark and headed to Biloxi. Both Mark and my brother's ex had spent quite a bit of time there before Hurricane Katrina, and as we drove around they pointed out places they used to go to that are now piles of rubble or nothing at all. The gas station the ex filled up at every time she went to visit her grandmother was reduced to two poles sticking out of the ground, and her grandmother's house on Ocean Drive is now nothing but an empty lot. It was really sad.

And when we went to the Hard Rock Casino, they had a whole display of destroyed memorabilia. The first time they opened the place was on the day that Hurricane Katrina struck, and only a handful of items could be salvaged. But they've rebuilt, and it's a pretty flashy place.

A whole wall of famous guitars, costumes and other memorabilia from hard rockers through the ages.

New Orleans was devastated very badly, but it seems like the rest of the affected areas don't get nearly as much attention. I used to joke around with people who continually asked me what I was going to do about finding a job by saying that H and I would move to Biloxi and join the circus. But after I saw how hard it's been on the place even this long after the hurricane, I feel like I need to choose a new place to joke about. As of right now, I'm thinking Poughkeepsie. Is that a big circus town?

The next day, my bro and I headed back to New Orleans. He and I hung around the French Quarter and had beignets and special-blend coffee at Cafe du Monde and caught some awesome street performers. Then we headed out and shared a meal at the airport.

I've gotta say, it was a great weekend. My brother has come such a long way from the whiny tag-along he once was, and I genuinely enjoy his company (but don't tell him I said so). It was certainly nice to be waited on by him, and I really liked his friends. In the time since I've been home, I've caught myself counting down the months until he comes home after graduation. There's something I can't explain that makes me feel happy and safe whenever he's around.

But ask me again when he's been home for a couple months and you just might get a different answer.


justanothersarah said...

I LOVE Nawlins... my dog is even named Nola... glad you had a good trip!


omar said...

Sounds like fun! I've never been anywhere in that area of the country, though I have always wanted to go to New Orleans.

Jon said...

I've never spent much time in the south either. I wouldn't mind taking a trip myself. However, I will not, under any circumstances, eat any seafood. Will that be a problem?

Sphincter said...

My gosh, that street doesn't look real. Places like that still exist?

Glad you had fun.