November 15, 2009

It seems I never wrote about my first trip to the Deep South last year. This surprised me because it definitely was something new. Now after being in Mobile, AL for 11 days, I guess it’s better late than never. Besides, I experienced my first hurricane/tropical storm (Ida). I don’t think I’ve ever so avidly watched The Weather Channel before. And I’m not complaining, by the time it reached Alabama, it was clearly more storm than hurricane – lots of wind, lots of rain.

But one thing I love about the South (or what I’ve been exposed to here) is the friendliness. Unbelievable – which says a lot since the Midwest is pretty friendly. It’s nothing compared to the South. I think every single person I passed the entire time I was here (at the hospital, at the hotel, at restaurants, at the grocery store) said “hello” or “good morning” or “have a nice night”. And anytime possible, conversation was started. I don’t know if it was because I was in a hospital, but conversation included several topics I wouldn’t normal put into discussions with almost strangers. It was surprising, and hilarious, and a lot of fun.

Then there’s the food. Being so close to the water, I just can’t pass up any seafood. Shrimp and crab and oysters and fish – I can go back to Wisconsin feeling satisfied. Plus the typical Southern fried-ness (green tomatoes, okra, pickles), grits, sweet tea, pulled pork sandwiches, hush puppies… For some reason, Southern food will always feel like comfort food even though I have absolutely no nostalgic ties to it. Granted, vegetarians have no chance there. I suffered a severe lack of vegetables (that weren’t fried), but I also believe that partly has to do with just eating out in general

Last, and best of all, I got to go to the Gulf Shores. Yes, it’s November; yes, vacation season is over. But it’s still 60-some degrees in Alabama and I haven’t been to a beach in over a year. Let me tell you, this beach was beautiful – and empty. Luckily, Southerners think November is a bit chilly to go to the beach, so I had the whole thing almost to myself. The sand was clean and warm, the waves a bit chilly, but it was nice to get away from work. One thing to note, between Mobile and the Gulf Shores, there is absolutely nothing of interest.

But no matter how much I love a place, after more than a week, I’m always ready to come home.


  1. Agreed, I too had great food while I visited New Orleans. Till this day I still remember the ultra-tasty grilled vegetables and lamb ribs I had at a middle-eastern restaurant.

  2. I love Southern hospitality. It’s nice to be treated like a person when I go home instead of the harsh indifference of the Northeast.

    Gulf beaches are so nice. I’m super jealous.

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