Sunday, May 31, 2009

I also moonlinght as a tour guide

In case you've spent 2 days wondering - the veggies all got cooked, the food all got eaten and we still don't have an empty beer fridge, but that's a result I can learn to live with. The damn gas on the grill gave out when the chicken was just this side of being safe to eat. Luckily, there was plenty of heat left and I just closed the top and drank a beer while I waited. Then I temped them all with my meat thermometer, and then - because I'm paranoid someone will croak one day as a result of my cooking and tarnish my perfect track record of not killing people - I cut them all open with a knife. Today, we got to play tour guide to the soon-to-be Alabamians. And did I mention they're coming from California? They have so much to look forward to. The Big City up the road really has some good stuff in it, if you ignore all the bad/crazy stuff (I'm looking at YOU Mr. Mayor!). We took them to an Indian restaurant for lunch, as it's one of The Professor's most favoritest places to eat when up in The Big City and our little corner of this county is not quite ready for that much culture exposure. They've given into Mexican, and someone was brave enough this year to put in a Japanese place with "Sushi" proudly proclaimed on its sign. The Indian subcontinent may have to wait awhile longer. We took them up the city park that has the public library, museum of art, city hall and county courthouse around it. It would have been a lovely stroll - except every fountain and reflecting pool was empty and being painted. There was so much fresh paint that the scent of paint hung over the park like a cloud. Everywhere we turned (it's a small park, but still) we smelled it. And Mrs Pregnant California had her first experience of not understanding a word out of a Southerner's mouth when one lady asked her when the baby's due. I told her to mark that one off of her Southern Bingo Card and see what happens next. It didn't take long. Next up was a trip to an antebellum home right in The Big City that survived the Big War (and I hope you know which war that is). Quite a beautiful house and the grounds were lovely, even if it is in a kinda bad area of town.
Arlington Antebellum Home & Gardens
The Californians really liked the look of the huge Magnolia trees growing around the property - some were absolutely huge. I simply love Magnolia flowers, but The Professor doesn't like the vast amounts of leavings these trees drape around your property, so we won't be getting one.
Sugar Magnolia, blossoms bloomin'*
*yes, I know it's not really called a Sugar Magnolia, but that's what the song says.
Ok remember the Southern Bingo Card? After the pretty house and trees, we set out through the city to visit the most famous landmark of all, but before we got there we passed a gas station with a sign that our guests took to mean "Welcome to Alabama". And they weren't far from the truth:
Are you hungry yet?
I'm glad there wasn't any traffic behind us at that red light, because we all wanted pictures of that sign. And now it's saved for posterity and I feel I've done my good deed for humanity for the day. After that, it was on to Vulcan park, which I hadn't visited since...well, since I was very small. And I haven't been very small in a while, so it's been a while. Vulcan, God of the Forge, called us to visit his mighty throne:
Hail, Vulcan!
The best thing about going up to see Vulcan (besides the naked iron butt cheeks, I mean) is the view of the city: After that, we visited another Professor with views of the city even more impressive than Vulcan, stopped for smoothies, tooled around the part of town that they're actually going to be living in, and generally had a good time. Here's to hoping there's one less person (or two) frightened of our fair state. More pictures of the day at my Flickr Photostream:

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