Mobile by River

The city of Mobile rests on the edge of Mobile Bay, which leads into the Gulf of Mexico. Surrounding the city is a network of rivers, swamps, and bayous. It’s very wet here. You get used to it.

This week we went fishing with my dad, again. It was hot. Nothing was biting, not even crabs. That’s not true. We did catch several skates. Sorry, no picture. They are cousins to sting rays. I have a rule, never eat anything that smiles at me. We threw them back.

Mobile from the river.

Mobile from the river.

Facts About Mobile’s Waterfront

  1. Mobile has a huge port. We’ve been shipping goods in and out since the city was founded by the French in the 1700s. As seen in the photo, it’s still a busy port.
  2. Small uninhabited islands dot the bay. One is named Goat Island. How cool is that!
  3. We used to have a cruise ship. Now we have an empty cruise terminal used for parties.
  4. We also have ship builders that make massive ships and ferries. 5. Government Plaza looks more like a missing cast member from Transformers.

 

Government Plaza

Government Plaza

6. We have a beautiful park that runs next to the river, Cooper Riverside Park. It’s a nice green space. There’s a nice sign that says no fishing. Usually an old man is fishing next to it 🙂

 

7. We have a Nautical Museum in the shape of a ship!

8. We have a battleship and submarine! The USS Alabama rests in Mobile Bay.

It’s hard to see the older historical buildings from the few skyscrapers we have. At night the tops of buildings light up and are color coordinated.  Enjoy the rest of the pictures!   -CK

GulfQuest

GulfQuest

USS Alabama

USS Alabama

Cooper Riverside Park

Cooper Riverside Park

 

Shawarma in the Park

Spring Break, Day 1

It’s spring Break! I had an extra teenager at home with us today. The three of them got together and decided they wanted to cook lunch. Something out of the “fandom cookbook” they have been working on. Sounds good to me. They decided on Avenger’s Shawarma. I had no idea what it was, I’ve never had it, but I let them make it. My husband found out about it and wanted to try it to. Road trip! We packed up our chips, shawarma, and strawberry shortcake and hit the road.

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Yes, that’s Cheetos with the shawarma. I told you they were teenagers. It was a nice morning with a breeze. We ate outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather, thankful it wasn’t raining. This park is near a children’s hospital and has great landscaping and winding paths that lead to statues of children doing things that children like to do. It also has a wonderful alligator fountain.

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Isn’t he lovely? There are massive old oaks, the park is near downtown Mobile. The oaks are of course covered in Spanish Moss.  If you stand still the moss will start growing on you. This stuff covers everything.

Oh, everyone enjoyed the shawarma.

-CK

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Mobile is Weird, part 2

I’m continuing with the weirdness that is Mobile. The city has been around since 1702 (I think), it’s had plenty of time to become eccentric.

13. Azalea Trail Maids- These “maids” are high school seniors. A handful are chosen from each school. The girls act as ambassadors to the city. They can be found at most events in and around the city. They even travel out of town. My oldest thought they were princesses when she was little. Every dress is different and there is only one pink. She’s the Queen.

14.  Don’t touch the fishing pole if it’s not yours. This should go without saying, but ask permission first. If it belongs to a southerner they won’t tell you to leave it alone. That would be rude. But they will question your upbringing.

15.  Sushi is pretty bait.  Okay, I made that one up. Sushi is becoming more popular here, but most people are a bit shy of it. I have tried it and don’t care for it. I can appreciate it from a far.

16. There are 2 classic ingredients for most desserts. Pecans and coconut. Almost everything sweet has either pecans or coconut in it. Most have both. I don’t care for either. Any church luncheon or social group buffet will have an assortment of cakes, cookies, and bars all made with pecans and coconuts.

17. Don’t swim at dusk or dawn. If you venture south to the Gulf of Mexico. We have the most beautiful sugar white beaches.  The seafood is to die for. That’s just an expression. If you swim at dusk or dawn you run the risk of feeding the apex predator that swims down there. Those are the prime feeding times of the local shark population. Just for the record, just because you don’t see a fin doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

18.  Don’t wade near the reeds.  The Mobile Delta is a great place to go camping and swimming. There are plenty of spots to canoe. A word of warning, the shark is not the only apex predator we have. Alligators love to hide in the reeds and tall grass near the shore. Especially during the day.

19. Don’t feed the gators. If you get caught there is a $500 fine. YouTube is full of videos of people throwing marshmallows at the gators. It may be fun and the gators might enjoy it, but it’s illegal.

20.  Mobilians monogram everything, even underwear.  No explanation needed.

21.  If you kill it, you clean it, and eat it.  Lower Alabama is a sportsman’s paradise. We have hunting and fishing of every kind. I learned  at my daddy’s knee as a tiny girl the golden rule of fishing: you catch it you clean it. By the time I was 8 I could use his knife and gut/clean a fish. By the age of 10 I could fry it.  And yes, that includes baiting your own hook. The same goes for hunting, but I don’t hunt.

22. We drop a moon pie!  Chattanooga may be the birthplace of the legendary moon pie, but on New Year’s Eve we drop a monster sized one off the top of a hotel at midnight. How weird is that?

That’s it for this installment of how weird Mobile is. I know there’s more.

-CK

 

 

Mobile is Weird.

Cranky writer after being told to stop eating chocolate.

Cranky writer after being told to stop eating chocolate.

Yes. I know this to be true, but it tends to rest in the back of my mind. I don’t think much about it. It’s just a fact. This week I had coffee with a someone who recently moved here. Her family is military, so she has experience with living in different places. We laughed as she shared stories of how odd she’s found Mobile.

First, let me say this- every city has it’s own vibe, history, and social customs. To a newbie it can be hard to navigate. This especially true if you move across the country to a different region.

I grew up in the suburbs of Mobile, so I know it’s an odd ball city. Generally, these quirks are associated with Old Mobile. You know, the population whose people have lived here for generations. Tradition runs deep.

So here is a few quick tips if you plan to move to Mobile.

  1. Bring your rain gear. For the month of March we have had over 10 inches of rain, that’s above average. We get more precipitation than Seattle. It’s not a matter of if it will rain, but rather when will it rain. At the moment I feel like I could grow gills. We average about 65 inches of rain a year with the majority falling in Summer. You can expect a shower every day around 2pm in the summer.
  2. Bring your shorts. It’s hot. Not ” oh dear, it’s warm today, I may have to turn on the air conditioning” hot. I mean, “I broke into a sweat just walking to the mailbox, and the air conditioning hasn’t cut off all day” kind of hot. The average summer temperature is 90*F in July. That’s the average. If you’re an English major, that means there were hotter days and a few cooler days that when added together and then divided, came out to 90*.
  3. It’s a wet heat. It’s an oppressive, wet heat. The air is saturated with moisture it’s called humidity. Humidity makes your hair frizz and makes the temperature feel much hotter than it really is. I call it, weather you can wear. It really does feel like your wearing a thick, hot, and wet cloud.
  4. Yes, we really talk slow. I blame the heat. It takes too much energy to talk fast. We also move slower for the same reason.
  5. All tea is sweet. Traditionally, it’s sweet enough to pour like syrup. I call that cafeteria lady sweet. If you don’t want sweet tea, you must ask for unsweet. It will mark you as a visitor, but that’s okay no one is perfect.
  6. Do not insult the food. The South is abundant with fine cooks. They take cooking personally. Especially their biscuits and cornbread. What ever you do, do not insult the bread. Wars have been started over this faux pas.
  7. If you are invited to dinner, ask what you can bring. It is considered good manners to ask if you can bring something, a side dish or dessert are always easy. Chances are they will say no, but you should ask. If by the off chance the offer is accepted, choose wisely. This is traditionally fried catfish and macaroni and cheese country. If you make something too unusual like Barley Pilaf, your feelings might get hurt when you take it back home with you.
  8. Be careful how you dress for church. Times are changing, even her in the deep south. It’s common to see women wear capris and pants to church. Many even wear jeans. Be warned, if you wear something a bit revealing- they will talk about you. “Bless her heart. She must be new in town.” They won’t ask you to leave, that would be rude. The younger generation seems to have issue with this the most. The hemlines are rising faster than the water level of the Mobile River.
  9. Mardi Gras has strict rules. If you are lucky enough to score a ticket to a Mardi Gras ball, read it. The mystic organizations have strict rules of attire. That goes for tuxedos and dresses. Sometimes they vary by organization. Ask before you go. I promise you, they will not let you in if you are not dressed appropriately. Ticket or not.
  10. Don’t wear white to a wedding. That’s sounds pretty basic. The bride is the only one that wears white. Most weddings are easy, just wear a nice dress. Unless it is an Old Mobile family. Then it doesn’t matter if it’s at the Cathedral downtown or the beach. Ask someone in the know or take no chances and pull out your best frock with matching hat and purse.
  11. Ma’am. Ma’am and sir are a sign of respect. It is considered rude not to say it. Chances are they’ll talk about your upbringing or question where you were born.
  12. Shrimp Boil! This can be traumatic for newcomers. At most shrimp, crab, and crawfish boils the heads are still on. That’s right, not only is it peel and eat you must decapitate your own crustacean. The crabs may or may not be gutted, depends on the cook. It’s up to you, what you do with the head.

I think that’s a good start. Those are the basics. I know there’s more, but it’s getting dark outside. Another rain storm.

-CK