Greetings from Birmingham, AL! Or more specifically, Birmingham and Hoover, AL!
We had a crazy long night at work last night, which made getting up early to get to the airport rather torturous, but the payoff was worth it – Birmingham is amazing! Honestly, I love it so far – the people have been incredibly nice, the streets are clean and feel safe, it’s fairly quiet, and there’s a lot of good food round these parts. What’s not to love? Oh yeah, the work part of the trip. 😉
The work part doesn’t start until tomorrow, though, so I had about 8 hours to enjoy the city on my own today.
I started off by exploring the Civil Rights Heritage Trail, and I’m happy to say I learned a lot. I’m woefully (embarrassingly) uninformed about much of the civil rights movement in the 60s, but I’m working on learning more. (Yes, I know, white privilege. Also, northerner privilege, I guess.) Until today, I’ve never had much of a reason to be ashamed of being white… but the statues I saw and the things I read today made me feel embarrassed and angry for how white people have acted in the past (and how some, unfortunately, still act today). It was an eye-opener, and I’m glad I started off the trip with walking the trail, reading the informational signs, and taking in the statues. It was necessary, and time well-spent.
[Lots of pictures today. Bear with me! 🙂 ]
Before I got to the Civil Rights Heritage Trail, though, I stopped for a late brunch (or I guess it’s just “lunch” at a certain point) at a place called Hattie B’s for some hot chicken and waffles.
My server was pretty funny, and she totally called me on falling in love with the city before I even got to see any of it – she knew what was up. Along with my hot chicken and waffles, I got a side of mac & cheese and their famous banana pudding. I made it through maybe a third of the entire meal before I had to call it quits. Thank goodness there’s a full-sized fridge in my suite! 🙂
My next stop was kind of a “for funsies” stop:
Yes, I totally nerded out and sought out the local Red Cross. I creeped around all their stuff and took a zillion pictures of their signs and vehicles and whatnot, like a total geek, and secretly hoped that someone would find me casing the joint and ask me if I wanted to come inside or go on a DAT call with them (I did hear a whole bunch of fire sirens 30-60 minutes before I got there, which would have been decent timing!)… but alas, no one saw me. The place seemed rather deserted, actually, which is strange since I’ve showed up at our Pgh chapter at all hours of the day and night and I almost always run into someone. Anyway… I was a little disappointed my key fob didn’t work to get me into the building, but I suppose that was to be expected. I still had fun scoping out their gear anyway. 🙂
I did a lot more walking and made my way to the new Pititz Food Hall (just to look around), then walked around the midtown area some more.
Eventually I got a little thirsty, so I sought out Avondale Brewing, a local brewery that has a “Sour Room” for their more tart beers. Unfortunately, they were out of their true sour beer option, but I ended up getting a near-sour beer anyway. It was nice to sit down for a few after all that walking, and it gave me a chance to catch up on some volunteer stuff (that I swore I was taking the next few days off of due to travel, but I just can’t stay away).
As I sat there sipping my beer, I noticed it was starting to get dark – time just kind of slipped away from me this entire weekend, but especially today. I had one last stop in Birmingham before I had to head to Hoover, so I
drove around and got lost made my way to Vulcan Park.
It was a nice place to get a view of downtown Birmingham.
Finally, once it was fully dark, I made my way to Hoover – that’s where my hotel is and where the customer I’m visiting is located.
I wasn’t really super-hungry for dinner, but that’s not how I roll on a hefty per-diem business trip… so I stopped at Jim ‘N Nick’s for some BBQ. Most of that food came home to the suite with me, but there were two things to note about dinner: 1) I tried a Sazerac, and it turns out there is such a thing as something I hate so much I won’t drink it. OMG. It was awful. ::shudders:: Two sips and I was done. The server never even asked why I’d barely touched it, which was fairly indicative of the service there… but at least the food was good. Speaking of the food, 2) white BBQ sauce is crack on a biscuit, y’all. I’ve never had white BBQ sauce before, and I can’t understand why the south is keeping this secret from the rest of the world. It’s friggin’ amazing! I’m gonna need to figure out how to make that when I get home, because seriously, CRACK. On a BISCUIT.
Around 10, I finally checked into my hotel. I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow (and yes, I’m presenting), but I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open at this point.
Hope everyone had as nice a Sunday as I did! 🙂