Ahh, what else are Sunday night’s, still nursing a horrific hangover, for? – daing ma blog catch up obviously. Now, I had a brief couple of days in Birmingham, Alabama, staying at a slightly dodgy motel on the outskirts of town that attracted all manor of lodgers.
A boy drove up in a swanky red car. However, later on when he went back out to the car from the motel, he had to put a long piece of metal down the side of the passengers window to shuggle the lock. Quite strange I thought, unless of course he had locked his keys in there. Nop, the alarm went off, he had the hood up and after a couple of minutes the alarm went off. Stolen car I think, but do not mind as long as he is not into ransacking rooms as well. I’m in 116 and 4 doors down is 110, the occupant of which had quite a glam wifey in it with her golden hair and long fingernails. She was always dressed up like she was heading for a night out, but on a Tuesday and Wednesday? Anyway, she never used to surface till in the afternoon and a fair number of people drove up, knocked and come and go-ed if you catch my drift. She maybe played rugby.
The gaff was okay for the price. A microwave and fridge in there, so two for one deal in the shop for special K and a whole lot of fruit gave me a base for the mornings and a late night snack other than a Wendy’s. I had originally chosen a Burt Reynolds film I remembered from 78’ called Hooper, where he was a stuntman, for my film choice. However, this was changed to the above for reasons I will go into later. I could of had a number of choices to be honest, like Forrest Gump, who stayed in Alabama. Talladega Nights as the race speedway was just down the road. Both My Cousin Vinny and Big Fish were filmed and set in this area as well as Capote, who was born here.
I have my maps and do a bit of two day planning, to include a laundry run and a local ball game. Some of the attractions I want to see like the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and Alabama Theatre are closed, which is disappointing. I use my time well and go for a proper trek round the city, considering I had not been burnt for a couple of days. There is the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail that winds throughout the downtown area where I am close to. It marks out all the significant locations along civil rights march routes and is a sort of, discover yourself type sketch, even if it’s well signposted.
What struck me on my 2 hours walk, jeez, was the amount of barbers and food store’s this city has, especially around the poorer areas. I start of at the impressive Kelly Ingram Park, right across from the Civil Rights institute itself. While I did read up on it, I did not go in. It tells a story of black and white life in Birmingham from the late 1800’s to current day. How different life was like depending on your skin colour and I probably would of made me mad as there still is a lot of African American poverty that I have seen. It has a Powerful Movement Gallery, which visualizes the violence in 1955-63. As I stopped to take a drink, there are about 3 bus loads of 11-14 yo’s on a school outing to the park and probably the institute and while they are noisy, I could not help thinking how inclusive the schools are. Everyone mixing and multiple races, there did not seem to be groups or cliques and it’s no doubt what got me thinking and eventually posting later about the UK, having a negative racist undertone in our society, which may get worse after brexit.
Anyway, enough of that, there’s tons to do in this town and I wish I had more time here. There’s an American sports hall of fame, a colonial-style village, vintage motorsports museum, botanical gardens, museum of art, science centre (for the kids), zoo, Mercedez Benz visitor centre, railroad museum and a racecourse (dogs), a good few of which were out of town and its in these situations I wish I knew how to drive!! I could of borrowed that chaps red car.
For now, I’ve done the trail, had a wander round a Bryden’s style clothes market that had some glitzy and whacky clothes. I settled for a plain white t-shirt for the very hot days and I changed into it there and then. There was some decent Polo shoes on the go for much cheapness, like $60, with a buy one, get one free sign. I pass by the stars (Walk of fame) outside the Alabama theatre and with the exception of Truman Capote, I never knew anyone. That was until I got home and looked up the amusingly named Fannie Flagg’s. She’s the wifey that wrote the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Everyday is a school day neebs.
I headed downtown to get some scran and possibly some nice cold beer. The usual bus price is $1.25 regardless of distance, but they also have this shuttle that links uptown with downtown and costs only 25 cents, which is ace, cos it is a helluva distance to walk. Boy on the bus is quite chatty and tells me about a good irish bar. I get into the place and they sell Tennent’s baby and have a white pudding dish on the menu, I am in heaven.
I got back home at a decent time and no troubles walking around the area. Hump day on Thursday, walking some 2km to get to a laundromat I had found online that not only has a barbers across the road, there is a doozy bbq joint I can have some good clean battered and fried jumbo shrimp on a roll with salad and slaw. You heard me right, the middle parting and the curtains have gone people. Too hard to manage in the heat and its only gonna get hotter. I did try to get into the domino game on the go in the barbers, but they were not for having me. I get back to the gaff and have a wee snooze, cos I’m off to the game tonight.
I’m off to see the Birmingham Barons, who play at Regions Field, right over the back from where I’m staying. They’re a minor league baseball team based, who, as it turns out are linked to the Chicago White Sox, who I seen just a couple of weeks ago. How spooky is that by the way. $10 to get in, cheap as chips baby. It’s the 4th of 5 games against Pensacola and they’d won the first 3 scoring 30 runs so I’m expecting a show. The standard is okay and for the size of the stadium, the crowd is not the greatest, but it’s entertaining. I stayed for 7 innings as I have a long train ride tomoz and I had my fill. Guess what? The jinx strikes again – they lost 2-6. Mind you, they lost the next night as well when I was not there.