It’s a different world down there. It’s almost incomprehensible that Alabama is part of the same country that brought us Hugh Hefner, Kim Kardashian and Sex and the City. One town we drove through was named Opelika Alabama – which according to our friends meant big swamp. There are American flags adorning every house and rocking chairs on every porch. Everyone has a gun and a bible. And, everyone talks with a deeeeep sloooow southeerrrn draaaawl. I love it!
Southerners seem genuinely happy to meet you, and excited by the fact that you’re a foreigner. Although many people looked at us like we were crazy to be visiting Enterprise Alabama. Which is not the most glamorous area in Alabama, I can tell you that! But, that is where I spent the ages of 6 through to 8 because my dad being in the British army was stationed there for two years. Joy!
Catfish, fried chicken, iced tea and grits. These things were on every menu I looked at. I for one could not imagine having deep fried cat fish for breakfast (or at any time of day to be honest) but the lady sitting at the table across from me ordered the all you can eat catfish special. Yum.
We found ourselves once again in the Bible Belt. There’s at least one church on every street, and signs for church’s on every other street. You’d be hard pressed to find an area that is not screaming at you to attend the Sunday service at the house of god. The first and only radio station we were able to tune into in out hire car promptly condemned us as sinners, which is always a great way to start any holiday.
Every childhood friend of ours are now members of the church and spend their free time there working in youth programs, child care etc. For people like us who never attend church it’s easy to feel morally inferior. They spend their weekends helping their community, where as I spend my sundays sleeping off saturday night. There was more then one awkward moment where some would would say to us “Yes I loved backpacking through Europe! Isn’t it great? Just your backpack and your Bible!” Patriotism and Christianity. Those are two defining features of Alabama.