The Weinblog goes south

If you had May 2015 in the Weinblog death pool, then … you did not win.

I did indeed head south for a couple of weeks, but not to Hell. Rather, I visited the bottom half of the United States, spending time in Nashville, Tenn. and Gulf Shores, Ala. Hell will come later.

Although, driving through the entire length of Alabama at times did feel like a punishment akin to a fiery afterlife. Sorry to all my Alabama readers (if you actually own computers), but it’s true.

It was amusing hearing people’s reactions ahead of my vacation. Upon telling them where I was going, most replied, “Nashville is a great city. You’ll love it. Never been to Alabama though.” It’s not exactly a go-to vacation spot.

Downtown Nashville

Downtown Nashville, seen from a footbridge over the Cumberland River.

But after spending approximately 10 days down there, I can tell you all one thing: you’ve never eaten as a true American unless you’ve spent time in the south. They eat barbecue with everything. And I mean everything.

For the first time, I had a pork omelette for breakfast. It tasted exactly how you imagine it would. Delicious. Ordering pork in the south is like ordering pizza in New York City. Or bagels in Long Island. Wherever you get it — it’s awesome. I also had my first Chick-Fil-A experience, and, despite the political views of its billionaire CEO, their food is heavenly.

Southern hospitality is also a real thing. Every old lady is basically your mom. And people passing by on the street actually take the time to acknowledge you as a human being. It’s a refreshing change from New York, where the normal greeting is something like: “Get the f&%$ out of my way.”

And everyone refers to each other as “y’all.” Which makes perfect sense, when you think about it. I tend to refer to groups of people as “you guys,” which is pretty stupid considering that term refers to males. Y’all, meanwhile, is androgynous. I would never give southerners the upper hand in their usage of vocabulary over their northern counterparts, but that is one thing they got right.

Nashville is clearly a blossoming city. There was development everywhere you look. It’s clean, industrialized and very modern. It’s downtown area is electric, and of course, you hear good music everywhere you go. On a New York City corner, you’re likely to be serenaded by a homeless peddler shouting unintelligibly. In Nashville, you get guitarists who sound like they should have their own recording contract.

The VIP section at Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores.

The VIP section at Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores.

And Alabama isn’t really that bad. In fact, the place I visited — Gulf Shores — is actually a destination point for people who live nearby. It’s literally as far down as you can go in the state, on a strip along the beach, with tons of restaurants and bars. It was especially hopping while I was there, as it was the weekend of the Hangout Music Festival — an annual event on the beach which hosts some of the best musicians in the world.

This year’s lineup, featuring the Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band, Beck, My Morning Jacket, and much more, was no exception. The best part was I recently purchased a high-tech Nikon camera with a 30x zoom lens, and was able to use it in the photo pit on a media pass throughout the weekend. I got a lot of great shots, which you can check out here. 

Life wasn’t too bad the past two weeks.

And now with the passage of Memorial Day, it’s the unofficial start to the summer. The three-month span where people still complain about stupid shit on social media, but only half-halfheartedly.

Cheers, y’all.

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