Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Columbus & Alabama

18th December 2012

Columbus, Georgia is located in the 'Heartland' area of Georgia and on the border of Alabama. It is a 2 hour drive from Atlanta (2.5 hours from Decatur).

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On the way down, we stopped at Waffle House. Waffle House is a restaurant chain located predominately in the southern part of the US (and is headquartered in Georgia along with everything else). It sells, you guessed it, waffles but burgers and basically everything. There are so many in the south and next to the interstate; it is actually quite ridiculous. In fact, there were more Waffle Houses than McDonalds. During my entire stay, I visited Waffle House 3 times and on all three occasions the wait staff were incredibly rude. I would have much rather visisted IHOP for infinitely better customer service.

When I received our coffee, the woman held both coffees in one hand and subsequently spilt one all over the table. I worked in hospitality for 6 years and I believe I am quite understanding. But this woman didn't even apologise and when she came to 'wipe' the mess up, she used a serviette that became saturated with coffee instantly and then left, leaving behind 99% of the mess still on the table.

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Granted that it was a weekday, Columbus was a ghost town. The Chattahoochee River was really pretty and the current was a lot stronger than I imagined it to be. But it was another sunny and warm day. I didn't find it too odd, but Sunbear (who is from the Netherlands) found it absolutely amazing that it was still so warm and sunny despite approach winter. Even now, I do 'whine' about the 14 degree weather in Sydney and how cold it is. Ah relativity. On a related side note, I never realised that the seasons didn't start on the same day as in the southern hemisphere. Here, the seasons start at the first day of the corresponding month. However, in the northern hemisphere it starts on the 21st/22nd of the month,  linked to the solstice. Can't find the reasoning online, though it appears just to have been formed from convention. Although there are "reasons", yet they don't carry much weight considering they are all random American commentators who believe that they are at the centre of the universe and their way is the right way (disregarding the fact that the entire northern hemisphere follows the same convention). It reminds me of the issue with applicator tampons, though I will leave that for another post.

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We walked the bridge across the river into Alabama and visited Piggly Wiggly supermarket, a supermarket chain with the best name ever. It reminded me more of IGA (independent grocers) than the two major supermarkets in Australia. Every cashier had a name badge with a little sticker relating to something that was personal. The woman who served us was Violet and her little sticker said, "ask me about my grandchildren" whereas the gentleman behind her had, "ask me about my books". Of course, her accent was absolutely amazing.

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I love homebrand Coke names.

When we had visited the Information Centre, a driving tour was recommended and so off we went. Though it wasn't great. The first few houses, I thought, "wow they are so pretty". But after while it became a little dull; seen one pretty house, seen them all. The only thing i can really say is that they seemed so American, well, at least what I recognise from TV and movies.

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We decided to drive over to Alabama and just wonder around without much of a plan. This was my last proper road trip with Sunbear and I was very much indifferent to where we went. We passed through many small towns.

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Because one church just isn't enough. I used to laugh at the fact that there were so many churches in the US/ the south until I went over to Europe.

In country songs, singers are always singing about red pick up trucks, and honestly, I couldn't believe that they were everywhere. We passed by many interesting homes as well. The one that comes to mind is the home we stumbled upon when we went down a no through road. As the car rolled past, all 6 guard dogs stared at the car and watched us from the front lawn. In the middle of the lawn, there was a yellow school bus with green plants growing inside. Hmm. Interesting.

We quickly visited Opelika in Alabama which was just another small town before driving aimlessly again. Sunbear found this road and it was an area with red clay.

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We got out of the car and wandered on to the land, trespassing although there weren't any signs of civilisation there. Except for one lone hut in the middle of the deserted area. Originally we joked that there was a serial killer living there with his victims, but more logically, it was probably a hunter's cabin. There were quite a few rifle shells on the ground which I did take photos of.

Grr. I lost nearly half of my photos from that day because my photos didn't transfer properly from my camera to my laptop and I didn't realise until 3 weeks later and by that stage it was beyond recovery since I had already stored new photos onto the SD card. And it still frustrates me to this day since it was an amazing day and there were so many photos and videos that I would have liked. Oh well.

After exploring someone else's land we eventually found our way back from the state highways and onto the interstate and headed towards Auburn. We had dinner at a wings place and it was absolutely amazing. We shared a burger and hot wings and the whole experience was just lovely, especially the waiter who was super lovely and I gave a decent tip. The sunset was pretty, which I don't have photos of anymore. Grr.


My Overall Thoughts
I didn't expect Columbus, GA to be spectacular. It was just another city in Georgia, and by this stage, I had already gained a general feel for the towns/ cities in Georgia. So it was what I expected. Driving through Alabama was exciting since I had always wanted to visit Alabama, not necessarily the major cities though. I had previously looked at Birmingham and Montgomery, but neither really seemed to be very interesting, just another city. But I can't really explain why Alabama intrigued me. I still remember when I told someone from my hometown that I was so excited to go to Alabama, and they responded with, "why? There is nothing there. Just rednecks". I don't know, but I think Alabama has beauty to it, that I can't quite describe.

Would I re-visit?
Columbus, no. But I would love to explore more of Alabama and other small towns. Although I have a feeling that they might be quite similar to the towns that we did visit that day.

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