From Meridian, Mississippi, we trekked on over to Birmingham, Alabama, to stay with Oli's co-worker/close friend Jim, his wife Laurie, and their adorable kids. The minute we walked in, we were handed beers, and this was at 2pm. We had a feeling that this was going to be a rowdy afternoon. We headed downtown to the taquiria (I know, who knew they ate Mexican food in Alabama?! and it was GOOD!) and grabbed some tacos and margaritas. The plan was to eat and then check out the Civil Rights Museum, while Jim stayed downtown to watch the local bike races which his friends were competing in.
A few tequila shots and margaritas later, as we were chatting with Jim, a man walked by and Jim gave him a big high five and a "great to see you buddy!!" We soon found out that this man was Floyd Landis, the Tour de France winner and consequent loser two years ago. We didn't really have a clue, but apparently this man was accused of doping, and had his title revoked, however he was still greatly loved and admired by much of the biking community who did not agree with the scandal's outcome. Regardless, the people we were with got very excited that Landis was in town, apparently he was there to do some announcing for the races. We continued to hang out at the taquiria, and decided we were not in the right mindset at this point to give our full attention to the Civil Rights Museum, and would do it Sunday instead. We grabbed some dinner, yes, still at the taquiria, while Jim and Landis proposed we head on out to the local bars for a fun night. We headed out, where Jen and Landis proceeded to become best friends of the night, at one point, she convinced the local band to let him up on stage to sing "Sweet Home Alabama". Quite the sight!! The night was lots of fun, and at last call we headed back to the house.
The following day we woke up later than we had in months! It was after 1pm, and we grubbed on a nice Southern breakfast, complete with grits! It was delicious, though tough to get back in the groove after such a wild night. After lunch, we headed out to the Civil Rights museum, which was beautifully done and incredibly eye-opening, especially for Oli ,who was not well versed in US Civil Rights history. After the museum, we headed back to the house, hung out for a bit, then went out and grabbed a few racks of ribs for dinner. On the way to pick up the food, we went for a small hike up into the hills in order to see an amazing view of Birmingham. It was a short hike, and went we arrived at the top, we were at this tiny vista from which we could see everything. It was gorgeous. And as we arrived at this vista, we heard music in the background. As we approached, we found two guys sitting on a rock, playing their guitars and singing. It was great for the ambiance, but the guys were a little shady. One had crazed eyes, and looked as though he may have had some issues, and the other was creepily normal. The crazed one kept going on about how he was discharged from the hospital that day and how he was better than ever. Creepy, and definitely not a situation you would want to run into all alone. After a few minutes of the view and awkward conversation, we climbed back down in the dark, as rain began to fall through the trees.
We spent another night in Birmingham, eating ribs and watching Son of Rambow. In the morning, we had an early start for Atlanta!