It actually bore a close resemblance to an old Civil War ironclad as it coughed and sputtered toward the dock (they call it the War of Northern Aggression in these parts unless you happen to be a Damn Yankee). But no good deed goes unpunished and my affordable little seagoing diversion soon metastasized into a full-blown commercial cruise. Windjammer Barefoot Cruises made us the infamous “offer you can’t refuse” and my Bride, being of sound and thrifty Norwegian stock, just couldn’t pass on the opportunity to save nearly $800 per week on Caribbean cruising. So . . .
The weather here has been mostly hot and humid with temperature and humidity seemingly locked in some ridiculous race to exceed gauge limits. Even the local livestock takes advantage of any opportunity to cool off . . .
For about 1 week in the spring and another week in the fall these insects are in full-fledged mating mode and fill the air, flying in tandem, joined at the . . . uh . . . err . . . well, you get the picture. The female, being the larger of the two, is pretty much in control of the situation and just drags the male around for so long as he cares to “hold on.” And they don’t seem the least embarrassed about where or upon whom they consummate their relationship. All of this action is taking place right here along the Gulf coast in Summerdale, Alabama. After leaving Red Bay with a functioning refrigerator (Saints be praised!), we have been hanging out here for the past 3 weeks. One of the things I find refreshing about the deep south is they have no sense of political correctness. Take a school bus for example . . .
“ANTZ”! I remember when I saw the movie that I was actually rooting for the little guys to beat the termites. But now . . . I would be pulling for the termites to wipe ‘em out! After 3 weeks of living with black ants, red ants, carpenter ants and fire ants, I no longer find these little beasties anywhere near as adorable as they are portrayed in the movie. We find them walking our floor, crawling on our furniture, hiding in our cupboards and even sharing our bed with us. We have spent a small fortune on all manner of sprays, granules and traps to “whack ‘em” but they seem pretty determined to maintain the invasion. In desperation we hired a couple of Love Bugs to try to negotiate some kind of a truce that will get them out of our home and back to their mound but our negotiators seem more interested in each other than in resolving our problem . . .
Figuring that my traveling companion was about due for a boat ride, I treated her to a luxury tour of Mobile Bay aboard the U.S.S Fort Morgan, the pride of the Rent a Derelict Ferry fleet . . .
During hurricanes Ivan and Katrina this area suffered a lot of flooding and wind damage, which they are still in the process of rebuilding. We, personally, suffered the near total destruction of one of our favorite beachfront watering holes, The Flora-Bama, located right on the Florida-Alabama state line, hence the name. The building, no more than a collection of old wooden structures nailed together, is a hangout for touristy old farts and grungy bikers alike . . .
We are off for a month on a tall ship, the S/V Mandalay, plundering the islands of the Caribbean from Grenada to Antigua and back over the course of a month. One of the old ladies here at our RV park saw me emerge in this garb and apparently had an adverse reaction to the thought of being “pirated;” at least we think that was the reason for the ambulance showing up. You should keep your eyes to the sea for a time and be ever watchful for empty rum bottles bobbing in the foam. Any one of them might contain our next Update! Hugs ‘til next time, Barnacle C and his Wench
And if you hang out at the upstairs bar, overlooking the beach, they have 3 separate bars in the place, you can usually get a glimpse of the rowdiest of the rowdy trying to blend in with the more respectable crowd . . .
"ANTZ" September 27, 2006