Sunday, January 6, 2008

Moving and shaking in Mobile

Welcome to the original home of Mardi Gras. Mobile, Alabama is where it all started. People describe the Mobile Mardi Gras as a family version of New Orleans. I'd say they have it just about right. I haven't been to Mardi Gras in NOLA, but I think I get the basic premise. Mobile is all the parades, the beads, the drinking, and the fun, with none of the gratuitous nudity and debauchery.

We (us GMAC Bowl officials) were reserved a balcony over the GMAC Bowl Parade on this second night of the three week Mardi Gras celebration. Turned out the balcony was four stories up, and we had more fun (despite the open bar) on the street level. I had a teddy bear and a moon pie (Mobile tradition to throw moon pies at the parades) snatched out of my hand, but I came up with several beads strands and some little novelty footballs. Highlight of the parade was the high school band drumlines. Pretty impressive.

The officials welcomed us in to their daily activities, which was nice. It gave our trip a little structure and a little more social networking. We had dinner at Felix's Seafood (we were told they had the best seafood in the country). I thought the food was average at best. The filet was fatty, and the crab meat on it was not tasty and was full of shell pieces. But the experience was nice.

Spot of Tea is our favorite restaurant. We have had lunch there twice now, and plan on returning tomorrow for a final Spot of Tea experience before we reluctantly depart from Mobile.

The hotel we are currently residing in is the Malaga Inn. On the outside, it looks rustic at best. However, its historic qualities make it an endearing place of residence. The central outdoor courtyard is cozy, with a fountain proclaiming itself the centerpiece of a well designed landscaping job. The rooms are a bit old, but in a nice way. The hotel was originally two townhouses built by brothers "during the war when the south was doing well" according to the pamphlet.

Bowl gifts were decent this time. I got a nice carry-on sized Nike duffel bag, and a souvenir football that will soon be autographed by all the officials. Andrew and I will have to fight over the watch and the noise-reducing headphones.

The Redskins, in what I considered an attempt to redeem the sport of football, laid an egg against the Seahawks. I was depressed after my Hokies blew an opportunity to prove their worth, and thought maybe the Redskins could salvage some of my faith in the sport. But, once again, it wasn't meant to be. I wish I could have grown up in an area where my team has been and always will be good. At least with the Redskins I wasn't expecting the Super Bowl.

The GMAC Bowl is tomorrow, then I head home early the following morning (the 7th) for the first time since late December. The New Years Resolutions begin promptly upon my return.

First order of business is to reintegrate myself in to a satisfactory social life. Gym time and a healthy diet are also on the to do list.

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