Sunday, November 4, 2012

West Nile: This is Apparently Where You Get It

Phyllis and I wanted to chill out after our last day working, decompressing a bit before she had to catch her flight home.  I had poked around the internet, and since we had such a nice time touring the Huntsville Botanical Garden, I hoped to find something similar in Jackson.

This was more difficult, but I ended up finding a little garden, the former grounds of a 19th-century mansion.
We told our university clients that we would be garden-visiting, and they were all, "Don't.  You'll get the West Nile.  It's here now.  Did you know that a baby died from it?"

Me saying, "Oh yes, we've had West Nile in Pennsylvania for aaaaaages.  I'm not worried, I don't know anyone who has had it," had absolutely no effect on them.  We would willfully go, get West Nile, and then die just like that baby.

The garden was little and pretty, but jam-packed full of standing water and mosquitoes.  I thought Mississippians knew about mosquitoes... so why all the standing water?  Shouldn't they know better?

Those mosquitoes were everywhere, and I got a zillion bites.  Even still I wasn't too concerned about getting West Nile.  Liang and Dara came to Philly the day I arrived back, for our Regularly Scheduled Roomie Weekend (of Eating).  And I kept telling them that I had West Nile, that I could feel it, but that it got better.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Back to Jackson

So, I was back again to Jackson, Mississippi, at the end of the summer.  Downtown Jackson, with wonderful fifties shopfronts, is still generally a crumbling mess and (from what the locals said) not overly safe.

The hotel was fabulous and beautiful, but observe the downtown outside of my hotel window.  All of those shops are closed, and the second building from the left, the entire roof has collapsed.
My assistant Phyllis from the Huntsville, Alabama, trip was able to come with me to Jackson as well, which was fantastic.  Not only calm and level-headed, she was also ready to do some Mississippi food-exploring!

First stop: the Mayflower Cafe.  Used as a location for some scene in "The Help" but also Jackson's longest running diner.  We got huge plates full of red snapper, recommended as the best local speciality by the waitress, which was fab.  Brockway folks - it reminded me so much of JJs, back in the day when everyone in town would go for the Friday fish specials.
Beat down after the first day, we ended up having dinner in the hotel restaurant with one of my coworkers who was in town.  (We actually shouldn't have been there at the same time, but our client's mistake resulted in our schedules improperly overlapping.)

Final dinner out: Phyllis and I drove out of the downtown to the busier (and less crumbly) northeast section of Jackson, to a new joint called Julip.  You guys: if you're ever in Jackson, get yourself to Julip.

Phyllis' choice: fried chicken on waffles.
Shrimp and Grits.  No kidding, this may have been the best thing I've ever eaten.