A few days in Hattiesburg
We were hoping to continue down south to Picayune (pick-uh-yoon) after one night at Shivan and Mat’s house, but upon awakening in Hattiesburg, we saw that it was still raining and quite cold. Shivan and Mat told us we could stay as long as we needed to, so we decided to stay another night. It did not help our motivation when it was cold and rainy the following morning, and we ended up staying yet another day.
Both days in Hattiesburg were laid back and relaxing. The first day, Phil wanted to find a buckle so he could rig one of his front panniers into a shoulder bag by clipping on a longer strap to the existing buckles, so we biked to Walmart in search of something that would do the trick. He didn’t find anything. Then we went to a restaurant, 206 Front, for Sunday brunch. We spent the remainder of the day lounging at T-Bone’s Cafe, where we hung out the previous night, reading and taking advantage of the free wifi. When we returned to the house, Shivan made delicious sandwiches from cauliflower, cheese, bacon and seasonings, and we drank vodka. When the vodka was gone, we broke out the wine we had bought from the vineyard in Anniston, Alabama.
Shivan and Mat have quite a few pets: three dogs and at least three cats, including a tiny kitten. The small dog, Brindle, is an attention whore and insists on being picked up or in someone’s lap at all times. I allowed him to sit on my lap while I played piano, relearning some songs I used to know well, and learning (or trying to stumble through) a few new songs. Mat also has a baritone horn, which he let me play as well. I miss having instruments lying around and being able to play whenever the urge strikes. I spent a good part of our second day in Hattiesburg just playing music, while Phil was walking around the town and visiting the library.
In the afternoon, I walked with Shivan and Mat to their friend Jeannie’s house, where Jeannie had a room full of Mary Kay products she was selling. I’m not a huge fan of overly scented products, and I don’t wear make-up, but I have noticed that my skin has been extremely dry, probably from daily sun and wind exposure, and I had mentioned that I needed some kind of moisturizer. I did not end up purchasing anything from her, but did eventually go with a foot lotion from Shivan the next morning. I will test it out and see if that helps my dry legs.
From Jeannie’s house, we walked to a natural food store that Mat and Shivan frequent called New Yokel, where we ate salads. On the way back to the house, I stopped at a local bakery and purchased a few sweets to share with everyone.
While we still weren’t sure if we’d be able to get in touch with Mat, one of the other couchsurfers we had contacted got back to me. I told him we had found a place to stay after all but suggested we meet up anyway for a drink. There was a trivia night in a pub near the Southern Miss campus, but it was cold and miserable outside and a bit too far. James suggested we go to a closer bar to watch the Saints game. Phil opted to stay in, so James biked over to the house to pick me up. We rode to the Keg and Barrel, a bar with the largest selection of beers on tap and in bottle in all of southern Mississippi. James is originally from Brazil and has been in Hattiesburg for two years. He told me of how he made an enormous flag to support the school’s football team, and the school liked it so much that they opened a fund for him to travel to all of the away games with the flag. He pretty much gets paid to be a fan! Football is clearly very important down here.