That’s right, folks.  Y’all heard of the French Riviera (that one there’s for Frenches), but this right here in our backyard is the best ole beaches y’ever will find.  And that, frankly, is fairly true.  Rob and I have made our way to Gulf Shores, Alabama: the sand is pure white, the weather is in the 80s, and the fresh seafood tastes divine.

It was a three day recharge by the beach and we were both happy to have it.  Not a lot happened, just some good walks on the beach, soaking in the weather, a brief detour to Pensacola, Florida; but I think this scene was the most notable and certainly, one of the most enjoyable so far.

One night, Rob and I went to the pier, which, as it happens, is also part of a state park.  I do love that America makes everything  worthy of its being so a park and protects it.  The night air was spectacular, with a nice breeze coming off the gulf (Gulf of Mexico to orient you), and many of the locals spend the evening fishing here.  It’s a great place to people watch.  And to instill a fear of the Gulf in you for all of your days on Earth.

Rob set up his camera at the end of the dock, next to a nice man with his young boy and their Mexican friend, all of whom had come here on a fishing trip from Arkansas.

The boy was on fire!  He was catching fish every time he cast his reel.  “Is it a keeper, Papa?”  he ask in a ridiculously adorable voice.  Most of his fish were.  Some, his father let him keep regardless, because by now the boy noticed our interest in him and wanted to show off.  I wanted to take him home.  I realized it was both impractical and illegal.

Finally, his father got a bite.  “Oh, it’s a double,”  his father exclaimed as he struggled to bring his catch from the water.  It wasn’t a double.  It was a monster!  There was this fish; normal looking catch, but attached to this normal fish was this long sea-creature snake eel horror thing that even the man had never encountered before.  Both fish and monster remained alive.

We all stood around, offering suggestions as to what it could be as the man, bravely in my opinion, tried to cut off the head of the monster with his pocket knife. “Aguilla,” the Mexican kept repeating over and over again, until the man finally wrestled his catch free, and kicked the monster back into the deep water once again.  If the Mexican was right, it was an eel.  To me, it will always be a monster.

And just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…another catch and commotion on the other side of the dock.  We all ran together to take a look.  Someone had caught an octopus.  Ever seen an octopus outside of the water?  It ain’t pretty.  The awkward tentacles flailing, the over-sized head flopping to and fro.  I am getting shivers just thinking of it now.

This, too, shall pass.  Off the hook and back into the Gulf for this at least identifiable monster.  Another tourist couple, clearly from the North, said to me and Rob, “there are some terrifying things down there.”

“Yes,” I responded as Rob and I turned to go, “we’re headed straight for the desert.”