Friday, October 16, 2009

Initial Montgomery Impressions

So I've been in Montgomery for 5 days now. It's surprisingly normal. With few exceptions, there are all the same stores here that there are in any other city. There's even a gourmet supermarket called The Fresh Market. It's a pretty good substitute for Di Bruno Brothers, so I can officially live Montgomery, AL.

Despite housing the State Capitol and a slew of government buildings, the downtown area is always desolate. Even at rush hour there is no traffic or pedestrians. I'm planning on biking there because it is always so wide open. The rest of the city is suburban -- single family homes with lawns. Having a car is a must -- there are no sidewalks. One final note about the city: there are shopping centers all over the place -- it seems like way more than a city of 200,000 can support. There are 3 Wal-Marts within the city limits, all within 5 miles of each other. That feels like a lot.

During lunch on Wednesday I walked over to the First White House of the Confederacy. For some reason I found it incredibly creepy that self-guided tour always referred to Jefferson Davis as President Jefferson Davis. Besides learning that Davis was the greatest American ever, the tour also taught me that General Lee didn't know his ass from his elbow when it came to warfare, and Davis had to tell him everything to do (so does that mean Davis is to blame for the military failure of the South?).

I was able to find an apartment quickly. I'll post more on it later, but it's two bedrooms, probably 900 sq ft, has a deck, yard, hardwood floors, and is across the street from a strip of (non-chain) restaurants (I've eaten at two and they're good). The real estate broker wanted $700 a month; I'm a bit nervous that I was able to get him down to $650 with little effort. I feel like there must be something wrong with the apartment. The only problem I foresee is that the kitchen does not have a garbage disposal. I'm tempted to spend my own money to have one installed. The apartment also has hookups for a washer and dryer. After seeing the costs of the cheapest units at Home Depot, I think I'm just going to use the laundromat down the street. When I factor in energy costs, it's going to take years for these units to pay for themselves.

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