Tuesday 29 September 2015

Mississippi Burning

Not the movie but the place, where today temperatures pushed their way into the 30s. With humidity levels hovering around 8,000% (or so it felt).

Thankfully, large chunks of the day were spent in the air-conditioned comfort of the bus, driving from Memphis to Natchez, Mississippi,

Memphis made sure we got our last hit of soul, rock 'n roll and blues at the Rock 'N Soul Museum. .

And then it was onto America's 20th state and a sighting of the muddy Mississippi River, on its way south from Minnesota to its date with the Gulf of Mexico, some 3,766km later.

Natchez, btw, is cute as a button. It's a shame we're only here for one night.

Dinner was magical - outside on the patio of an antebellum (pre Civil War house). I've always associated these grand, sweeping residences with Gone with the Wind et al, and although they can't be separated from their dodgy past (ie being built on the back of slave labour), there's no denying how stunning the setting was.

Expect more antebellum homes tomorrow.

Monday 28 September 2015

I'm going to Graceland, Graceland in Memphis Tennessee

Six and half years ago, my beloved and I were married by an extremely proficient Elvis impersonator at Graceland in Vegas (for a story for NEXT Magazine).

Today I went to the real Graceland, about 10 minutes drive from down-town Memphis. I have much to say about it BUT am rushing to get ready for dinner and no doubt will say it in one of the five pieces I have to write from this famil.

Instead, pictures will have to do.

*Sidebar for my friends in the Southern Hemisphere: it was 30 glorious degrees in Memphis today. Just sayin'...

Later, there was a visit to Sun Studio, the birthplace of rock 'n roll.


Sunday 27 September 2015

Walking in Memphis

Travel to the US from Aotearoa and you rip open the time/space continuum - as in, add an extra day. So although the date on this post says Sunday 27 September, in Memphis it's still Saturday night (and yup, you got it - I can't figure out how to change the blog template thingy).

Anyway, another big day in the South. We left Nashville about 8.30am today for the three-and-a-bit-hour drive to Memphis (with a lunch-stop enroute where a couple of Aussies and I eschewed food in favour of an hour at Walmart across the road; it confused the Americans on our trip no-end). As sad as it is to admit it, I adore wandering Walmart's kitchen aisles and found a few things for the bach.

And then it was onto the birthplace of rock 'n roll. Our first stop was the National Civil Rights Museum which detailed a critical but troubled part of the city's history. By the time I got to the balcony at the Lorraine Motel where Dr Martin Luther King Jr was gunned down on 4 April 1968, I had a lump in my throat the size of a tennis ball.

The balcony where Dr King was shot, kept as it was on that fateful day.

Later, I hit up Beale Street where, on the recommendation of my old J School buddy Dean (who I will be staying with in LA next weekend), I ate delicious shrimp tacos and rocked it to a band who couldn't have been cooler at the Blue Note Bar & Grill.

Making friends:

And then I went next door, to the Whittier Art Gallery where I totally lost my mind and paid far too much for, admittedly, a profoundly moving black and white print from the civil rights fight of the 60s. A lovely women snuggled it into oodles of wrapping to withstand the flight home so I can't show it to you right now but promise I will do the big reveal once I get it home and have it framed.

An early night tonight because tomorrow we have to be up early for Church (my mother will be flipping out when she reads this). A gospel church, that is. And then it's Graceland, baby. Prepare for total kitsch overload.

Here's a couple more visuals from today's tour of Memphis:



Saturday 26 September 2015

Nashville, Tennessee

A free day to lose myself in Tennessee's capital. Thankfully, the down-town area is compact and eminently walkable.

There was a visit to the Johnny Cash Museum (ask me anything about the Man in Black; go on) and a wander along the revamped waterfront. I was assured no visit to Nashville is complete without a detour to the Goo Goo store for one of their delectable Goo Goo Clusters (basically like a Toffee Pop with a side of pecans and marshmallows). They are, apparently, a Nashville delicacy, being served here since 1912. I can also report they are delicious.

Hence the visit to the hotel gym for a major date with the treadmill.

Tonight, our last in this small but perfectly formed city, we pay a visit to the Grand Ole Opry.



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