Home of Rhythm and Blues and The King! This is for Mark's mum.
10.09.2007 - 13.09.2007 29 °C
We arrived via the Greyhound for what was a relatively painless journey. On time, no changes, no weirdos. We checked into the motel about 2pm and checked out the local area. That took all of 10 minutes! Not much here. We chilled out with a take away ready for the sights tomorrow.
We headed into Memphis on the trolley/tram to check out what it had to offer. On first observations it seemed not much during the day. Everywhere was pretty quiet. After a quick bite to eat we headed for the mighty Beale Street, home of the Blues. It was dead! We suspected that things change when the sun goes down. As Beale Street was empty about 150 yards down the road was the Lorraine Motel. This was where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was shot in 1968. It was an eerie experience. Outside the Motel just below his room are the 2 original cars that haven't moved since his death. A permanent wreath is always hanging as an eternal mark of remembrance.
We then ended our sightseeing with a trip to the great Sun Studio. Where some say Rock 'n' Roll officially started. It was amazing place especially if you are into music. Most of the great musicians have recorded there, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, U2, Johnny Cash and BB King just to name a few. As Beale St was dead in the day we tried our luck at night. Success! Although it wasn't jumping like a Friday night, for a Tuesday it had a good atmosphere. We went in a couple of bars and had some "Big Ass Beers" and enjoyed some old fashioned rhythm and blues. Diane had to pick up the glass with two hands as it was so big. The night was topped off with a cab ride back to the 70's! The driver was a hip, right on dude called Marcus with a big afro who had a "good lick" the previous night. I think that means business was good. It felt like getting into a cab from the Shaft era. The music he played was The Dramatics very similar to Isaac Hayes, soul and funk.
Well you can't go to Memphis without doing one thing, Graceland. Home of Mr. Hip swiveller Elvis Presley. We arrived at 11am and the tour lasted until 3pm. It included a tour of Graceland and grounds, car collection, private jets, costumes and other interesting memorabilia. A fascinating insight into what some may say is the greatest entertainer of all time! Especially my mum!:-) The free bus provided by Sun Studio's was really handy. We had no idea how far Graceland was from central Memphis. It can be really hard in some cities to get around without a car. The woman in the visitors centre looked at us as if we had two heads when we asked about getting around with public transport.
As Graceland was expensive, but worth it, we have now resorted to dried pasta pots and noodles. Not too disimilar to the classic Pot Noodle! Think about us over that mouth watering Sunday roast! Next stop New Orleans via the Amtrak train. See you there.