Memphis – June 22, 2010

A short missive before Graceland.

I strongly suspect the next four days will be a study in hotels.  I am at the Westin just of Beale Street.  Could not be more different from Union Station in Nashville, which was a converted train station and pretty funky.   This is a very clean, very normal hotel, chilled to sub zero temperatures to combat the raging inferno that is the outdoors.

Next stop is Oklahoma City and the anticipated accommodations are a Motel 6.

Memphis is a very pretty town high atop the Mississippi River.

There is some really nostalgic charm to it (lovely old trolleys creak about the streets, universally empty it would seem), but a sense that the city’s time has come and gone.  Half of the storefronts seem abandoned but what was obviously the old warehouse district has been converted into condo warehouses that look pretty funky (asking price for a 1 bedroom appears to be less that $200K).

My hotel is just off of Beale Street which is the famous blues row.  It is really tiny – only about a block and a half long but it is packed with clubs, all with doors flung open, all with music blaring.  I heard an ancient old black guy doing a quite excellent rendition of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette”, Blues, style.

Beale by day, Beale by night.

Of course, there are the requisite neon signs

Do you suppose this is referring to the size of the beer, or is it some kind of prize for gluteal breadth?

I did manage to swing by the Peabody Hotel, which is famous for the ducks that swim around the lobby fountain.  Every day they are taking in a procession from their suite on the roof down the elevators where they waddle into the fountain (which is remarkably small)

I didn’t see the ducks as they had gone to bed for the evening, but I did eat a white chocolate model in effigy.

This for Brian:  My hotel is across the street from another enormous stadium.  This one is used by the Memphis Grizzlies who are, I discovered after a bit of research, a basketball team.

Off to Graceland then an 8 hour journey to Oklahoma City.  Then Santa Fe, The Grand Canyon, and home.

Elvis, here I come!

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